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When faced with a breakup, our emotions go wild. So wild that they often undermine our logical thinking and cloud our best judgment. And as a result, we come to many irrational conclusions. One may also call them misconceptions.
For example, we grow convinced that our breakup recovery should be quick and linear. Or we conclude that the whole thing is our exes fault. And then we imagine how they’re sipping on margaritas right now while we’re rotting in the psychological sewage of our own making.
By now, you’re probably wondering how to combat these logical blunders and start seeing our breakup as it is. Honestly, there are a dozen ways to fight them, but I find cultivating awareness the most effective one.
Once you recognize your misconceptions, you’ll have an easier time dismissing and therefore dodging unnecessary suffering. So, let’s get to know the most common misconceptions people tend to adopt after their breakup.
1. BREAKUP RECOVERY IS LINEAR
Most people believe we process grief in stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Likewise, they believe we go through these stages in a straight line – one after another.
As it turns out, this theory couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your grief stages are more like phases. Typically, you will cycle back-and-forth through them several times until you finally reach acceptance.
For example, you don’t go from the anger to the bargaining “stage” and never revert to any previous ones. In reality, you shift between them for a certain amount of time before you would fully settle into one.
In other words, throughout your days, weeks, and months of breakup recovery, you’ll feel a wide range of emotions, all at varying intensities. Here’s a visual illustration of what I mean:
So how does this theory translate to real life? Here’s an example:
One week, you might be dating and having a blast. But then the next, you could start to miss your ex so much that all you want to do is lock yourself in a room and gobble ice cream in your underwear. And to make things worse, these shifts in-between emotions/grief phases can happen every few hours.
Bottom line, don’t take your emotional fluctuations so seriously. It’s all part of the healing process.
2. I’m the only one suffering
I know you think that you’re the only one suffering after your breakup- especially if you’ve been dumped – but you’re not. It’s a delusion you formed on the backbone of sorrow.
Your ex-partner is suffering too. Just like you, they’re pondering and reflecting on their lost relationship – even grieving. Maybe they’re hurting even more than you. And yes, all of this is possible, even when you’re the dumpee.
So think about that when while you’re denouncing your ex as a bitch or an asshole. And if you’re feeling really metal, think of all the other people that have it way worse than you.
Imagine how the people who got betrayed and heartbroken by their spouse feel. Or the ones who lost their home and children to divorce. Or even those who never tasted love in the first place, despite having more than 60 years behind them.
Compared to those people, your suffering is far from extraordinary or even remotely unique. And that’s great! Why? Because now you know that you’re never really suffering alone.
3. PLAYING THE VICTIM WILL speed up my breakup recovery
Playing the victim is not an alien reaction to heartbreak – many people commit to it and start thinking, “I don’t deserve this hurt!” or “I deserve to be happy!” or “Life’s not fair – it shouldn’t be this way! I shouldn’t feel like this!”
When you begin to see yourself in this way, you give up the power to take any responsibility. Thus, you lose your ability to control your behaviors and reactions.
But why do people fall prey to this psychologically destructive attitude? Well, because it feels good.
I’m not gonna lie; blaming someone else for your fuckups is always awfully freeing. Yet, most people overlook the fact that this attitude only leads to misery in the long term, even though it feels good at first.
So, how can you overcome it?
A good start would be by accepting the uncomfortable truth that you don’t deserve to feel a certain way. Likewise, the world doesn’t owe you anything. You’re just as lost, vulnerable, and abandoned as the rest of us, buster.
And sure, maybe your breakup was not your fault, at least not entirely. But you can still take responsibility for it and stop blaming the other person.
Hell, sometimes, you’re the one who fucked up. If so, just admit it. Then forgive yourself and you’ll be able to move on faster. And by the way, if that’s not the case – if your ex-partner actually is entirely to blame, forgive them.
Forgiving your ex for everything that happened before, during, and after a breakup means deciding that you won’t let those things affect how you live your life. At least not forever. But, that still doesn’t mean you pretend as nothing happened.
Rember, forgive, but don’t forget.
4. i don’t need to set post breakup boundaries
While most people think setting boundaries around their breakup is a waste of time, I digress. It’s a useful way to speed up your recovery. By setting them, you’re limiting yourself from participating in behaviors that you deem dissatisfactory and undesirable – a.k.a, destructive to your mental and emotional health.
So here are the top 5 boundaries you should set after your breakup, especially if you feel your heart is tearing itself in two.
- I will cut all contact with my ex and give myself time and space to grieve the loss of my relationship – even if I want my ex back.
- I will not perform any action or engage in any behavior that will cause me to lose my dignity and clarity. (Trying to change your ex-partners’ minds, professing your love to them, or trying to sleep with them again while still grieving, etc).
- I will not keep trying to get back together with someone who has rejected and betrayed me or simply wasn’t a good fit.
- I will not mentally torture or chastise myself for the breakup or neglect my self-care routines and act without trust and respect for myself.
- I will recognize half-assed calls and texts from my ex and not stretch their meaning into something like, “Oh shit, they said, “Hi,” they must still love me! Fuck yes! Let’s get back together.”
5. time will heal my wounds
Time does not heal your breakup wounds. It helps, don’t get me wrong, but your full recovery is mostly dependent on your actions and the mindset you possess.
Your daily actions and mindset dictate how fast or slow it will take for you to move on and get your power back after your breakup.
For example, the essential actions such as journaling, mediation, keeping a somewhat stable social life, daily exercising, and a good diet will go a long way in helping you recover.
When it comes to mindset, don’t push the icky post-breakup feelings away or try to cover them up because those actions will only make things worse. Instead, work on pushing the bad emotions out by crying, punching things, screaming, or any other healing modalities. Then when you feel into them, accept them for what they are: time-sensitive.
In other words, they will go away completely at some point, and that’s when you’ll be able to move on fully. But again, that’s only done through the right mindset and consistent healing focused action that I’ve mentioned earlier.
The #1 thing that kept me stable when I was were going through a breakup is the mindset of, “everything around me is shit right now, but in the end, I’ll survive.”
6. badmouthing my ex will help me feel better
I’ve been infamous for badmouthing. Whenever I was pissed off at my exes, I reached out to my friends and went on a fire-dumpster-like riff about them.
I cursed their guts, their height, their weight, and their personality. I even mocked their families and accused them of being cheaters or liars when they weren’t.
(Thank you for listening to my ramblings, dear friends. You know who you are.)
When I look back on my toxic behavior, I can see that they didn’t diminish my pain at all. Even though I thought they would. But here’s the weird part.
Out of all the ways people deal with their breakup pain, badmouthing their ex is the most common response. I’ve seen this time and time again among my clients and readers.
So do yourself a favor and keep your behaviors in check. You don’t want to talk shit about your ex behind his or her back. Besides, that won’t solve anything, and it won’t make you feel any better.
7. combating negative self-talk with positive will solve my worthiness issues
Amid heartbreak, we often get trapped in the habit of talking down to ourselves. We may say things like,
- I’m a piece of shit for screwing up the relationship.
- Working on letting go of my ex is pointless. I’ll never be the same again.
- I’ll probably fuck up my future relationships if I’ll even have any! Who would want to date a loser like me, right?
Now the worst thing you could do to lessen your negative self-talk is to engage in positive self-talk:
- I’m not a piece of shit. I’m extraordinary beyond measure!
- Working on letting go of my ex is not pointless. It’s easy and necessary. I must change and wholly reinvent myself.
- I’ll never fuck up my relationships again. I will master them, find a 10/10 partner, and create a flawless and lasting one with them.
Contrary to what your good pal Tony Robbins or the rest of the world’s life coaches say, this kind of positive self-talk is just as toxic as its negative counterpart. Both versions have a chance to turn you into a narcissist. Because in both, you view yourself as unique or somehow special.
So, if positive self-talk is off the table, what should you do when you begin engaging in any form of self-loathing?
Well, the best bet is to question the negative statements you tell yourself and give them a realistic twist. Here are two examples:
- Negative: I’m a piece of shit for screwing up the relationship.
- Neutral: I’m not a piece of shit. I just made some mistakes, as we all do. The fact that my relationship didn’t work doesn’t make me a bad person in any way, shape, or form.
- Negative: I’ll probably fuck up my future relationships if I’ll even have any. Who would want to date a loser like me…
- Neutral: Considering the number of people in this world, I will probably find one who will like me and vice versa. And yeah, maybe I will fuck up the relationship with them, or perhaps it will be them who screws everything up. Who knows. But ultimately, I shouldn’t let one failed relationship determine the outcome and my mindset regarding all of my future ones. It’s just not a realistic view of my life.
Note: For best results, write down your negative thoughts and their neutral counterparts, don’t just ponder on them.
Ultimately, this technique of giving the negative a down to earth explanation is nothing special. It’s one of the classic tools of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). But it’s “un-uniqueness” is also its greatest attribute. Since there’s nothing special to the technique, and since people have been using it for ages, it has tidal waves of research done on it — research that confirms it’s an insanely effective tool for combating your negative thoughts/self-talk.