Getting over a broken heart is never easy, especially in the social networking age, when photos of you and your ex in happier times remain plastered on your friends’ Facebook pages. Worse, recent research suggests that romantic rejection can cause physical pain in a way that no other negative emotion—not even anger or fear—can.But it’s actually good to go through the insane despair and bouts of endless tears that result from being dumped, contends bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Piver. We should embrace these feelings rather than run from them, she argues in her book, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. “As unlikely as it may sound, this sorrow is the gateway to lasting happiness,” she writes, speaking of her own two-year experience recovering from heartbreak. Piver and other experts described ways to ride through those uninvited waves of grief.
1. Make friends with your heartbreak. You may be tempted to try and forge past it, numbing the pain with rebound sex or a date with a gallon of ice cream. Or you may harden your heart and swear off all future relationships. But that’s the cowardly approach, and one that won’t serve you well in the long run. “It takes a lot of courage to be sad,” says Piver, “but a fantastic life is not one that is placidly happy.” With grieving comes increased awareness: of what’s truly important to you; whom you love; who loves you. “Of course, no one wants to feel that way, myself included,” Piver adds, “but if you allow [the sadness] to teach you, it actually will resolve faster than any effort to fight it.” By Deborah Kotz, Angela Haupt
Scars have the strange power
to remind us that our past is real.
Ask yourself whether you are withholding your thoughts, opinions, or feelings because of your fear of your partner’s reaction. If so, this means that you cannot trust that your opinion will be valued in some way by your partner if you say what is true for you. Think about what that says about your relationship. Nor do we condone spewing out your feelings without some forethought or consideration about your delivery. Being aggressive or abusive with your feelings is just as unhealthy as walking on eggshells or tiptoeing around somebody. Being forthright and “adult” means expressing yourself directly, as in “I feel ______” or “When you do this particular thing, it makes me feel _____”. No one has the right to criticize you for the way you feel.
Excerpt #1 from “He Said, She said: Codependency vs. true love — how to tell them apart” By Hanalei Vierra, Ph.D. and M’Lissa Trent, Ph.D.
I believe all suffering
is caused by ignorance.
People inflict pain on others
in the selfish pursuit
of their happiness or satisfaction.
Recovery from codependency has been about discovering myself; not the pretend self I created in my youth; not the mask I learned to show the world, but the person hidden deep down I have been since childhood; the one I barely knew for most of my life. As a kid I played survival hide and seek with my emotional self to the point that the game became all about hiding. The ability to allow myself to just be a child got lost and I stopped seeking to unfold the ‘me’ I was born to be. Instead I became adept at showing what I thought I had to show; to try to be “good” so my parents would love me. They too lost them self in their young years and in ways of parenting were nothing but children. And the same had to be true of their parents before them and their parents before them… Codependence is a family tradition that often runs deeply backwards into generation after generation and out to the many branches of a family tree. That’s why it can feel almost normal. When a kid is completely surrounded by dysfunction it appears natural and the way one can grow up to be.
Drop the idea of becoming someone,
because you are already a masterpiece.
You cannot be improved.
You have only to come to it,
to know it, to realize it.
“I wish my father would hug me.” That wish had always been there, a dormant yearning. But now, for the first time I was willing to acknowledge it – to myself. To some it may sound a bit strange. I mean, why would a 25-year old therapist recovering from chemical dependency get all worked up over a simple thing like hugging his father? I’ll tell you why. Because I am a co-dependent, an adult child of an alcoholic. Because like so many in our culture, I grew up in a troubled home filled with dysfunctional rules of co-dependency. That’s why. Moreover, because of my co-dependent family history, I now realize that much of my childhood had been lost. I learned young to take care of myself and to do without important nurturing that children need to get from their parents; caught between a hug and a hard place. Adult children of alcoholics are in a constant conflict over what they experience as a crazy separation within their own spirit. They grow up intellectually and many of them learn the social skills required in order to look healthy – but, like me, they’re faking it most of the time and guessing at what’s normal. Beneath that surface and behind that veneer is a chameleon-like identity. For example, I go to church and be one man and then go someplace else and be another, but as far as what’s on the inside, a chameleon doesn’t change. From “Lost In the Shuffle” by Robert Subby
I spend all of you
I’m okay when I’ not,
pretending I’m Happy
when I’m not,
everything to everyone.
The psyche cannot tolerate a vacuum of love. In the severely abused or deprived child, pain, dis-ease, and violence rush in to fill the void. In the average person in our culture, who has been only “normally” deprived of touch, anxiety and an insatiable hunger for possessions replace the missing Eros. The child lacking a sense of welcome, joyous belonging, gratuitous security, will learn to hoard the limited supply of affection. According to the law of psychic compensation, not being held leads to holding on, grasping, addiction, possessiveness. Gradually, things replace people as a source of pleasure and security. When the gift of belonging with is denied, the child learns that love means belonging to. To the degree we are arrested at this stage of development, the needy child will dominate our motivations. Other people and things (and there is fundamentally no difference) will be seen as existing solely for the purpose of “my” survival and satisfaction. “Mine” will become the most important word. From “The Passionate Life: Stages of Loving” by Sam Keen
For God’s sake,
let’s take the word ‘possess’
and put a brick round its neck and drown it …
We can’t possess one another.
We can only give and hazard all we have.
Dorothy L. Sayers
The more we learn about mind-and-body the less I see addiction and codependency as a disease and the more I see them as natural, logical and very creative attempts to survive and/or medicate the emotional injuries caused by unmet childhood dependency needs or other dysfunctional relationship situations. There is a major difference between a disease and an injury; a disease is something you “catch” or mysteriously become afflicted with, while an injury is the result of something bad that happened to you – some kind of trauma. The survival skills learned by a child in order to adapt to and survive traumatic emotional injuries naturally result in an excessive need for control – something at the root of all addictions including codependence. However, the skills that were once natural, logical, and effective aids in surviving childhood emotional injuries, are not useful or effective as coping skills in healthy adult relationships. D. Carter
There is an ache in my heart
for the imagined beauty
of a life I haven’t had,
from which I had been locked out,
and it never goes away.
According to a recent poll found on ‘Answerville’ the average person can fall in love twice in a lifetime. Of the respondents, 39% said twice, 29% said three times, 18% said once and 14% said four times. Of course there is nothing about fitting into an average that actually makes one average. Each person’s life experience is different. Sad to think there are those who never fall in love. I can’t imagine such a life. Love finds some multiple times. With a little more than one in ten falling in love more than four times, I realize my life has been very rich to have known love double that. What first might appear as a prize has actually been the source of great pain. Relationships where there is mutual love are joyful to have and painful to lose. The single factor that contributed most to the failure of my relationships was codependency. I grieved each love lost; some still stir softly within on occasion. All were gifts.
It’s not forgetting that heals.
I used to get mad way TOO much, far too easily. I wasn’t angry all the time, but embers of past pain needed little to flame into a blaze. My thinking was it was a natural tendency for me from either heredity or environment and not in my control. Clear in memory is being told numerous times I had a bad temper and needed to do something about it. When one is ‘in-control of being out-of-control” such things are impossible to see. What I know now is the vast majority of my anger was very old and just kept recycling up within me over and over. Like a lion with a thorn stuck in its paw, when pressure was applied the pain came and anger followed that was stored within me form a long, long time ago. Once I began to see my behavior in the present had a lot to do with what was deeply imbedded from my distant past, I was finally able to see and overcome my volatile temperament which was actually a self-protective bad habit.
The more anger towards the past
you carry in your heart,
the less capable you are
of loving in the present.
Barbara De Angelis
Every time I have loved a woman it left a mark on me and became a part of what I think love is. Every failed love, when I was fooled or got lost in deception is marked on me. When I loved and lost there is a scar left behind. Sometimes it all combines to make me not want to love again which is always followed with the sure knowing that love is like air to breathe; I must have it. A few days ago I came across a perspective that helps. Love is like grass. If you fall on it, it may leave a stain and some temporary pain. But you’ll get over the pain, it will eventually stop hurting. Now maybe the stain ruined your favorite pair of jeans, or maybe it was nothing special that was ruined, but either way the stain remains there. And with time, it will begin to fade, but it will always be there, a permanent reminder that you, too, once fell. And if I fell once or fifty times… I can fall again.
We are not held back by the love
we didn’t receive in the past,
but by the love
we’re not extending in the present.
There are far less things I do now which end up as sizeable regrets. When there is something regrettable, it is usually smaller with lesser pangs of guilt than before. Sometimes it is because I have grown to see my tendencies more clearly and with that knowledge am able to avoid repeating past mistakes. At other times it is a feeling of regretfulness for what I have done in the past that are the road markers keeping me out of the ditches. Wisdom came when I could allow the lessons of what was behind me to be a guide in the present. Instead of seeing old transgressions as only actions to regret and try to forget, I came to see how the past is helpful in lighting the path forward. At first it felt very strange to find gratitude for the bygone errors. However, once thankfulness came not for the deeds, but for the lessons learned, my life became better. It was then hope began to arrive in greater quantity than I had ever previously allowed myself.
One must always maintain one’s connection to the past
and yet ceaselessly pull away from it.