Relationship break-ups almost inevitably bring shocks of one sort or another. Whether the breakup was sudden and unexpected or not, there are always a few surprises, and it is quite often an experience that rocks the very foundations of your life.
You may have been shocked by an announcement out of the blue. You may be wondering who it is that you have been living with all these years as you see changes in behaviour that is possibly out of all recognition from the person you fell in love with.
You may be shocked by the depth of feelings you are now experiencing, anything from grief and guilt to anger and frustration, from utter disappointment to sheer, raw fear for the future. Or quite possibly all of these, and more, in combination.
So why is it so hard to let go of the pain and impact of divorce and find an equilibrium again?
One reason relates to our expectations. We didn’t say vows on our marriage day with the intention to break them or have them broken. You may have expected happily ever after? Or at least expected to be happy most of the time and for the rest you would be strong enough to handle it together? You may have expected certain behaviour. Maybe you had no idea how hard it would be to stay married in a loving relationship as circumstances changed between you and around you. You may have expected more support, understanding, compassion, flexibility, companionship etc. When we expect things to be a particular way and it doesn’t happen then we experience pain and suffering.
When we experience breakup, we are losing the familiar (and perhaps the relatively easy -at least in the short term). Instead we can feel alone and pushed out in the big wide world, often against our will, and completely out of our comfort zone. That can be scary.
We may well feel we have lost ourselves and our identity in the relationship, which can make finding ourselves and our own direction again afterwards really hard.
So, if you’re struggling with coming to terms with all this turmoil how do you find a way out? What can you do to not only get through each day, but move forward too?
It is helpful to start by recognising exactly what is scaring us. It is so much easier when we know what we need to face. We may have felt that life was organised, safe, settled when we were in the relationship. That we had someone to cover our back if need be. That feeling of not having to do things alone. You might just want to challenge that though. A lot of people recognise that in practice they were doing things alone in the relationship already, so there may not, in truth, be a huge change. You may also have been doing things you didn’t really want to do for the sake of the peace, or as a compromise, or because you didn’t feel you had a voice. In addition, you may recognise that you weren’t able to do what you wanted for yourself either.
When it comes down to it, it is very often the unknown itself that we actually fear, and it’s being thrust into it suddenly that causes the shock for many. We may have stayed in an unhappy relationship to try to keep ourselves safe, so we don’t have to face stepping into the unknown, but that can send us into denial about how bad things really are and how unhappy we really are. Breakup can mean us having to face what we have been avoiding. And because we resist it, or have resisted it in the past, it is painful and distressing.
We may also be unduly attached to things being a certain way, the way we want them to be. This is often especially true if the breakup wasn’t our choice and it can cause huge amounts of suffering because it is out of our control. When we recognise we have no control over another human being or their reactions, but that we have complete control over our own, then we can start to make the changes that matter, for ourselves.
When we can find it within us to accept our situation rather than fighting what we can’t change, we are on the road to finding our peace with it all.
When we were growing up it’s unlikely we will have been shown how to embrace the unknown, to go with the flow of life, to grasp opportunities and go through open doors no matter where they might lead. We are usually taught from a place of generally keeping ourselves ‘safe’, weighing up the pros and cons, and we may well have made decisions from that place and also be aware that they haven’t really always served us. When we let go of trying to control others and situations, we can see things anew, make our own adventures, and live to the full.
Letting go of trying to control everything makes it so much easier to be in the present moment – the only place where we can really live anyway! By being in the current moment we can release ourselves from the pain and distress of worrying about the future which we can’t control, or guilt and regrets about the past which we can do nothing about now anyway.
Taking baby steps involving self-care and self-respect is also a great tool. Small actions, taken consistently and every day soon add up to moving you where you want to be
If you would like to speak to me personally about how I can help you move forward to the life you really want, then feel free to book a complimentary call here. I would be delighted to speak.