Empty, hurt, lonely, angry is just the tip of the emotional iceberg that a person experiences in a breakup. It leaves in it wakes a broken individual with a bruised self-image. A heartbreak is not only loss of a partner but an imagined future, certainty and a part of ourselves as well.

Moving on is tough, and one can experience a whole range of difficult feelings, complicated thoughts, obsessive behavior patterns, which can affect one’s productivity at work, quality of relationships with friends and family and squander one’s self-esteem & self-image.”

Instant and quick fixes may help to distract ourselves for a short period of time or numb the pain for a while but don’t resolve the emptiness and hurt we experience.

How Therapy Helps:

  • Express the pain
  • Find stability in emotional chaos
  • Grieve the loss
  • Seek answers to questions
  • Gain closure

PitFalls

When it comes to healing from a break up there are several caveats to look out for- Numbing emotions through drinking, smoking, drugs, rebound relationships, casual sex, binge eating, rash driving, overworking are some short relief measures that one tends to engage in during this period.

It is unrealistic to expect that a relationship that lasted for several years will be forgotten in a short duration of time. It is completely natural to feel triggered while coming across a familiar place, person, object. Associations take time to wane off.

Some mistake emotional numbness to healing. It seems better to not feel at all and might even provide temporary relief to the burden of experiencing pain but it further delays the healing.

Therapeutic Approaches

  • Catharsis-

    When a person goes through something as shattering as a breakup, they might feel emotionally overwhelmed and need to vent out their feelings which might not always be possible with friends and family.

  • Grieving-

    A break up is not just a loss of a relationship but also an imagined future. Grieving the loss of a dream is necessary in order to experience hope and joy again.

  • Dealing With Overthinking/ Psychological Challenges

    Loss of a relationship forces us to think how our few actions or whole me would have stopped this fateful event from happening and I wouldn’t have to go through this painful event in my life. Thinking so, we knowingly/ unknowingly slip into a vicious cycle of self-blame or self-criticizing mode that does not allow us to see the flip side of the coin.

  • Sensemaking-

    A lot of people get stuck in questions like- Why did this happen to me? Was the relationship not strong enough to withstand adversities, wasn’t the love genuine?. Integrating knowledge and lessons from this experience helps to achieve clarity and makes sense to give a holistic picture.

  • Psychoeducation on Moving on Phases-

    A break up accompanies an emotional roller coaster where a person goes through various phases of shock, anger, betrayal, numbness, rebounds, etc. Knowing that all of this is normal and one can experience dichotomous emotions at the same time eases the pain and move forward with acceptance and insight.

  • Rebuilding Self -

    When we get habituated to a person’s presence in our daily life, it becomes challenging and confusing to imagine our days without them. We may end up feeling lost and lonely. Rebuilding our sense of identity without this person is the final phase of the healing process.