The Roller Coaster of Breakup: How to move on - Counselors The Roller Coaster of Breakup: How to move on - Counselors

The Roller Coaster of Breakup: How to move on

Breakup is a state where a person feels devastated owing to a loss. Responses such as grief, immense sadness, hopelessness, and withdrawal are common.

Stages of breakup

Shock -The breakup has just happened. You know it has happened but still can’t quite connect with it as nothing feels real.

Denial: At first, you may Deny the whole situation (‘It is just a small fight. so it will be fine soon) as if nothing happened.

Anger: However, when you notice that the other person is missing or the relationship is not the same anymore, you get angry (‘What does he think of himself? I hate him’).

Bargain: To turn off your anger and feel better, you bargain(‘If only I were more available, then maybe he would not have ended this’) to regain control over the situation.

Immense sadness: After actively working to regain control but with no results, sadness sets in. (‘Why am I even alive?’) A state of passiveness and inactivity follows where you start struggling with your thoughts and emotions. That is where you have to put in conscious effort to get back to life again.

Acceptance: This feels more like surrender at first giving in to terms of the breakup. Over time it will change and while the pain may still be present you can see the relationship more clearly, accepting each person’s role in the relationship, the good and the bad.

Hope: THE BEST STAGE! You see a picture of your ex and don’t feel so much anymore. You go out with a friend and realize that you are enjoying yourself (not just tolerating it as you had been). You can feel that YOU ARE MOVING ON.

Relationships ending Divorce, breakup, borders, and barrier.

These stages are not set in stone. They are just the current conceptualization of grief post-breakup. It can’t tell you how you will respond. Also, it’s not necessarily linear. People go in and out of phases and sometimes round in circles. However, it’s a good start when thinking about how you are feeling and why you might be feeling it.

What you can do to help –

Surround yourself with loved ones. You don’t have to talk or be a good company. Friends and family reconnect us with ourselves. They remind us we are lovable. They cause a release of endorphins (feel-good hormones), and at the moment this can only be a good thing.

If there is no one you feel you can talk to, write it down in a journal about your emotions. Research shows significant positive effects of journaling during times of challenge. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Start with… ‘today I felt’ or ‘what (insert event) happened’. Then just let it flow. Write hard (or soft, however you feel) for 20 minutes. Finish it with three positive sentences to yourself. Something soothing. Something you have noticed about yourself that’s a strength. Words of encouragement. Then re-read it and tear it up. OR don’t!

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time. Try not to set dates or timelines for your recovery. Timelines will only make you feel worse if you don’t ‘snap’ out of it in the way you hoped.

Being active-This could mean using exercise to trigger endorphins and metabolize stress hormones. It could mean scheduling your day around the patterns you see arising. For example, if you know that you feel worst in the mornings, go for a walk to get out of the house when you wake up. Meet someone. If you can’t sleep, make sure you are busy during the day and keep a book or crossword next to your bed at night.

Notice self-criticism. Notice any time you blame yourself, list your shortcomings, call yourself names or recall rejections. Doing this is like taking a hammer to a broken limb. Your brain is already running on a survival response. This only activates that further. When this happens think about what you would say to your friend. Say this to yourself instead. You could even write a letter to a friend in this situation. Then read it.

Learn how to self-soothe. Breathing exercise, Progressive muscle relaxation

Avoid the things that you know make you feel worse. Such as checking your ex’s social media or walking past their place repeatedly.

Set boundaries. If your ex keeps calling you or won’t go away. Assertively state that the relationship is over and you need time apart to heal.


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