A friend of mine is going through a breakup at the moment. After a few years of really turbulent relationship, she finally managed the strength and courage to put an end to it.
She is also going through some nasty wild mood swings. You know, when one day you’re steady on your feet, feeling confident “I can do this!”… and then the very next day (or afternoon?) you’re crying uncontrollably in your pillow, fearing will this excruciating pain ever end, and through bitter tears mumble “Why (me)?”…
Sounds familiar? Right. The famous Ups and Downs. We’ve all been through them.
I know I have. When I look at my biggest heartbreaking break-up and how I’ve handled it, it was one hell of a roller-coaster ride. Break-ups have a way of getting to us in the ugliest way. And when it comes to love and relationships, especially if not wanted, they are one of the worst and most painful thing that can happen to a person.
they pass. Yes, until they pass. Until they take their time. And you learn a lesson or two. Sometimes even surprise yourself with a statement like “Unbelievable, this break-up turned out to be a good thing for me” …
But it’s hard to imagine yourself saying that now, while you’re hurting, is it? While just wanting to – heal.
So, how long does it take?
My friend, currently at this stage, asked me the other day “How long do you think it’ll be this way? How long will I feel this way?”
Well, every situation is specific. So is every relationship. And we all have our own specific way of going through these turmoils. There aren’t any general rules or patterns, but there is one type of pattern a lot of people go through during a break-up.
That pattern is: The five stages of grieving.
Each stage taking its own time
The concept was first introduced by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying (1969) as a result of her work with terminally ill patients. The Kübler-Ross model is based on five emotional stages a person goes through when facing a terminal illness, a loss of a loved one, a loss of a relationship or any loss for that matter that causes our grief.
Knowing these stages can help you get a clearer sense of what you’re going through. They can serve you as guidelines and very well remind you that your grief isn’t endless.
They do not have to be in this exact order and most definitely aren’t the only range of emotions a person can experience. I don’t take them as a golden rule although a lot of my clients with whom I worked with were going through these stages.
So was I.
And so is my friend now.
The Five Stages we go through:
1st Stage: Denial – not fully accepting the idea that we just broke up.
We are thinking maybe things aren’t that serious, this isn’t final, maybe there’s a way around it or maybe it’s just a rough phase… The idea of a break up still hasn’t set in. There’s a part of us that’s still not accepting this break-up and we cling to hope that things will work out somehow.
2nd Stage: Anger – being angry at various things.
We tend to get angry at our ex-partner for not doing things the way we wanted, we might get angry at ourselves for not handling things better, angry at the whole situation, other people involved, the Universe or God, injustice, unfairness, past events, past decisions, you name it… In this phase it’s easier to feel the anger than sadness. It hurts but in a different way.
3rd Stage: Bargaining – time for deals and compromises.
Deals we are ready to make with ourselves and compromises to make with our partner. Suddenly, our previous relationship problems seem as small issues. We tell ourselves we can change, that our partner can change. We may be willing to accept things that we didn’t want to accept before, try new approaches. In this phase we think what we could have done to save our relationship.
4th Stage: Sadness/Depression – feeling helpless and powerless.
If there was any, our positive attitude is now gone. There is only room for our sadness to fill in the blanks and that cannot be hidden nor consoled. At this stage we have lost interest in many things, nothing seems to brighten our day and the only thing we feel is the burden of our loss. This is a very important stage because it allows us to over come and finally accept our loss. This is when our wounds are starting to heal.
5th Stage: Acceptance – accepting the break-up and your current life situation.
We finally manage to admit to ourselves that it’s really over. No more sliding between all listed stages, no more anger then sadness then some more anger then bargaining… It is over. And you know it. Doesn’t mean you jump for joy but it does mean you’ve finally accepted it. You are starting to take care of yourself. Slowly, but steady. Sadness is still here but now you can breathe.
Become aware and be kind to yourself
You will go through all of these stages back and forth. Everyone’s experience of loss is unique and there are no rules. No one can diminish the importance and the value of your relationship and what you feel you have lost. It’s the feelings of pain, anger, sadness and disappointment we all share with more or less similar level of intensity. So for some of you one stage will pass shortly while another one will take much longer. It’s important not to rush things and to listen to yourself.
Remember that each stage has its own purpose. You should give your wounds time to heal. Allow yourself to feel the pain. To feel that anger. Sadness. Running away from your emotions (or numbing them) will only make things worse. You will prolong your pain. So while you take your time to heal, focus on becoming your own best friend and to take care of yourself the best way you can.
**** There are many things that await you in this process. If you need more support, guidance, and a help of a professional to help you heal your heart, you can contact me here: http://www.mateateller.com/contact/
After you send a message, we will schedule a call, and see if we would be a good fit to work together and to help you feel stronger, peaceful with yourself, and ready to live again, fully and wholeheartedly.