6 ways your mind tricks you after a breakup and the right way to fix a broken heart
6 reasons you shouldn't believe the voice in your head after you've just broken up
A breakup is heartwrenching, especially when you had hopes of a future together with the person with whom things have ended. It might have appeared all too sudden or you might have seen it coming. Either way, the pain is real.
While it is important to grieve the loss of the relationship and feel all the emotions you are experiencing—sadness, fear, anger, shame and perhaps guilt—it's important to ensure that the voice in your head doesn't weave a story that is detrimental to your self-belief and mental health.
When you had invested a huge part of yourself, your time, energy and emotions into the relationship, it might seem like your world is falling apart. You will not want to meet anyone or engage in any socializing. Give yourself the time you need to grieve the loss of the relationship and feel the pain.
But at the same time, don't believe everything the voice in the head tells you because, at this point, your mind might go on an overdrive and spin stories that are far from reality.
Here is why you shouldn't get carried away by what your mind tells you soon after a breakup. It might paint a picture that puts you at a risk of self-blame, low self-esteem, shame/guilt, and make you go on a never-ending wish trip of "if only things were different." Your mind tricks you into making you believe that:
1. The relationship was perfect, healthy and consistent always
Nope. It wasn't. As much as the mind tries to tell you that you feel broken because you lost something perfect, the reality was far from it. There were moments of disappointment, frustration, anger, disagreements, arguments, and even moments of loneliness within the relationship. Don't believe when your mind paints a picture-perfect image of what was just because it is now over.
2. The ex was the absolute best—the one
While it is natural to think about everything we miss in our partner because of the breakup, our mind will selectively remind us of only their best, most admirable of traits. Images of their near-perfect self, them being kind, charming, smiling, and generous will pop up in our head; the not-so-pleasant memories, where you found some of their traits to be annoying, frustrating or downright unacceptable, will go unnoticed.
This selective nostalgia will only make us feel worse. While it's okay to go over all the happy moments and great qualities and miss them dearly, don't let your mind make you believe in an unrealistic image of them, which was not true in its entirety without the flaws.
3. You were happy all day, every day
You wish. Yes, it feels terrible right now. But there were moments when you felt unhappy, dissatisfied, restless, distant, and unappreciated. This is not to make you think of all the things that went wrong; it's about giving yourself a reality check. Even if these moments were rare, they are significant cues that you weren't feeling good at times.
4. Something must be wrong with you
Your inner critic will lash out when you're feeling the most vulnerable. It is natural to feel some amount of self-doubt and a dip in confidence post-breakup. However, watch out for that stream of negative thoughts that will go all out and blame you for how things have turned out.
Every relationship involves the dynamic exchange of energy between two people. No one person can entirely cause something to the relationship. Even if that means being compliant and not standing up for yourself, the responsibility is shared.
Even if you contributed to the end of the relationship, now is not the time to let your inner critic attack you. Practice some self-compassion. You did the best of what you knew was the best.
Also, never let yourself go into the road of believing you were not good enough, attractive enough, smart enough, or whatever enough. You are more than enough and complete all by yourself. Now is the time to know this beyond doubt through self-awareness, kindness toward yourself, and honest introspection.
5. Your ex always brought out the best in you
Sure, but they might have also brought out the worst in you, or at least the not-so-nice part as well. You are what you are. When someone comes along, they might inspire you to embody and express your best self and live your life to the fullest. But they don't really bring this on to you. They simply act as a mirror to who you are. They reflect what you already own within.
This also includes the dark or unpleasant side that got triggered by your ex. Now is the time to turn within and reflect on all these parts of you. How much of yourself are you willing to have easily triggered by external factors including a partner?
Which aspect of your personality do you think was triggered that isn't who you are in your depth? This could be insecurity, jealousy, intense rage, shame, constant guilt etc.
6. If you could just ping, call, or email, you will feel better
Nope. Sending long, emotionally charged texts or emails will only make it worse. Especially if it was your partner who decided to call it off. Give yourself the time to feel all that you feel, talk to a friend if needed.
But don't reach out to your partner and unconsciously hope that they will somehow understand and say the right thing to make you feel better. Because they most likely won't, and you will end up feeling worse and have your self-esteem all the more dented.
The trick is to feel all that you feel but not expect it to be acknowledged by the very person who triggered all these intense emotions. Journalling is an excellent way to release your emotions and let out your thoughts. It can be very therapeutic and healing.
The same goes for talking to a trusted friend and expressing your authentic feelings.(Don't go on a gossiping spree, but if it helps, go ahead and share what went wrong as well, just so you get it out of your system).
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