Have you been single for a little while and can’t seem to move on from your previous relationship? Do you find yourself often day-dreaming about the good times with your ex or on the contrary get angry at them and think at length about all the bad things they did? Do you struggle to forget your ex and get ready for a new relationship?
The good news is: you can do something to help yourself out of this painful situation :-)
Let's imagine the example of Jane*. Jane has been single for 12 months since breaking up with her last boyfriend but she can’t move on. Jack is on her lips –and in her mind- all the time. She is both sad to have lost Jack, to be alone and resenting of Jack. She feels he has let her down. Jane is recounting again and again in her mind various situations where Jack has been arrogant, selfish or plain mean. But there is also all these other good times with him, which made her feel special. Either way, Jane is being caught in the “story” and can’t move on.
Jane is a lovely girl who enjoys having fun and she is a go-getter, but when it comes to love, things are not working out, she keeps being disappointed. Not a lot of men catch her attention and when they do they usually end up loosing interest in her for some reason, leading eventually to a bitter breakup.
Having difficulties moving on after a breakup is a common difficulty and it often means there is some kind of psychological wound behind it.
It is normal for a breakup to be painful, whether we decide to breakup or the other person leaves us.
But if we simply cannot move on even months later, there might be something not adjusted playing up. It can be quite an array of things but usually, what is playing up is that we have transferred a need to be loved that we didn’t have from an important person in our past onto the present relationship.
Back to our example. In Jane’s case, through analysing her sensations with a professional, she discovers that when in Jack’s arms, she feels like in her dad’s arms as a child. Her parents had a nasty divorce when she was still young. She discovers now that the little girl in her still feels she has lost her dad and is desperately looking for the affection she has missed. She also feels very angry with her dad and this shows up in her bitterness against Jack. Jane is able to see that Jack cannot fulfil in the present a need that comes from the past. So, under gentle and professional guidance, she sits with the little girl and in this safe space she is able to give to herself all the affection she needs.
Doing so also allowed her to see that she might have been stifling Jack with her need for him to make her feel special. And indeed, in her next relationship, things starts to change.
The important point to take here is that the only way to fulfil your need is by doing it yourself, traveling back in time to the wounded child in you. She or he is the one who needs the love. And you, as an adult, can give it to them.
So if you recognise you have a difficulty to move on from your last breakup, here are a few steps you can follow:
1. Allow yourself to step back from the story with your ex-partner (the “they did this to me!” kind of story). This means you have to pause your thinking.
2. Move your attention to your feelings. Allow them to talk to you. You may need to cry and that’s ok. It is good for your feelings to be heard.
3. From this place of compassion for yourself, ask yourself: is there something I need to give myself here? Something I can give myself right now, as an adult? Something I can give to the one in me that is in pain?
4. Wait and listen to the answer that comes up in you.
5. Then focus on giving this to yourself and focus on receiving it.
6. See how you feel now.
As you can see, this technique doesn’t focus on understanding why you feel this way today. We often want to know what is happening in us, but in reality we can start changing our life even without knowing yet what is happening in our unconscious.
Nor does this technique take you back into your past, which it is better to do with a professional –at least at the beginning- so you get all the support you need.
Following the steps I suggest, you can start building a different relationship to yourself –a relationship of nurturance. As a result, your relationship with potential partners is going to change too because you will be more autonomous, less needy and therefore more resilient. And you will be in a better place to move on from a breakup.
You may also feel you would need some support in your current situation. If that’s the case, you can book a free 20 minutes chat with me on https://www.maudbr.com/free-consult , I have a deep passion for assisting people to build a balanced, fulfilling and truly happy life. I will be happy to listen to you and give you some tips on how you can go.
*The examples used in this article are taken from my experiences of life and people and loosely based on some stories of clients in my counselling work. No individual circumstance is mentioned.
Photo credits: Gellinger