How to Heal from a breakup: Getting Unstuck from Denial
First off, healing isn’t linear. However, it’s helpful to understand the 7 stages of healing from a breakup, to help you understand what is happening to your brain and body as you process grief.
In the previous blog, I discussed how shock is what happens immediately after the separation. Today, we will explore the second stage of the process, denial, and provide valuable tips to help you cope with the emotions and move towards healing. Remember, healing is a unique journey, and it’s normal if you bounce around the stages or feel multiple contradicting emotions at the same time.
Understanding the Denial Stage:
The denial stage is a natural defense mechanism that occurs after a breakup. It involves not fully accepting that the relationship is over and clinging to hope for reconciliation. During this stage, the mind plays tricks on you, emphasizing the positive aspects of the past and minimizing the negatives. It serves as a buffer against the shock and pain of the breakup.
- Make a Reality Check List: Write down all the reasons why the relationship didn’t work out and the problems that caused the breakup. This list will help balance your perspective and prevent you from idealizing your ex.
- Restructure Mental Space, Time, and Closeness: To break the attachment to your ex, focus on understanding the three core factors that define attachment – space, time, and closeness. Remind yourself that your ex is no longer accessible to you in these dimensions. Engage in constructive rumination, where you set aside dedicated time to feel and process emotions, helping your brain confront the reality of the present.
- Avoid Hooking Up with Your Ex: Physical intimacy can strengthen emotional bonds, hindering your healing process. Focus on breaking the attachment and prioritizing your future.
The faster you can accept the relationship is over and stop bargaining and negotiating to get your ex back, the faster you can move into the other stages of healing. It’s hard, so just focus on one step a day. Eventually, the steps add up and give you momentum.
In the next blog, I’ll discuss what happens in stage 3, the depression stage.