How to heal from a breakup: the shock stage
Are you feeling heartbroken? Wondering if your ex is going to call you? Or maybe you’re casually dating and feel like you’re going crazy because they’ve suddenly pulled away.
The short answer is no, you’re not going crazy.
Whether you’re ruminating over a situationship, or missing your ex, there’s a biological and chemical reason why you might be feeling out of sorts.
In this series of articles, I’ll be guiding you through each of the 7 stages of the breakup process which include: shock, denial, depression, anger, bargaining, accountability, and acceptance. Note that the stages are not necessarily linear and you can bounce around the stages or even feel multiple at the same time.
Today, we’ll start with shock.
You might feel numb, disoriented, or unable to accept what has happened. Shock is your body’s way of protecting itself from the overwhelm of this sudden loss.
Your body perceives the separation as a threat you’re flooded with stress hormones.
The amygdala, the part of your brain that acts like your emotional processing center kicks into overdrive, making you hypervigilant to threats, and leads you to have intense, emotional reactions.
There’s also a surge of adrenaline that makes you want to take action. You might feel these intense cravings for your ex. You want to see them. You want to get back together. You might scroll their Instagram. Feeling withdrawal after a breakup is normal.
What to do during the shock stage of a breakup:
Stop communicating. Unfollow them on social media. Even by stalking their Insta your brain strengthens neural pathways that are associated with your ex.
Friends? No thanks. They do not get the girlfriend or boyfriend experience after the relationship ends. Sometimes the person who initiates the breakup will try to be your friend because they feel guilt and also because they care about you. It’s not like they’re evil because they broke up with you. This isn’t about assigning blame to whoever wants to keep contact, but it’s about doing, what’s healthy for you in the long run. Continuing a friendship without a transition period stumps your ability to process this breakup.
Process Process Process – Start every morning with flow state journal writing. Set a timer for 10 minutes and put your pen to paper. Use the prompt: I feel. You might find that you go off on tangents but it doesn’t matter. When you release it all onto paper, your mind goes, Oh, I’ve already addressed that.
This is not the time to psychoanalyze your ex or yourself. The shock stage is all about allowing yourself to feel all the emotions without shaming or blaming yourself.