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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Self Care for the Brokenhearted

I can't mend this torn state I'm in. Getting nothing in return. What did I do to deserve the pain of this slow burn--Christina Aguilera 

I wish that he had hit me. I wish that he had physically beaten me with his fist. I wish he had grabbed me by the back of my neck and slammed my head into a wall. I wish he had pulled my hair and screamed in my face I DON'T LOVE YOU! No, I am not a masochist, I simply believe that physical injuries do not hurt as much as the emotional scars caused by a disloyal partner. The broken promises, the disloyal actions, the refusal of your partner to protect the person he called his one and only, hurt worse than broken ribs, concussions, and pulled hair.

Broken ribs repair, scars fade over time, but unrepented emotional damage lingers on relentlessly. If you are a survivor of childhood trauma like me, than disloyalty in any form only serves to re-traumatize. It slices open old scars, it turns the volume up on the record that plays ad nauseam in your head, "no one will ever love me." After all, it took Navy Seal bravery for you to allow yourself to love, to let yourself be vulnerable, to give selflessly of yourself so that the relationship could succeed, to trust...again. Now this person has chosen someone or something else over your. He has demonstrated a lack of compassion and empathy, he has reneged on his promises, he has been unkind. You are facing a break up or you have already broken up. What do you do?

There are no quick fixes to this. But here are some strategies I have personally used to help me move forward. 

1) Weep and cry. You have a right to be in pain. No matter what he said to try to trivialize your pain. No matter if he implied you were crazy, irrational etc. you have the right to hurt. You are not crazy! You were ill-treated in some way and the real apology  you needed was never offered. Only more blame and character attacks. YOU are not crazy! No one has a right to tell you how to feel. Feel however you want.

2) Yes, there are still things that need to be done, even though you are facing this emotionally difficult time. You need to go to work. The kids need to go to school. Bills need to get paid. You feel shattered, but understand that many women have been in your shoes.If you can take the time from work than do so, without guilt. If you can send your kids to their grandparents/sitter, do that. Do what you need to do to get through. The other day I had to wash my face, put on my make up and business clothes and go to work. You can do it!

3) Keep a safe distance between you and the person who hurt you. Ignore or delete him on social media. Do not call, text, or email him. Do not imagine all the fun things he is doing without you. As much as you love him and long to reach out to him, he has violated you and now you must protect yourself from him. 

4) Eat. If you are the type of person who is an emotional eater. Feel free to indulge and don't let anyone criticize you. This a short-term feel good strategy. When your emotions even out (and they will) your diet will get better. In the meantime, bon apetite! If you are an emotional non-eater like me, you still need to eat. Sometimes it's easier to drink than eat. Drink smoothies, milkshakes, and juices, so that your body is getting it's caloric needs met. Drink water and try to swallow a multi-vitamin. The longer you go without food, the worse you will feel. You have already been harmed by the one you love, you don't need to punish yourself for his cruelty. 

5) Sleep. Sleep as long as you like. Take an over the counter sleep aid if it helps, but you must rest. You must allow your mind and body to recuperate from the damage they have undergone. Don't abuse sleep aids, but it's ok to take them in the short-term while you recover.

6) Breath. Go outside. Inhale fresh air. You might feel dead inside, but the fresh air reminds you and your body that you are still alive. As long as you are alive there is hope. There is hope of reconciliation or there is hope that you will get stronger and move on to someone who truly values you. 

Image result for brokenhearted7) After you have lived like a hermit, start gradually reaching out to friends and family. Yes it can be cathartic to post on social media and tell everyone who will listen how you have been treated, but that only makes you the victim. You may well be the victim now, but eventually you will be the survivor. Reach out to only those close friends and loved ones. Speak freely and honestly and with each sentence you speak imagine you are releasing bits of your pain. Don't reach back out for them. Just release. 

8) Confront the offender. If the time and opportunity present itself, and if it is safe to do so tell the offender how you felt, why you felt what you felt and why it hurts so bad. You don't have to get closure. You don't have to get a sincere apology. You don't have to talk of reconciliation at this time. This is an information session and you are dispensing the information. Tell him that the only thing you want from him is that he listen respectfully to you. Then respectfully tell him how you feel. You're not accusing. You're not blaming. You are owning your feelings. You are restating what has happened to you. An example might be, "I feel hurt and betrayed by you. I really trusted myself to you and that is why the cheating (insert hurt here) hurts so bad." Have this conversation face to face, not over the phone or on social media.

9) If the person is not available for you to talk to then have the conversation in your head. Imagine the two of you are sitting across from each other. What would you say. What would you want him to know. Say it out loud if you have to. Yes it sounds crazy having a one sided conversation, but in this forum you don't have to care what he thinks. You can get angry. You can call him names. Just remember that you need to tell him what he did, and how that affected you.  You can also write him a letter. You don't have to send it. If you do want to send a letter, send it a week or two later after you written it so that you have time to re-read it and make sure it's a true reflection of the situation and how you actually feel. 

10) Pray. Lift you and the person up in prayer. Ask God for the power to help you get through, reconcile, or recover. You should do this step everyday, multiple times a day. Instead of seeking revenge, ask God to deal with the person. 

11) You have to live again. Take care of yourself. Use these baby steps to get through when you are in crisis mode, but as time moves forward don't rely on these as a crutch. Move forward in dignity and determination to live happier and better than ever!

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