This blog began as a way to sort through my feelings about a difficult relationship. It then became a blog about ending that relationship; an ending I initiated. Finally, it morphed into a blog about recovering from an abusive relationship and depression. Blogging is good stuff. Were it not for blogging, I might still be wringing my hands, questioning whether I did the right thing when I ended the relationship, and perhaps even being sucked back in by Mack’s manipulation.
Back in January, I wrote about how long it might take to get over ending things with Mack. http://wp.me/p1jL9y-34 The standard formula is half the time you were in the relationship. Mack and I were “together” for a year. I broke it off with him in late September. According to that formula, I should be in recovery until late March.
But the formula is stupid. Take these examples:
- I’ve been married to a man I detest for 20 years. The moment the last kid finally heads off to college, I call the lawyer I’ve had waiting in the wings for the past 5 years. Do you really think it’s going to take me 10 years to recover from the divorce?
- I’m married to the love of my life for 6 years. He’s honest, kind, and the funniest man I’ve ever known. We’ve had lots of grand adventures, and respect each other immensely. He dies of pancreatic cancer. Am I going to be over him in 3 years? I doubt it. I probably never will be over him.
- I’ve lived with an emotionally abusive prick for 16 years. He’s got my head so fucked up I don’t know who I am any more. My self-confidence is virtually non-existent, and I’m convinced (with loads of help from him) no other man will ever love me. He doesn’t have a job and I support him financially. Even so, he leaves me for someone new. Will I be over him in 8 years? With the help of a therapist and a good support system, maybe. But the odds are high I’ll take him back in a heartbeat when his new love throws him out, having realized what an abusive, manipulative motherfucker he is. (True story.)
The truth is, the formula for getting over a breakup looks more like this:
There simply are so many variables, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all formula.
Even though there is no time certain when you’ll be over your breakup, there are things you can do to speed the process.
The number one most important thing you can do to heal from a breakup, and I cannot stress this enough, is to cut off all communication.
This is particularly important when your ex is abusive or manipulative. No communication means you don’t meet him for a drink to hash through things yet again, you don’t call him (even if your brother is dying), you don’t return his calls, you don’t send email, you delete his email without replying, you unfriend him on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and if necessary, you block him. No communication means no communication. Zero. Zip. Nada.
If your ex was abusive, you’re probably going to need a shrink. Get one.
There’s no sense in attempting on your own to unravel the wad of shit you’ll no doubt need to sort through. A therapist also can make sure you don’t engage in too much self-recrimination for being with an abusive asshole to begin with. These guys are practiced at the art of manipulation and deception. Give yourself a break.
Get rid of reminders.
If you can’t bring yourself to toss them just yet, bury them in the back of a drawer. I buried the engagement ring in the back of a bathroom drawer. Why the bathroom? Possibly because he’s a douche.
Self-care is important for healing. We should take good care of ourselves all the time, but it’s especially important when you’re healing from a breakup.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Feed yourself healthful, nutritious foods. (Feeding yourself well is the most basic form of self-care.)
- Cut back on the alcohol. You know why: alcohol is a depressant and also it leads to drinking and dialing. Don’t risk it.
- Get regular exercise, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. You don’t have to do an all-out cardio workout for now if you don’t quite have the energy. You can go for a walk or roll out your yoga mat. Exercising outdoors is especially helpful for improving your mental state. Exposure to sun and nature is proven to help lift our spirits.
- Get massages. If you can’t afford one, you can give yourself a massage with a foam roller. There are lots of videos on how to do this on YouTube. There are even a videos on how to make your own foam roller.
- Take bubble baths with aromatherapy. I am particularly fond of Aura Cacia’s Lavender Harvest Bubble Bath. It makes lots of beautifully scented bubbles.
Plan a vacation or something to which you’ll look forward with anticipation.
I just booked a 10-night solo trip to Tuscany, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. A trip fling with a tall, dark, and handsome Italian would certainly speed the healing process. See this hilarious classic SNL skit featuring Kirstie Alley at Il Cantore restaurant. http://www.hulu.com/watch/3521/saturday-night-live-il-cantore-resaurant) You might want to avoid Paris, however. Everywhere you go, people are kissing. There even are web postings on the best places in Paris to kiss. http://www.bonjourparis.com/story/the-best-places-to-kiss-in-paris/ I’m thinking they could do a best-places-to-masturbate-in-Paris post, and expand their market.
Make a list of negative things about your ex. Review it often.
If you were the dumper, this should be easy. If you were the dumpee, it might be harder. But try. If you need help, ask your friends. They see lots of things we miss whilst doing the ostrich.
I can’t have you missing out on ostrich cuteness while you’re recovering from your breakup, so I give you this, also:
Lots of experts recommend journaling. But why journal when you can blog? When you journal, you’re on your own. But when you blog, you run across people going through similar challenges. I’ve found comfort in learning the ball of shit I’m sifting through is not so unique. It makes me feel less alone.