From Albania: Hello and thank you for reading this. Last July, my brother got married to the love of his life. They had been together for 10 years (since he was 20 and she 19), lived together for 2. She was the first and only girl he ever dated and was completely committed to raising a family with her. In November his wife started a new job, and in March this year she left him. He is completely devastated. When it happened, he cut off all relationships and we were not able to see or talk to him for a whole month. At that time he was still hoping that she would go back to him, and was waiting for her at their home. When it became clear that she wouldn’t come back, he moved back home with the family. For 2 weeks, he would just lay in bed staring at the ceiling, and couldn’t sleep at night. My mother and I stayed close to him and whenever he wanted to, we would talk and discuss what had happened with him. At least he started to go to work. He is a very introverted person, and he had invested so much in that relationship at the expense of other relationships in his life. He has very few friends and he is not really close to family members. It seemed that things got a bit better. He started going out at times, and he started sleeping again. It has been 3 months since, but he is not capable of moving on. He has shut down again, doesn’t want to talk to us, doesn’t go out, has no interest on anything. We are trying to convince him to see a psychologist, but he won’t go. He feels that his life has no meaning any more and he feels like he is suffocating in this life. He thinks now, that the only solution would be to move to some other country and start a new life. How can we help him? What else can we do to make him see that there is still life ahead? What can we say to him? Thank you in advance.
I appreciate how difficult it is to watch a loved one become so despondent. I would respect the fact that he may need some time to lick his wounds and ground himself. However, I would continue to encourage and offer him opportunities to join you for lunch, movies, a party. Your love and nurturance of his feelings will become a beacon of light through his darkness.
Encourage him to go for a walk with you, perhaps take a yoga or meditation class together. The key is to be connected through your relationship with him. He may need to be inspired by your joint activity initially.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Brother Depressed After Break-Up. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/07/12/brother-depressed-after-break-up/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.