Surviving Your Breakup
As a society, we place great emphasis on finding “the one.” We pressure ourselves to find the perfect lifemate for ourselves. Often, this process can be nerve-racking in itself. However, what happens when a relationship ends?
We can all think of instances where friends, colleagues, family members, and other individuals we come into contact with have been forced to manage the ending of a romantic relationship. Many of us have experienced this firsthand as well. For many, the ending of a romantic relationship can be viewed as a true test of resilience.
How our Thinking can Influence Recovery
I have helped several of my clients through rocky areas in their relationships. Breakups, however, typically are the most difficult relationship issues. Many of my clients say: “What am I supposed to do now? I need this person in my life. I can’t live without them!” Statements such as these paint a picture of exactly how powerful romantic connections can be, as well as how dependent we can become on them. This dependence can cause a loss of personal identity in one or both of the members of the couple and cause post-breakup life to feel foreign. Such statements also can lead to people becoming depressed.
Our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors. Thinking precedes everything we do and feel. Consider a terrorist act: When a nation is subjected to a terror group’s attacks, common reactions include fear, disgust, anger, and confusion. However, the attackers might react with feelings of pride, happiness, and celebration due to viewing their mission as accomplished. This shows how many ways there are to think, and ultimately feel, about a given situation.
When people hold irrational beliefs about a breakup, those irrational thoughts can cause depression.
Irrational Beliefs about Breakups and Rational Replacement Thoughts to Practice
We can develop the skills that help us to feel the way we want to feel about any situation (Pucci, 2010). Our thinking will dictate how we feel about, and ultimately cope with, a breakup, as well as any other occurrences in our lives. Irrational thoughts and beliefs that cause us to feel hopeless or depressed about our breakup can be replaced with more rational ones. This will make the ending of a relationship feel much more bearable.
Irrational Thought: “I can’t live without this person. I need them in my life!”
Rational Replacement Thought: “I can live without this person. There are definitely things I need in order to live, like air, food, and water. I do not need this person to stay alive. Sure, I miss them, but my life will not end if they are not in it, and I do not need them.”