A Single Heart
3 Key Healings for the end of relationship
Table of Contents
Healing 1 – Grieve
Healing 2 – Disconnect
Healing 3 – A New World
In whatever way it happens, every relationship break-up is unique. Generally, the more significant the relationship has been, then the more complex and challenging the process of break-up can seem. (A fact that is multiplied many times when children are involved.)
Every break-up contains issues that each person involved would do well to address.
I want to be very clear about this: even if you’re glad the relationship is over, there are still issues for you. Even if it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders, or even if you’ve left one lover for another, don’t let yourself be fooled: the impact of the previous relationship still needs to be resolved. It’ll eat away at you, and any future relationship, if you don’t.
And if you’re heartbroken now, you already know for sure how much needs to be healed. You probably feel like the foundations of your whole life have been taken from underneath you.
(If this is you, I want to reach out now and reassure – you can be whole again soon.)
Sometimes post-relationship difficulties are immediate and acute; sometimes, if left unattended, they can become chronic. Sometimes the effect of unattended issues don’t show up at all in your life for a long time, possibly years.
In whatever circumstances the relationship ended, and whatever the nature of the relationship when it was alive, separation always brings its own issues.
The question to ask yourself is this: do you want to sweep those issues under the carpet, where they’ll simply fester and cause long-term harm? Or do you want to deal with them effectively now, so you can start to lead a more fulfilling life as soon as possible?
If you follow the Healings recommended in this short publication you will go a long way to ensuring that:
- your emotional state will stabilise quickly
- the end of the relationship will be as positive as possible for yourself and others
- long-term, negative after-effects will be erased
- your next relationship, when you choose to have it, will be built on stronger foundations
- you’ll grow as a result of the break-up, not be diminished by it
Before continuing, a couple of ‘health warnings’:
The Healings will not immediately erase all pain and discomfort. Heartbreak cannot be fixed in a single step. The Healings will make you feel better, and help guide you along the path to wholeness, but the journey itself might take a little longer.
Every break-up is unique, just as every relationship is unique. It would be impossible to detail here every possible eventuality. However the Healings described below are relevant to all kinds of separation. If you apply them to your own situation then your experience of break-up will ultimately prove to be a stepping stone in your life, not a brick wall.
If you’d like to follow up on any Healing or issue, please make contact via www.derekhassack.co.ukThere is more help and insight available to you there.
Wishing you all good things,
“I don’t express my feelings. I grow tumours instead.”
(Woody Allen in Annie Hall)
Principle: The first step on the road to true healing after break-up is to fully recognise your loss and grieve for it properly.
The relationship that’s ending, or has already ended, once had potential. It was probably full of love and plans for a bright future together. It was probably a container for fun and pleasure and intimacy, at least some of the time.
At the very least it’s likely there would have once been a shared sense of hope that you could provide for each other some kind of bulwark against loneliness and the vagaries of life.
With all that in mind, and whatever the reason for it ending now, the relationship deserves respect. The promise may have been unfulfilled or un-sustained, promises may even have been broken; nonetheless something in which you invested your heart, and more, has been lost.
For some, this is all too painfully clear. You feel the loss very deeply and very sharply. It can be overwhelming, especially in the first few days after the full realization that the end has occurred.
You might feel that you’ve not so much lost a lover or a partner, but yourself.
For others, it may seem that nothing’s been lost, and plenty has been gained.
But don’t be fooled!
Wherever you are on the spectrum of loss, the fact remains that when a significant relationship stops being a relationship, then both parties are losing the same thing: the goodness and the hope in what was.
Bear in mind that once, not so long ago, you accepted the other person into your life; now you need to accept that s/he is no longer with you (or at the very most is in your life in a very different way).
It’s vital that you allow yourself time and space to grieve for the loss.
You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to your ex-partner. If you don’t, there’s a high risk that the unrecognised, unappreciated loss will fester away inside you, affecting your peace of mind and all future relationships.
It’s a fact of being human that each unexpressed feeling will find a way to express itself in your being, one way or another. It’s far better to deal with this in a conscious, managed way now, than become a victim of unseen, possibly chronic effects later on.
Of all the causes of subsequent relationship break-down, this is the most common: the failure to recognise the true qualities of the relationship you’ve left behind, and the failure to explore fully the reasons for its demise.
We’ll return to this subject later, but for now I simply want to ask you to allow yourself to grieve properly. There’s nothing weak or sentimental about this, nothing destructive or foolish.
Grieving is itself a form of healing.
So how do you grieve properly? How do you make sure that you process the impact of loss as quickly and efficiently as possible?
Surprisingly perhaps, the answer is: do nothing.
Simply allow your body and mind to process the energy of grief in their own way. You need to be with the feelings, in the knowledge that by allowing them full rein within you, then your natural, unconscious healing mechanisms will do their work without your active intervention.
A little bit of trust here goes a long way. Trust that you won’t be swept away by emotion; trust that your being has innate qualities that will ensure that all will be well for you soon – if you let the healing take place.
It’s very important as the process unfolds that you keep things simple and authentic. Consciously restrained feelings or, the opposite, overly-expressed feelings, have a tendency to create new ruts in your mind and in your behaviours that may be difficult to shift. If unchecked, these can become a mindset which is very difficult to escape.
The person who allows him/herself to wallow excessively in patterns of grief risks losing him/herself completely.
Some men and women are driven to hold on to grief as a way of holding on to the relationship and/or to the ex. This reluctance to let go of grief can hold people entrapped for years, even for the rest of their lives (I call this the ‘Queen Victoria’ syndrome).
Don’t let this happen to you. Grieve for the loss of relationship, yes; but allow it in its time and its place. No more, no less.
Try this exercise to help you achieve a balanced approach to grief:
Sit quietly on your own. Ideally, sit with your feet firmly on the floor or ground.
Put your conscious attention on the area of your heart (roughly around the sternum). contemplate what’s been lost, head-on as it were. Think about the good times. Wallow in the memories. Allow the sense of loss to flow up and through you. (Nobody’s judging you, nobody’s rewarding you, nobody will ever know – just be true to yourself as you do this, it doesn’t matter at all what comes out – even nothing).
Don’t restrict it
Don’t force it
Don’t suppress it
Don’t deny it
Don’t dismiss it
Don’t fear it
Don’t feel sorry for yourself
Don’t berate yourself for it
Don’t talk to yourself about it
Don’t act upon it
Don’t feel guilty that it’s not enough
Don’t wish it was different
Don’t imagine what others might think
Just watch yourself within and feel as the emotion washes through you; notice how it pulls tears and sounds and movements and other feelings out of you. Notice too if any new thoughts or ideas come to mind (they might not). Afterwards you can write these down if you wish.
Simply be in a state of expressed grief. Be in this state for as long as the feeling wants to stay.
Remember: don’t force it, don’t wallow in it. Keep your thinking out of it. Let it decide what it must do.
When it has finished for now, slowly allow yourself to feel ‘normal’, back in a comfortable state. ‘Smell the coffee’ as they say. Stand up slowly, then just go about your everyday activities as best you can.
If you do this practise whenever the feeling takes you, and if it’s convenient and practical (so not in the workplace or supermarket usually!), then you’ll have the reassurance that you’re grieving properly.
In time, the occasions you feel the need to do this exercise will reduce. One day you’ll realise you don’t need it any more at all – at least not for the present loss.
Remember that your grief is for you, not for the one who has left. You need feel no guilt or self-consciousness about grief; it is entirely natural and beneficial – if done carefully. In the same way, it’s perfectly fine to stop grieving; you show no lack of love or lack of respect by not grieving anymore.
Grieving may not sound like fun. It isn’t meant to. But it’s a crucial step on your path to recovery and renewal. Without grieving, whatever else you do to come out of relationship effectively will be severely undermined.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the quality of any future relationship depends partly on your ability to grieve properly for the one that’s just passed.
The best way to break a bad habit is to drop it
Principle: Separation is a state of mind, but one that is greatly influenced by circumstance.
The relationship is over. Therefore your best way forward is to think and behave in accordance with this new reality. Bluntly, this means that as far as you canyou should not be in relationship with the ex.
Easy to say, I know; sometimes less easy to achieve. Of all the common characteristics of break-up, disconnecting from your ex is perhaps the one that is most fundamental, most important, and yet is most commonly not done well.
There are TWO typical reasons why disconnection is not managed effectively:
- emotionally, you or your ex or both may be reluctant to ‘let go’. Emotional ties are more stubborn than intellectual ones; years of attachments don’t simply disappear because you want them to
- it’s easy to confuse physical or circumstantial disconnection with actual disconnection; being apart physically doesn’t necessarily mean you’re emotionally independent of each other
You have to be conscious of both 1 and 2, and make sure you’re doing all you can to facilitate disconnecting both circumstantially and emotionally.
True disconnection has little to do with physical proximity or levels of verbal communication. Disconnection is a state of heart and mind.
Having said that, your circumstances have a tendency to fuel your emotions , so it’s vital that you take active steps to separate your circumstances. Essentially this means living apart and minimising communications.
The key factor in the circumstances of yourself and your ex is the nature of communication between you. As far as you possibly can minimise it and be in control of it.
There may be very good reasons for maintaining active communications with your ex, but be clear with yourself about the reality of this. Choose when and why you communicate, and stick to your choices. There’s power in making a choice: this is a time when you want to empower your Self as much as possible.
Broadly speaking, once you are no longer co-habiting - which for some will itself be the dividing line between being ‘together’ and being ‘separate’ - there are only TWO valid reasons in the short term for communicating with your ex:
- to come to decisions about immediate practical matters
- to manage arrangements for the children (if there are any)
Every other reason to communicate with or spend time in the company of your ex is at best, a fallacy; at worst, it’s a route to confusion and extended pain.
It’s possible you’ll have very strong urges to seek various things from him or her:
- unexpressed feelings
- support through the pain
- the comfort of their company
- familiar sex (which can feel newly heightened by the novelty of separation)
- returning ‘things’
- the hope of trying again
My strong advice is: RESIST all these urges. Disconnect as much as you can as soon as you can, and don’t give in to any temptation to connect beyond what you absolutely need.
This is for your own long-term benefit. The longer the process of separating takes, the longer you will be stuck in the after-effects of the relationship. Eventually you will both be leading entirely separate lives; so get to that point as soon as you can, so you can live wholly again as soon as you can.
Even a short text message, a single emoji for example, sent in a time of remembered fondness, can actually intimate a great deal. It may open up massive craters of complication and further hardships, further entanglements.
This may seem a harsh message, particularly if you’re struggling emotionally right now, but it needs to be said: a long-term relationship is in many respects simply a complex set of practical and emotional habits.And as you know, habits can be hard to break, even those that no longer serve you.
Communicating with the ex can be like feeding the habit; there’s an element of apparent relief in doing it, but it serves you no good purpose in the longer term.
Bear in mind that the relationship ended because it was a bad habit, at least for one of you. Now you both need to give it up.
This also means you need to resist urges from your ex too. Do not agree to meet to ‘talk things over’ or ‘for old time’s sake’. Do not get into lengthy discussions about who owns what or ‘can we share the car for a while?’ And certainly don’t have sex with him/her. That strong urge at the time will turn to something much darker soon afterwards.
It’s a very good thing to consciously and repeatedly remind yourself that you are now single. Say it aloud sometimes! Get your unconscious mind to hear the message over and over so that it starts to act accordingly.
[Note: the Unconscious doesn’t recognise a negative; if you tell yourself that you’re “not with Dave” (or whoever) all the Unconscious hears is “with Dave”. So you’re merely reinforcing the reality you’re trying to dispel. Tell yourself positive, affirming messages e.g. “I am single”.]
The act of consciously disconnecting, internally and externally, is a tremendously empowering one. Do yourself a huge favour and do it well.
A New Home
‘If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects.’Anais Nin
The end of a long-term relationship is a loud and fierce signal of two new facts in your life:
- A relationship is finished
- You’re single again
These two facts may seem glaringly obvious, but it’s worth distinguishing between them because there is or will be a temptation for you to focus too much on 1) at the expense of 2). In other words, as much as you need to deal with, review and learn from what happened in the past, you also need to build a new lifestyle that for the time being at least is a single one.
Some find the adjustment to being single incredibly difficult. It’s not what they want, it’s not what they are used to. Being single seems more like a punishment than an opportunity.
This is entirely understandable, and in the first few days or weeks following separation, it isn’t anything to try to change. You must fully and consciously percolate any difficult emotion that break-up creates. Don’t resist or suppress.
But there will come a time, and perhaps you’re there already, when you simply must adapt to being single.
Adaptation starts with acceptance. You need to encourage your heart and mind to recognize that the relationship is over and that your expectations of everyday life have altered. The sooner you can appreciate being on your own, the sooner you can take full advantage of the potential it offers.
Sometimes, the period of uncertainty after a break-up is extended unnecessarily because old habits of behaviour aren’t changed soon enough.
For example, you’re used to eating your evening meal at 8.00pm because your ex often didn’t get back from work until 7.30pm. You had adjusted youreating habits in order to accommodate the needs of your partner. This is quite normal and totally understandable.
But now you can eat when it suits you! Think about it. At what time would you ideally like to eat your evening meal? When would it suit you best? Maybe it could be a different time each day?!
Choose, and then do it. You can always change your mind again later if you like. It’s your life!
In this way, old routines, which bear the invisible hallmark of the relationship that’s now over (the ghost of the ex) can be replaced with new, better-for-you routines which affirm your life, and help put youin control of your own pleasure and happiness.
For ‘evening meal’ substitute each and every routine and habit that filled your relationship day, and choose what to change, and how, in order to suit you best.
These minor changes, consciously made, though each small in its own way, will contribute to an enhanced sense of well-being and empowerment for you. You’ll be surprised what a difference it will make, to do things your way.
Choose the patterns of your daily, weekly, monthly life to suit you and your new life.
The footprint of the relationship will have had an impact on your home environment, possibly a huge amount. Quite apart from how you deal with legal aspects of ownership and the division of joint possessions, the fact of the matter is your home may no longer feel like home any more. The footprint of the past may be all too prominent.
The solution is obvious: change it. This may involve moving home at some point, possibly straight away. Or it might not. What really matters is that you find a way to create a living environment that is comfortable for you in your new status, and doesn’t harbour the ghost of the ex. You can’t be truly independent if you’re overwhelmed by the paraphernalia of others, so you have every right – indeed you have the need – to alter your surroundings to suit yourself.
Change things, move objects, re-arrange, replace, de-clutter, throw away, buy new…… create your new home as soon as you can.
Of course ‘things’ aren’t just things, are they? That photograph, that coffee mug, that chair – some Things can be full of associations, sometimes painful ones. The process of re-designing your home can be a painful one – but that’s the point. In dealing with familiar physical objects you also get to deal with emotions that otherwise might remain latent.
Material things can emanate the energy of others into your world. Confront this energy and get used to experiencing it from a single perspective. Use your own energy to choose your surroundings to suit you. In this way you’ll also be coming-to-terms with your loss in a positive and constructive way.
Don’t hesitate to change your environment to reflect the new reality of your life. Start as soon as you can to make the space around you ‘yours’ instead of ‘ours’. Think consciously about this, and make conscious choices. You will know what you need to do in order to achieve this.
(If there are children with you, invite them to share the re-arranging. Allow them to decide what they want around them, in their new home, within limits of course, limits that you might even discuss with them.)
I’m not suggesting that this action should take place suddenly, frantically or overnight. Take your time about how to change your surroundings to suit yourself. It may be that there are limitations on how much change you can actually execute on the home around you. But allow yourself time to choose what to keep, what to replace, what to move, what to store and what to throw away. Reflect on it, and choose.
And once you’ve chosen, make it happen. Once again, there’s great power in this process for you. Welcome it into your life!
Your home is the most important physical space in your life. It’s where you have sovereignty and is a direct reflection of your deepest and most consistent values, beliefs and behaviours.
In the aftermath of relationship lies the perfect opportunity to review how you live, and by what objects you’re surrounded.
As already stated, every break-up is unique. This e-Guide is necessarily brief and doesn’t purport to address every possible issue in detail. If you’d like to take things further and heal your separation/divorce in a way that will ensure quick and whole recovery AND get you started on a vibrant new life, then please contact me via the website www.derekhassack.com
If there is an element of your situation that isn’t touched upon above, please contact me via the website www.derekhassack.comand book a FREE Introductory consultation. Raise the issue with me then and let’s see what I can do to help.
The end of a significant relationship is a time of loss and intense change; it’s also a fantastic opportunity for growth and building a fulfilling new life.