And you tried to change didn't you? closed your mouth more tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake but even when sleeping you could feel him travelling away from you in his dreams. so what did you want to do, love…split his head open? You can't make homes out of human beings someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave…then let him leave. you are terrifying and strange and beautiful something not everyone knows how to love
-"For Women who are difficult to love "-Warsan Shire”
Days or even weeks after a breakup can feel like you are in a fog. You wake up the day after hoping it was just a bad dream. Did that just happen? I remember the morning after I caught my husband cheating. That morning, I think I was just going through the motions. I got up, got my kids dressed and fed and headed off to take them to their daycare. I came home and got back in bed. I didn’t get up until it was time to go pick them up, then I came home and played with them until bedtime, then cried myself to sleep, prayed angrily to God or just sat in the dark, completely numb. I did that routine for weeks it seemed. I was in denial. The reality of my situation hadn’t kicked in yet. My marriage was over. I wouldn’t be called his wife and people would no longer see me and expect him to be nearby. It was just me and my children now. I had a new and unwanted title, “soon to be divorced single mom”. The reality of this new life hadn’t sunk in yet. I walked around still referring to him as my husband, trying to save face. I was embarrassed. I felt like a failure and I didn’t want anyone to know what my marriage had become. My next breakup occurred almost a decade later. A lengthy relationship ended abruptly and I spent weeks in denial. Closed off from the world, I expected it to be something temporary but the more time lapsed, the more I realized it was really done and there was no turning back. I cut everyone off for a time because I couldn’t fake it anymore and just wanted to be alone in this depressed state. During this breakup, I wrote a lot. I wrote him angry letters, sad letters, letters I knew I’d never mail. I had so questions that I knew would never be answered. As much as I hate to admit it, I also had hope that he would somehow come to his senses and realize the mistake he made. I was living in a fantasy land.
During both of these moments, I was emotionless. Acknowledging the pain would only make what was happening real and I wasn’t ready to sit in that yet. Instead, I fantasized about happier times, dreamed that I could make things work or that I could convince him to “try this thing again”. I was playing games with myself, tricking myself into the belief that the outcome would have been different if only I had….[insert anything here]. The truth of the matter was that a relationship was over because someone didn’t want to be here (with me) anymore and that was the truth that I wasn’t ready to accept. My ego wouldn’t accept that so instead I just got pissed…
"So what are you gonna say at my funeral, now that you've killed me? Here lies the body of the love of my life, whose heart I broke without a gun to my head. Here lies the mother of my children, both living and dead. Rest in peace, my true love, who I took for granted. Most bomb p*ssy who, because of me, sleep evaded. Her god listening. Her heaven will be a love without betrayal"
-Beyoncé/Warsan Shire "Lemonade"
Once the reality of the end of any relationship sets in, the sadness, the questions, the what if’s and the moments of denial all come in waves. Once I’ve accepted what is, I begin to look back on the relationship and see moments where I forgot who I was and what I brought to the table and the relationship. I start thinking of the time that was wasted (more on that later). In the event the relationship ended badly due to cheating or otherwise, the longer I’m alone in my thoughts, the anger begins to set in. The anger is sometimes directed towards my ex (Who da F%*K do you think I is?) and towards myself (Girl how did could you fall for the okedoke?) I spoke about anger in a previous blog and how to handle it in a healthy manner but I can admit, I haven’t always followed my own advice. I don’t handle disloyalty, dishonesty or cheating well and when that has occurred; my first reaction is to lash out in anger. I become intent on wanting you to feel pain because you have inflicted pain. I’m hurt and I want you to know what you have done. There have been times where I have really shown out and acted an entire fool. Anger is a raw emotion and if not handled properly the results can be disastrous. The moments I’ve acted out of pure anger have been moments I regret the most. Here I am, showing out, loud, cursing, climbing a roof, banging on windows (SMH!!!) etc. and the person I’m angry with could care less. In hindsight, I just made myself look dumber to someone who never cared much to begin with. Not a good look. Don’t let your anger make you make a fool of yourself!
I don’t believe in denying anger because it will manifest itself somewhere else. Anger is a real emotion that you have the right to feel. Anger is rooted in sadness and pain and you have to deal with it at the root in order to remove it. Too often women have been told to ignore this emotion or deny it but I have come to a point in my life, where I embrace my anger when it comes and I manage it. We are in full control of our emotions and can use them for a greater purpose with the right mental tools. Anger will push you into the realization that you deserved better. Anger will push you in a desire to become better. I was so angry at my ex for hurting me, abusing me, and cheating on me that I became so determined to move forward in my life. I was unstoppable. He thought I’d break without him and I was determined to make it on my own. It was the fuel I needed to find myself and my independence again. I got focused on myself and my children and improving our lives. I used that negative emotion and turned it into a positive outcome in my life. I stopped focusing on wanting him to be exposed and hurt and I trusted the universe to deal with him accordingly. I had bigger things to focus on instead of him. Every time I allowed my hurt and anger to consume me, I gave him power. Once I realized that, I stopped. I disengaged completely. Stop giving people power who don't care about you!
I had a right to be angry in these situations but I had to learn how to use that anger to push me into acceptance and eventually to a place of healing. Self-Care becomes even more important during this stage in a breakup. My feelings are hurt, my heart is broken and I feel rejected and I’m vulnerable. It’s important to recognize where you are and take impeccable care of yourself during this time. If you let it, your anger can be exactly what you need to push you right out of sadness and into a clear mental space. You begin to realize what you wanted was not what you received. You begin to understand that the universe is loyal to you because it will remove things in your life that don’t honor you, making way to better things. Coming out of denial and anger is just another step in your re-awakening and re-discovering who you are after heartbreak.
Have you ever been in denial after a breakup? Have you used your anger in a negative or positive way?
Next week: Anatomy of a Breakup Pt. 3 “The Healing Power of Time"
Until next time,
Take care of yourselves and one another