Anatomy of a Breakup: Intro
Breakups, heartbreaks, and heartaches…we’ve all experienced them at some point in our lives. The end of a relationship can be difficult to process, even if the split was amicable. In many ways, the end of a love affair is similar to a death. There are stages to survive a breakup that you must experience and go through to heal and move on. I believe there are so many people who are hurt and broken or cold and hardened because they never took the time to grieve their broken hearts or they may have skipped certain stages of grieving, thinking they were ok. I call those “The Walking Wounded.” I’m familiar with the walking wounded because that used to be me. “Anatomy of a Breakup” is a series that will address what happens when love ends. We love hard, and when it’s not reciprocated, we grieve just as hard and in many different ways. The question is “Are we healing” or are we just “carrying more weight”? This series addresses heartaches, breakups, and heartbreaks. It is my hope that you join in this meaningful and purposeful discussion and learn ways to heal completely in the best and most healthy way.
Pt. 1: The Moment of Impact
Did you see it coming or were you caught off guard?
Sometimes it starts with a feeling. Something is off. Silence, distance, fewer phone calls and text…you know something isn’t right. Do you say something or do you ignore it thinking things will get better? Even when you know a relationship is coming to an end, the actual END of it can cause a range of emotions. It’s a withdrawal of sorts. One minute you are accustomed to the phone calls, text messages and date nights and then just like that…it’s over…nothing. This initial “Shock” phase is filled with emotions.
The initial stage of a breakup is full of questions. What happened? How did we get here? Why is this happening? It’s a period of pain, disorganized thoughts, confusion and loss. The end of a relationship stings and if you internalize it, can cause you feelings of rejection. My marriage ended abruptly. It was a volatile relationship and full of conflicts, but I had no intentions of leaving. My marriage was going to work, and I was going to “fix it.” It wasn’t until I discovered his affair that I ended my marriage. I ended my marriage that night and never went back. The next few months were a blur. I felt paralyzed by my emotions. I scrambled up the little bit of energy I had to take my kids to daycare and pick them up. I couldn’t sleep and often found myself wide awake at night going through so many emotions; I started to think I was losing it. I wanted to know how my best friend became someone who took joy in hurting me physically, emotionally and psychologically. It was a very dark period in my life and my family and friends worried about me.
One minute I was “his wife” now who was I? I was in this relationship for so long; I didn’t recognize myself. It took time to come out of that shell-shocked phase. I wrote a lot during this stage. Looking back at my journals I can see how jumbled my thoughts were. I was all over the place emotionally. There was a part of me that was relieved that the nightmare I was living was no over. There was fear of the unknown. I was now a single mom of three kids, ages 1, 3 & 5. How would I make it? I was a stay at home mom who had been out of the workforce for five years. How was I going to do this? I ended this relationship, and I knew I was doing the right thing, but I had become accustomed to being “his wife,” I was accustomed to seeing him every night, having him there and quite honestly, I was used to the adverse aspects of our relationship. How many of us look back on relationships and wonder “why the hell did I stay in this for so long”? Were you accustomed to dysfunction?
The mask I wore during this phase was a heavy one. To those around me, I was “ok.” I cleaned myself up, got rid of the t-shirts and yoga pants that had become my daily uniform and started going out more with friends. The mask screamed, Look at her! She’s moving on! Look how strong she is! I got focused and busy. I found a job, opened a new bank account, bought a new car and found daycare for my kids within three months of my split. I even started dating. (SMH!!! Big Mistake). I was so broken during that time, and I knew not to entertain any “real” relationships, so I began to just engage in meaningless relationships that did nothing but mask what I was really feeling; Rejected, Unwanted, Alone and like a failure. To the outside world, I was getting it together, but that was hardly the case. At night, the mask came off, and I cried every day. I screamed. I stopped praying because I was so angry. This was a hurt; I was unaccustomed to. I felt so weak, helpless and confused. I was trying to answer questions, figure out my next moves and know who I was and it was all new and unfamiliar to me. The end of my marriage was the beginning of my re-awakening, but I didn’t know it then.
What do you do immediately after a breakup?
Next week: Anatomy of a Breakup Pt. 2-Denial (“Hold up…they don’t love you as I love you”)
Until next time,
Take care of yourselves and one another