5 Tips for Surviving a Bad Break-Up

11:06 AM

Happy Monday, blogosphere!

Today's topic is one that is near and dear to my heart. I've been wanting to write more on my divorce for a while, but it's taken me some time to sit down in front of the computer and really be comfortable with sharing details that are so intimate...and now I'm ready!

One of the things that I hear most often from women who have gone through an ugly divorce or break-up is that they feel alone. I think this is because no one really wants to talk about it openly because it's uncomfortable to be vulnerable, hard to face that shame and/or guilt.

By not being transparent about our pain, we are isolating each other.

This leads to the repression of feeling anything at all, or the need to fake the "strong woman" image. 

Well baby girl, I'm here to tell you that heartbreak hurts. Nobody ever gets married with the hope of divorcing. When I was standing in front of God, family, and friends declaring my vows, I had no idea that four and a half short years later I'd be standing in front of a judge who declared those vows null and void. I never thought that I'd ache in places I didn't know were possible, I never knew that I'd allow someone to disrespect me and my body so much, I never knew the depths of my self-loathing...again, heartbreak hurts

So, if you're currently going through a break-up or divorce or if it's in the past, but you haven't healed from it, here are some friendly tips that I learned along the way. 


Tip #1: FEEL EVERYTHING.
Oftentimes, we tend to jump to the "I should just forgive him/her" stage before we feel the anger, the hurt, the sadness...but when you don't allow yourself to feel those things, your forgiveness is lackluster at best. Yes, holding a grudge for years and years will hurt you in the long run. But initially? Like the first year? You need to feel what you need to feel in order to find true healing. There's no way around this one, you just gotta go through it. 

And that's hard right? Because no one wants to admit that they're hurting. But let me tell you,

It's okay to be broken.

Allowing yourself to feel that pain will be one of the best ways you can move forward and heal in the future. No way around it, over it, or under it. Just gotta go through it.

Tip #2: WRITE IT DOWN
I think one of the reasons we repress our feelings is because no one talks about it. We are much more comfortable sharing all of the ways that our lives are beautiful on instagram, but we're uncomfortable about sharing our pain. Since there's a fine line between being transparent and sharing too much on social media, I suggest that you first try being vulnerable with yourself. Write down your thoughts, write down your anguish, your pain...your moments of happiness and brokenness. For all of the things you can't say out loud, write it down. 

Once you release a thought from your mind, you might be surprised at how it loses its power.

Tip #3: REALITY CHECK
How many of us after a bad break-up try and linger on the good times we had? Or dream about what might have been or could have been?

Seriously homie, check yourself before you wreck yourself. At some point, you have to stop thinking about whatever your partner's intentions were and start living in reality. Intentions can have you in a fairy-tale world, where he intended to be faithful, he intended to love you, he never intended to hurt you. 

Well intentions kinda go out of the window when you're in the hospital with an STD, you feel me? 

Listen, I've been there. I still believe that my ex is a good person...and man, if he ever becomes all that the Creator has made him to be, he will be a walking testimony. However, I couldn't dwell in what could be or should have been. I had to face reality. And that reality was ugly, painful, and dark...and it had been that way for seven years. Whatever he intended to do, I had to step into my reality and realize that I was harming myself over and over again by staying.

Tip #4: TAKE THE TIME YOU NEED
Now, as you can imagine, once I started living in reality, my whole world was shaken to its core. I hated him for what he had done and I hated myself for allowing it to happen. This is when I started to sink deep into depression. 

One of my biggest regrets (and a fate I'd like to save you from) is that I didn't take any time off to heal.

Nothing stopped for me. I was still a full-time graduate student, I was still working full-time, and I was volunteering full-time for church. My days and nights were filled to the brim. I didn't stop any of the meetings, any of the classes, any of the work projects...I led worship every Sunday even when most people at my church at the time still didn't know I was separated from my husband. Nothing stopped. And we can make that sound glamorous all we want and paint the picture of a strong woman, a testament to "pressing through when it's hard." But the truth is, I was sinking inside. I continued doing all of those things even though it hurt and even though all of the red flags were up: I couldn't sleep without sleeping pills, my anxiety was so high that I was having panic attacks nearly every day, I was having para-suicidal thoughts. 

But I didn't want to seem weak.

Because, everyone just keeps pressing through, right? I mean, that's what it looks like. It seems that everyone else who goes through this just keeps on living so I should too. Wrong. 

Now don't get me wrong, I know that life doesn't stop for any of us. I had to keep working, I wanted to stay in school, and I love worship, so that's part of the reason I didn't stop. But, I regret not taking any time, not even just a few days to step away from everything and go on a mini-vacation to clear my head. Every woman I've spoken with about divorce and break-ups has said that either they took time off from work/school/life or they wish they had. I am a part of the latter group. If you can spare the time and have the resources, take a week or so off. You're going to need it to just recoup and step away from the madness, even if just for a moment.

Tip #5: LOVE YOURSELF
Seems pretty simple, right? But for whatever reason, this is one of the hardest things for us to do. Yes, you're hurting. Yes, you feel like crap. And yes, life is a mess and you're not sure of what the next step is.

All of these things are true. But you know what else is true? 

You are worthy of love.

It starts with you loving you. Pamper yourself. Get a facial, go to a spa. If you know of someone going through a bad break-up, why not offer them a spa certificate? You have no idea how much your kindness will help. And if you can't afford to go to a spa on your own, give yourself a spa treatment at home (here's a video that might help you). Get your hair done (or do it yourself, if you can!). Put on some makeup, throw on that one dress that makes you feel like a million bucks. And take yourself out on a date!
  
Don't wait on anyone else to love you. Do it for yourself.

I took myself out on a date at the famous Signature Room while I was still new to my singlehood journey. When my waiter learned that I was dining alone, he treated me like a queen and I treated myself the same way with a four-course meal and a wonderful glass of wine. I didn't need a date to be treated like royalty. I found that self-love within me.

Love yourself. Embrace yourself. Trust yourself. And take care of yourself.

I hope this post speaks to you. If you're hurting, I am truly sorry. But know that you're not alone. And if you have tips for anyone going through a break-up, why don't you share? Comment down below. 

Thanks so much for reading!

Unapologetically,
Pam

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4 comments

  1. Oooooof!!!! Great article. Break ups suck! Another bit of advice. Don't self-destruct. When I got divorced I went clubbing like crazy and hung out with the wrong people. I drank to melo the pain instead of face it. Don't do what I did. Surround yourself with positive people.

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    1. Great point! I thought about that as well, thank you for sharing!! Xx

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  2. My wife and I just went through a very tough divorce. Things ended up getting ugly and it really roughed me up. Men are told not to cry or show our emotions, even when we are seriously hurt, as I was. Your advice is something I could have used back then, but I'm sure it's helping a lot of people now.

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    1. Hi Gilbert, I'm sorry for the late reply! I hope that you and your ex wife are moving towards some peace after the storm. I know that for me, after the divorce was a time of unpacking all the hurt that I had stored up for years. I was in therapy for quite some time, and I'm in a much happier/healthier state. Wishing the same for you. And for the record, I encourage you to cry - it helps to release some of the anger. My ex husband and I both cried through the end of our time together. It was a part of the healing process. Sending you positivity & light! ♥

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