- Denial and Isolation. At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our friends, family, co-workers, and social contacts. This stage may last anywhere from a few minutes to months, depending on each individuals grieving style.
- Anger. After the reality sets in you might become very angry, even furious with your ex. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned or a man rejected. Most of us, too, will become angry with ourselves for even letting the event take place, right up to the point of blaming ourselves for the entire breakup. We inevitably go through the “if I only’s” and the “I should have or shouldn’t have done this or that’s”…
- Bargaining. This is where we start to make bargains with God; beg with our exes to take us back; and try to turn friends, co-workers, and family members into co-conspirators on our obsessive quest to gain this person back. We call our exes with invented tragedies, or emergencies, just to make contact; we try to ‘accidentally’ run into them somewhere where we know they might be; we decide we immediately need to retrieve that old sweater we left in their apartment…all in hopes that…well, you know! And if we do manage to get their attention, if only for those ‘accidental’ few minutes, we immediately lose all self-respect and start begging or crying, “If I do this or don’t do that, will you please, please take me back?” Yep..it is at this time that we become unattractive & desperate beggars, pleading with our exes to please (please..PLEASE) take us back and give us another chance. This is the blind stage where we tend to take the blame, mistakenly believing that “we” did something wrong and another chance will miraculously cure the problem. All we manage to do is strip ourselves of our pride, self-respect, and dignity, leaving us to feel humiliated and rejected…oh, argh!
If you feel you must call your ex, read “the call” at bottom of page.
- Depression. We start to feel numb and turn into zombies. Our anger and sadness may still be there but remains hidden and masquerades as a depressed state. We barricade ourselves in our home or apartment, close the drapes, and refuse to get out of bed. We call in sick at work and cancel plans with friends. We only answer the phone in hopes that it may be ‘them’ calling, and when we discover it’s not them the cycle begins all over again. In order to break the cycle you need to reach Stage 5.
- Acceptance. Finally, it’s over! The anger has passed, the sadness has tapered off, the depression has lifted and we see reality and it feels great. We will survive!
Ways you can reach stage five more easily.
Stage 1. Acknowledge your grief. Denying your feelings is harder on the body and mind than going through them. Wallow in them if you want, wail out loud, punch your pillow, cry to your mother, write sad poems, let your heart mourn….it’s your grief and it’s very real. Allowing grief to surface is the only way to let it go. Without this difficult stage we could never move pass the loss. Don’t feel pressured to hide or deny your emotions, but to accept them for what they are.
Stage 2. Allow your anger but resist the temptation to place blame. Stage two is usually short-lived. A healthy lifestyle will be most beneficial in getting you through this stage. Grieving and stress usually pass more quickly with good self-care habits, eating balanced diets, plenty of fluids, exercise, and adequate rest. When you start to feel ‘self-blaming’ then pamper yourself with a bath, rent your favorite movie, go for a hike or bike ride, buy a new puppy, tour your local museum, or visit your family or close friends. Taking special care of yourself re-establishes your self-value and worth. When you pamper yourself you again feel good about yourself and the need to place blame disappears.
Note: Our emotions always run their highest in the late evenings. I have no idea why! I read just today to keep a calendar by your bed and for each day fill in a different thought, it can be anything. Such as one day the thought would be about growing a flower/vegetable garden and what kinds of plants you would plant, the next what you would buy your mother if you suddenly won a million dollars…things like that. Then at night, before you go to bed, look at your calendar and that is the thought you are to have when you close your eyes. Sounds like fun even if you weren’t having a difficult time!
Stage 3. Three simple steps! Intercept, resist, and divert by redirecting. Whenever you feel that urge to give in and try to contact your ex, stop! Intercept your thoughts, resist the temptation and divert by redirecting your interests elsewhere with more self-gratifying activities. You will feel so much better when you walk away with your pride intact and your head held high. Believe me, there is nothing worse than the feeling of loss of dignity. Our dignity is our self-temple. It’s how we judge ourselves as human beings. It’s where we place our worth. And there’s nothing better than the feeling of our own strength as we resist the temptation and redirect ourselves to a more productive course.
Stage 4. Depression is a symptom of suppressed emotions. If you followed my directions and allowed your feelings to surface, took good care of yourself, and did not give in to placing blame, you should be able to slip through this stage with barely more than a one day “oh, woe is me” sigh!
Stage 5. Doesn’t it feel great to be out of a relationship that was so wrong for you? As your dark clouds have now parted you should feel a beautiful, cleansed feeling. Your soul has been reawakened and you see all the beauty that surrounds you. You are truly an amazing person and so fortunate to have a whole life time of special moments ahead of you!
“But I want to call her/him!!!!” (Wow, can we wail!) “But I want to hear her/his voice and try to reason with them and try to MAKE THEM SEE!”
Oh, geez, what am I going to do with you?!?! If you absolutely, positively MUST call your ex then here is an option…. Make the call IN YOUR HEAD!!! Think about everything you will say to them and think about how they will answer (I’m sure you know them well enough to know how they will answer you)…
You ready? Start dialing …….rrriiiiinggggg……rriinnnggggg……You hear the phone being picked up on the other end of the line…their familiar, but cold voice says, “Hello?”
okay, now you say “Hi, it’s me” and then continue on…what will you say to your ex? Place your statement here “_________”.
Now how is your ex answering you?
Think about all the painful, hurtful things they will say…think about the validated rejection you will feel….think about it until your stomach starts to feel like it’s made of lead…think how they will answer you, the cold tone to their voice, the apathy in their words. Okay, now that you have imagined this phone call actually taking place, and the answers your ex has given you, AND THE OUTCOME OF THE CALL, how does it make you feel?