AW MAN, REALLY?!?! I don’t wanna write about this!
Actually, i’ve been dealing with this topic a lot lately. Recently, I met a new friend through on online mental health support group, and we began to get really close. We had similar interests, passions and we were able to share really deep things and support each other through hard things. I think we were helping each other grow, and it was a good thing. I started feeling a little more than friendship for him, and I had to put the breaks on things a bit. I didn’t really do that in the most elegant of ways, and I tried to own that and apologize for it. However, I missed that companionship and the feeling of being SEEN in a way that was different than in the relationship with my husband. So the hubz and I had to talk about it, and things seemed to be evening out. However, said friend, for reasons I still don’t totally understand, upped and cut off all communication with me.
This breaks my heart. I’m pissed because the reasons asserted for it don’t make any sense to me, and I cannot even ask really why or wtf is going on. Also, I think I am being punished because of things that were not in my control or weren’t communicated to me, and here I am being told I am the bad guy. That sucks. I’m also pissed because I spent some of my political capital in my marriage to preserve this relationship that had become important to me, only to have that thrown back in my face as if it didn’t matter. I’m sad and heartbroken over what was good and what was lost. I will miss what I thought was a deep connection with a person who is troubled, but who also has something really beautiful in him.
What I think also is that I put a little too much of myself in my relationships, but I don’t know how to be any different. I don’t have a ton of friends by design, and the ones I do have are like family to me. I want to be authentic and real and I want them to be the same. I want us to see each other for who we really are, warts and all. But my emotions get involved really quickly if I find a connection with a kindred spirit, and when that connection is broken, I feel it extra strongly. Its almost like a part of my body has been ripped off.
I’ve had lots of heartbreaks in my life. Two failed marriages, having to reckon with the fact that I have chronic mental illness that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life, childhood bullying and having to make realizations that there are just some things in my life that will never be what I would hope for them to be. In some ways, these things promote growth, and I have been able to see the true extent of my strength and resilience. Other times they have been nothing but damaging. I guess that’s how this shit works.
What I have noticed as I get older is that I am more gentle and forgiving of myself than I used to be. As a child and young adult, I was taught that if I failed, the first thing I should do is shame and blame myself so that I don’t do it again. I think this sort of thing exists in our culture as some weird vestige of the puritanical ethos. I also noticed I had a default assumption going on that if I made mistakes, it meant *I* was a failure, not that I failed at a thing. I’ve been working very hard at trying to exorcise this demon from my heart and mind, because it sends me into endless shame spirals that are entirely unnecessary. Its a weird thing to have to teach yourself that you are a basically good person. You would think that would be the default assumption for most people, but I think, except for narcissists, that isn’t the case. Ima blame the puritans for that little bit of self-hatred as well. Thanks, assholes.
I haven’t got a magic cure for that other than repetition. I have to consciously combat unhelpful patterns of thought on a regular basis to undo this sort of damage. I talk to myself on the regular, and actually argue with my own mind. Its fucking exhausting.
So what about healing heartbreak? How do we do that? Fuck if I know, but I know some things that have helped me lately:
- Writing: Here and in my journal, I have just poured the shit out. Its better than letting the gremlins run wild in my anxious mind.
- Speaking truth: sharing what I need to share with people, even if they don’t want to hear it.
- Talking with friends: A trusted friend to listen is the BEST. In person, online, whatever. There are wonderful people in the world who care and want to listen and hold space.
- Meditation: This has helped me in several ways. When I get upset, I tend to get very limbic, and that fight or flight thing kicks in. I get very shaky and weird. Then my thoughts start to race and things get WAY worse. Meditation helps to slow that process down. I have also found it helpful in trying to release negative emotions that are not serving me. I use an app called Insight Timer that has tons of free meditations on it. I prefer guided ones because I don’t really know wtf I am doing.
- Time: Legit, this it what it takes. Feel the shit out of your feelings, and allow yourself time to feel sad and to grieve. Its OK and it is natural to do so. Fuck other people and their opinions and timelines. You know what is right for you. Now, if you are finding that you cannot get through something after a reasonable time (to you) has passed, some sessions with a therapist may help. My therapist helps me see patterns I may not notice, and helps me with new ideas and resources. Best money I have ever spent.
Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash