This blog is written for someone I care about who can’t let go of a toxic relationship. In my efforts to help her I thought it might help others facing the anguish of losing an attachment figure. First and foremost always remember love is not rational so even when you clearly recognize your relationship is toxic or that the the object of your affection is unworthy, your heart may not listen. According to science and our understanding of the the brain’s reward system, love is a form of persistent craving akin to addiction. Stanton Peele, a social psychologist who has studied the phenomenon for more than forty years, calls love one of the most powerful addictions on earth. He wrote in Psychology Today that the seven hardest addictions to quit are cocaine, alcohol, Valium, heroin, cigarettes, fatty foods, and, in the top spot, love. So recovery means you will need to detox yourself off of Mr. or Mrs wrong and then follow a relapse prevention plan. Here are a few tips from Dr Debora Phillips in her book, How to Fall Out of Love.
Bouncing back from the trauma of breaking up, one of the most unpleasant of all human experiences, can be hurried along if you follow these five simple steps. Unfortunately you can never avoid the grieving process but there are a few ways using cognitive behavioral therapy to move on a bit faster.
1)The first step is called thought stopping which reduces the amount of time you spend thinking about him/her. When you allow yourself to keep ruminating over all of those wonderful moments you once shared, something we call Euphoric Recall, you are actually feeding into your painful emotions and stoking the fire. You need to starve the flames and stop reinforcing the loving feelings you once had. You must actively and systematically replace all thoughts of the relationship. To begin the thought stopping process you must make a list of the best and most positive experiences and pleasures you know or have known, all of which must not include your ex. . Typical positive experiences can be anything from your favorite music or food to remembering riding a motorcycle across the country, Christmas day, chocolate souffle, vacations or other memorable family events. Once you have your list then as soon as your ex. pops into your head, yell STOP. Don’t allow the thought to develop and in the next instant bring up one of the thoughts form your list. Thought stopping will take practice but it works if you work it. You can also combine it with the tried and true rubber band technique. Put a rubber band around your wrist and each time your beloved enters your thoughts, simply snap the rubber band so it hurts and then think of a positive experience.
2) Step two is called silent ridicule. People with a sense of humor or more importantly an ability to laugh at themselves are much more likely to have good mental health and a positive outlook . The problem is how do you get back to laughing when you can’t stop crying. Before you are able to embrace the ridiculous you may need to allow yourself a short time period to really cry and scream at the unfairness of it all but within a reasonable time limit depending on how long you were together. You will need to stop seeing the other person in any sort of favorable light.You must get rid of all photos and triggers at home, everything with a connection to the relationship must disappear. Try to focus on all of the character defects, personality faults and terrible habits remember all of the bad times. If necessary you may need to create a ridiculous context in which visualize your former beloved perhaps picture them wearing a very tiny sombrero, or better yet wearing a giant diaper sucking his/her thumb or doing a pirouette naked or in a tutu or toothless and speaking with a mickey mouse voice. Once you have the scene you must evoke the scene at least five times a day
3)Step three Build your Self Esteem and try to foster positive feelings toward yourself. You might start by helping someone else. When you turn your attention to another person — especially someone who is struggling with the same kind of pain — you forget about yourself for a split moment. And let’s face it, that, on some days, feels like a miracle. You will need to know which activities make you feel good, and which ones will make you start crying. Avoid activities which may be hurtful or difficult things like checking out his wall on Facebook and seeing that he has just posted a photo of his gorgeous new girlfriend and please no e-mails or phone calls to his buddies fishing for information about him. On the “feels peachy” list might be found such ventures as: deleting all of his e-mails and texts, pawning off the jewelry he gave you (using the cash for much-needed retail therapy), laughing over coffee with a new friend who doesn’t know him from Adam (to ensure his name won’t come up). Buy some 3 x 5 “ cards and write down two or three things every day that you have done or experienced as rewarding and/or self affirming. They can be affirmations, personal qualities or just noticing how much you love your dog or hearing the birds sing early in the morning.
4) Step Four Work it out. Working out your grief quite literally — by running, swimming, exercising, walking, or kick-boxing — is going to give you immediate relief. On a physiological level — because exercise increases the activity of serotonin and/or norepinehrine and stimulates brain chemicals that foster growth of nerve cells — but also on an emotional level, because you are taking charge and becoming the master of your mind and body. Plus you can always visualize the person who is responsible for your pain and you can kick her/him in the face. Now doesn’t that feel good?
5) Step Five Find hope. Forgiveness requires hope: believing that a better place exists, that the aching emptiness experienced in your every activity won’t be with you forever, that one day you’ll be excited to make coffee in the morning or go to a movie with friends. Hope is believing that the sadness can evaporate, that if you try like hell to move on with your life, your smile won’t always be forced. Therefore in order to forgive and to move past fear, you will need to find hope.