Jun 8, 2010

Bargaining your way back to heartbreak... and how to break the cycle

Most people who are reaching late twenties, early thirties... unless they've been living in a monastery for the whole of their adult life, have experienced heartbreak. It seems there are different stages to getting over someone, and no matter how many times its happened to me, i get it wrong each and every time. Theres a new lesson to experience i know it... but omg it hurts like hell and the situation always sucks.

If you've ever been hurt you'll be familiar with the tiny voice in your head that whines about the poor deal you've been dealt, time and time again, rearing ugly feelings of sadness, anger, low-self esteem, depression, regret, self-blame, denial, loss.... shall i go on?

On a therapists sofa this voice is neatly coined as 'bargaining', a stage of grief where your thoughts are your worst enemy, often making the situation 'feel' worse than it actually is. And even more depressing, you're addicted to the falling into the bargain loop over and over, convincing yourself of your own misery, and that you're still not over it.

Well good news is that this is the last stage of heartbreak, and its a 100% your own fantasyland that just isn't real. The bad news is that the cycle is tough to break. mainly because you like your fantasy, it may get you attention (in the beginning), the lows are infrequent and inbetween enough highs that you convince yourself its never going to come back, and its triggered by as little as 'just having a bad day'.

Its the stage where we are 'certain' we can get back what we lost. If that person just knew how you felt they would act differently. If you think about what happened time and time again you would see where you went wrong. Its the side of you that wants to fix it and thinks it can. And thats the danger... because you just can't.

I did the worst thing i could ever do when breaking up with someone. I just wouldn't let it go. Even though my mind accepted that we weren't going to be together, and i knew that remaining friends was preventing me from moving on... my heart refused to believe, and my actions became inconsistent with what i was saying, so much i couldn't see how irrational i was behaving. To be honest... thats pretty normal. You'd be a cold-hearted biatch if you really did love someone but didn't have any inner turmoil when letting go. And so I couldn't help it, i was acting like i still needed this guy, still wanted him in my life. And you know what, I did. I wanted to be in touch, keep the door open for just the slightest bit of hope that i could still control the situation.

I'll be honest... when you're panicking about losing someone your head is f*cked and you really don't know what the hell you are doing. I gave over to my emotions and wouldn't let sleeping dogs lie. In doing so i kinda messed things up that now this guy can't even trust me to be in contact still. And being blanked/ignored/given the silent treatment... it sucks.

I'm not perfect, and sometimes it astounds me when others say "wow you are so good at relationship advice". Hell no, i'm not. I just see clearly when my emotions aren't clouding my judgement and i don't place blame. In my love life... i will never see clearly and sometimes i blame myself to much. Its only by writing that i can express how i feel and see the bigger picture.

All you can do when you wake up and realise you've been bargaining... is stop convincing yourself that you were wrong, and that you need/can get back what you lost. Best way is to not sugar coat the past. Whoever hurt you made mistakes too and so if you're going to lay blame... share the love! And then just accept the situation, warts an all. They are never going to change, come back or listen. Whats done is done. Its time you got on with your life and stopped looking back.

Things to think about:

1) its natural to think you can change it and to blame yourself

2) everyone has gone through what you're going through

3) convincing yourself that what you lost was better than what you have now is futile

4) think about what the 'real' situation was. the past and people are not as great as you remember. There was a reason you were unhappy and acted accordingly

5) you can't change it so dont try. Just get one with everything else and come back to it later (much later) if its so important.

6) and write to express yourself, even if only to throw it away. I have so many unfinished letters not sent to exes. If one escapes and actually does get sent (which is bad) then don't worry too much. But try not to send them. Write on paper so the possibility is less.

Right this moment i'm struggling to follow my own advice. When i fully embrace acceptance its like theres a wall between my heart and everything else. This is the third time i've been burnt by love and i'm not sure i could go through it all again. In fact i don't want to. No guy is worth this much pain. I gave my heart away so willingly last time... i'm reluctant to, ever again, for anyone.

I'm sitting here thinking of him and i wonder if when he told me he couldn't let anyone in after being hurt... if this is what he felt. Has he passed this curse on to me instead? If that's true, then i can finally see what he was going through. The hardest task would be to trust someone again, let them into your heart, after you've been damaged. I've gone through heartbreak twice (and the first time was more than enough) and something has truly been lost this time. Maybe my innocence towards love and embracing it when it happens? I was a passionate person, adoring the intense feelings of the moment, romanticising them beyond belief.... and now...?

I've been dating some great guys. They are kind, sweet, funny and very cute. But. I have nothing to give. My feelings are under wraps at all times. I never let them in. I don't want to. Don't want to lose control ever again. i feel like i'm numb inside, and theres this part of me i won't let them see or reach. I'm drifting in the middle of a big ocean or behind so much glass, nothing can get to me there. Its where i'm safe, so why should i leave... Unless it feels like the real thing, real love, why should i open myself up to so much hurt. I'd rather stay single. And further more, does real love even exist, equally between two people? The most sucessful couples seems to be those that aren't deeply, passionate around each other. There are no butterflies in stomaches or movie moment kisses, or intense sex. In fact most of them have told me its always been kinda boring... and there is love, just not the kind i always get drawn too. And furthermore, each couple seems to content, but not overly so.... there s little bit of reservation about what they have. Like they aren't 100% sure its what they want. And yet these are the couples that work. Maybe having this wall around my heart is good thing. Maybe i need to learn to protect myself from ever losing myself in someone else ever again. If not being able to let anyone in again helps me do that... then so be it

And so accepting the heartbreak does wonders for moving on... but still not sure what do to about wall around my heart yet. Maybe i'll leave it standing for a while longer...




I'm right there with you...but at the same time it's next to impossible to have someone let you into their hearts if you aren't willing to do the same. It's a catch-22...no one wants to open up first, which leads to even more failed relationships and more heartbreak. At least from my experience...


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OR - sorry for the late reply! but yes i can see where you're coming from. My problem with the past is i'm always willing to open up first and risk getting hurt. Im not sure how i wil go aboutit now but i will keep in mind what you said. I dated a guy who couldn't open up. it was hell. would not want to put anyone else through that which is why i hadnt been dating much. i felt it was only fair to wait until i was ready ;)

Carolyn Cummings

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