Why Do Breakups Hurt like Hell?

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Breakups are shit…they suck…they are like painful hot searing swords pierced into your heart that you can’t seem to pull out. One of my worst puberty breakups was when I was 12 years old. My first boyfriend dumped me after the school because “I had big thighs”…thanks for the body shame WK

I’ve recently broken up with my boyfriend. We had been going out for 1 year. We decided to call it quits after realising that we wanted different things. I wanted a future, he wanted alcohol..a lot of alcohol. It was time to let go and I tried to do it as gently as possible. 

Lucy a friend of mine recently got dumped on the phone it blindsided her. The man she had been crushing on, who had been dating for 3 months, texted her randomly and said they should just be “friends”. Two weeks later it turned out he had been engaged for a year. 

Whether you are the dumper or the dumpee breakups are hard. It felt like a searing hot sword was piercing my heart and at the same time like an emptiness had replaced my heart. 

So why does it hurt like hell?

Im no psychologist but I’ve had my fair share of breakups. There are the reasons why it may hurt like hell:

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  • You know you made the right decision, you have a rational explanation that makes sense but it still isn’t giving you closure. As human beings, we typically crave logical solutions. Breakups don’t offer this. There is actually no rational or logical reasons that can make you feel good about a breakup. 
  • You feel like you are losing an investment. Have you ever bought shares in a company that turned to shit? You had given time and even contributed financially in the relationship and now have nothing to show for it. 
  • You have unresolved feelings of rejection from your childhood. We all go through some form of childhood trauma. It has shaped who we are. Breakups take us back to those painful moments when we first experienced feeling “just not good enough”. 
  • You grew attached…used to this person’s attention, validation acceptance etc. When you break up the emotional connections were severed similar to being amputated. You keep missing that “ghost leg”
  • Your source of happiness, validation, love, romance, intimacy has been cut off leaving your emotional needs unmet. Who is going to validate your existence in the world? Who is going to affirm you, “you are worthy”?
  • You fixate and imagine on the unrealistic expectations of what-could-have-been relationship that never really existed. In your head, your relationship was perfect and would have just kept getting better, “if we just kept working at it.” 
  • You are building up and fixating on the good times in your head
  • You played with power and you got played. You thought you would be okay with being FWB (friends with benefits) and turned out you wanted more and he didn’t. 
  • You ended the relationship prematurely thinking that if you walked away you could get what you want. you wanted to show him who’s boss. It may have backfired. You took a huge hit and you now feel pain. 
  • You didn’t see it coming. You saw him with her. He blindsided you with a breakup. 
  • You are envious. You started to think of your ex- being happy without you. You imagine he is laughing with friends, “free”, not miserable. You become in a state of distress because you imagine him not missing you, not needing you the way you feel you need him.
  • You are lonely and possibly depressed. You are single and now have more time for yourself. Your friends are tired of hearing about you and him and you feel like they don’t understand. It’s easy to isolate yourself. Or you may be stuck at home with few options it’s easy to fall into depression over your breakup. 
  • You are stalking him.Think twice before checking out his tweets. Seeing what you are “missing” out on will only make you sad. And will prolong the healing process.
  • You are trying to remain friends with your ex. This only prolongs the pain. Your wound tries to heal but can’t because you keep ripping open the scare tissue. 
  • You are keeping reminders. Throw out, give away or burn reminders of the relationship. They symbolise that you weren’t “good enough”. Getting rid of them means you are letting go and making room for new opportunities in love. 

Breakups also hurt physically. Your appetite. You may be experiencing headache, joint pain, memory loss. Studies show that the brain releases natural pain killers-opioids during heartbreak-a sign that breakups do physically hurt and your brain tries to deal with it. Sometimes like a punch in the stomach.

Because of Evolution. Being rejected from a tribe or social group used to quite literally being cut off from shelter, food. Evolutionary -speaking, breakups put our survival in jeopardy. 

Even the slightest rejection causes your brain to be alerted to the potential threat to your survival. focuses it’s the attention believing that if you focus on what it considers as danger. This makes us feel uncomfortable and afraid

 

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What You Should Do Now

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Stop trying to make yourself feel better. Sounds counterintuitive but allowing yourself to process the feelings makes the pain go away faster.

Reach out to friends and family who have gone through similar situations.

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Distance yourself from your ex. You need time and space to heal. 

Practice mindfulness. Learn to recognize your pain, where it’s coming from and accepting the pain. Going through the painful process helps you to heal faster. 

Focus on your spirituality. Connect with your Higher Being. Read spiritual books, pray and meditate to find purpose and meaning in this breakup and in life in general.  It will renew energy and give you hope that there are better days coming…because there are better days coming 🙂

Practice self-care-this means to focus on your mental, physical and emotional well being. It also means forgiving yourself for any setbacks you may have on the healing journey. This may mean getting a good night sleep, eating healthily, focusing on your spiritual life etc

Keep yourself busy by trying new things, meeting new people rather than trying to numb yourself with work, food, alcohol, drugs try to explore your

Talk to a trained counsellor whom you feel you can be truly open with. Sometimes the pain is real and deep and it may affect other aspects of your life…work, relationships with your family. If you start to isolate yourself thinking that others don’t understand your pain. It’s time to talk to a trained professional to help you process your emotions. All pain is real, even breakups…do all you can to heal and process your emotions. 
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