Handling a romantic break-up is never easy. Because love is addictive, a heartbreak causes people to go through a powerful withdrawal, Guy Winch, a psychologist, said in his book “How to Fix a Broken Heart.”
Winch, in a TED Talk, cited studies that found, based on functional MRI brain scans, that the withdrawal of a romantic love activates the same mechanisms in the brain that are activated when drug addicts go through withdrawal from substances such as opioids or cocaine. It explains the obsession with former partners, The Independent reported.
Moving on with someone else
The obsession reaches the point where the heartbroken person craves for the ex-partner as if deprived of a drug. Winch added that this is why it can be so hard for the person who went through a breakup to move on with someone else because of the inclination to idealize the former partner to the nth degree.
Winch pointed out that it consequently distorts our memory of them when we convince ourselves that our romanticized vision of them is an accurate one. But most of the time, it is not. He said that to move on, people who broke up should make sure that any thoughts about an ex are realistic and balanced.
He cited as an example how the mind conjures images of the former partner and the happiest weekend together. To balance it out, mages from another weekend when the ex-partner drove you crazy and upset you tremendously should be added.
For those who would remember only the former partner’s sweet embrace, Winch reminded them to also recall the nights of rejection of advances and having to sleep on the edge of the bed.
Which is the harder one?
A common observation of people who went through a heartbreak is that it seems so much harder to be broken up with than to break up with someone. Winch explained that to the person who was dumped, the breakup might seem so sudden. But the former partner, in reality, likely has been emotionally disengaged in the relationship for a long time.
On the other hand, the person who was dumped just found out and is likely in the most initial stages of loss and grief. However, Winch said the ex, in reality, only acted lovingly because of the lack of a decision yet to pull the plug on the relationship.
To begin the journey to recovery, Winch recommended not to check on an ex on social media, avoid creating mysteries behind the breakup, list all compromises made during the relationship, do the things that you used to enjoy, remove reminders of the relationship, and reach out to friends.
Meanwhile, Business Insider pointed out that it is often harder to leave abusive relationships because of trauma bonding. The abuser, especially if he or she is a narcissist, will make the ex-partner feel like he/she cannot live without them.
David Brudo, the CEO and co-founder of Remente, a mental well-being and personal development app, noted that while in a toxic relationship, people likely forget to take care of themselves. Among the tips he shared on the different ways to practice self-love after the end of a bad relationship is to learn to let go, have some “me” time, take control, minimize one’s bad habits, make your health a priority, communicate with others, try to practice mindfulness, focus on the positives, and be patient.
Underrated traumatic events
Psychology Today stressed that romantic breakups are among the most common but underrated traumatic events in the lives of people. But because of the frequency of break-ups, people can minimize the toll of the deep hurt and damage.
Human behavior experts pointed out that because romantic relationships frequently bring out intense emotions that can often override explanation or logic, it is often tied to deep-seated feelings about a person’s self-worthiness from children, parental, and peer relationships, and more.
An emotional reckoning takes place whenever a relationship ends, even if the former couple broke up on relatively good terms. Nevertheless, this was the end of something that was hoped to be continuous because it was based on mutual admiration.
A feeling of rejection often follows a breakup, and it can often be tough on the ego of everyone. But an unexpected or sudden breakup can make the feeling of rejection even more traumatic or intense. It ruptures one’s self-esteem, ends plans and hopes, and reminds one of a past sense of rejection or failure that can all be devastating.
Among the strategies that Psychology Today had listed as ways to help recover faster from a break-up are to take some time off and let it out, listen to sad music, talk to supportive people, read books about breakups – such as Greg Behrendt’s “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken,” and sleep, eat, and exercise. It would also help to treat yourself right, meet new people, and set firm boundaries.
[researchpaper 리서치페이퍼= Vittorio Hernandez 기자]