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long: NC, my breakup, my journey and what I've learned & found useful (still learning too)

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NC , my breakup, my journey and what I've learned & found useful (still learning too)


First off just wish to make clear that I'm still healing too.


Yes I still go back and forth emotionally just like most people on here but just don't experience as many extremes as in the beginning....also the time away has allowed me to see more clearly the issues and themes that WERE and WERE NOT working, too...popular filters like wishful thinking and denial have been stripped away ...that's the truly liberating gig with NC and opening up to learn to face our pain confront our demons and try to overcome our fears: I have found that it has taught me many useful lessons when I am open...there is ALWAYS something valuable to be learned but we have to be optimistic or find a way to get there ....in my dark moments I kept asking ''what can I learn from this?''...sometimes it came soon...sometimes later.


..and yes I'm still slowly learning to let go of a dream of 'tomorrow with my ex'...will she return? Maybe or maybe not (doubtful at this stage given what she has said to be honest)....but even if she did return then in what form would it be, ie, as a lover? (again doubtful) or perhaps as a friend? (who knows what can happen with time and more perspective)....right now however I'm just trying to remain open, let go and focus, as difficult as it is at times, on ME.


For all those down the road a bit further, please also share your ideas.

happy healing!



Just remember to focus ON YOU right now: NC is IMO fundamentally about getting back YOUR self esteem, YOUR power back, YOUR mojo back--NOT your ex back ...sure in the beginning many of us here will try to ''get the ex back'' as a way to validate that we're ''lovable'' and '''OK'' or so we won't ''be alone forever'' (etc)...but after a while if there is no reconcilation (and this will be the sad reality for the majority of us) you'll realize that NC can be both a difficult yet valuable process to emerge a stronger more adaptable & more self aware person.


In the beginning you'll probably find that your emotions and thoughts will often hijack you at the worst of times ...but take stock as they are not to be fully ''trusted'' as representing what is real (despite your pain) e.g., either you're up (''geez I'm healing really well & feeling great today") or down (''life sucks!...I hate the b...ch/bast...d!''...I'll ALWAYS be alone!"...no other person will EVER replace what I had with my EX!'')...such emotional extremes aren't real of course as you're still in shock and denial...then later will come more depression and anger.


In the beginning there is a lot of repetitious emotional volatility ie on some days you'll feel angry...then some days sad..yet on still other days you'll feel OK...heck even like you're almost over them ...what is most frustrating

is that this cycle repeats itself a number of times ...rest assured however over time these volatile periods of repetition will diminish in both duration and intensity--thank god!...and yeah I still experience this cycle though the periods between good and bad days gets wider and not so long lasting or intense.


When we're ''feeling'' such feelings and thinking such thoughts however they DO at the time seem SO permanent and real: ...I'm not saying deny your pain (cry , journal..do whatever) still feel it all and let it come up and be released; and yet try to step back and observe them more so you don't get so caught up in such emotional hostage taking (mindfulness, therapy kavetching to friends journalling CBT and meditation are all useful for this...at least they all have been for me.)...some of these techniques are easier to implement LATER in your recovery....but why not try some out earlier rather than later anyway?


What also helped with my recovery was to try to reassure myself during these mood swings that ''this too will pass ...this too will pass ...this too will pass''...because it WILL pass.


Most especially I suggest that these intense wellsprings of being angry/raging and/or despairing are NOT to be not acted upon...... I recall being SO close to sending THE most hurtful emails to my ex during my rage period ... And in hindsight I am so glad that I didn't and had good friends (and a journal and a therapist) who just shook their heads rolled their eyes and provided me much needed clarity on just how 'out of it I was . (''Dare to forgive'' book also helped with useful exercises as did praying & meditation as mentioned). I would have lost some of my dignity (in my early years I did this but maybe with my older years (am in my 40s) that I process things differently given what I've learned.


So try as best you can to be gentle with yourself in this early period (this is so important) ... just like when dealing with a physical injury you can't ''force'' your recovery right? If you're leg is broken you don't run on it or give yourself a certain time ultimatum for when it to "should" heal and if it doesn't you arent disappointed that it's not happening according to your wishes right? A broken heart just because it is not a tangible injury is no less deserving of our compassion and patience.


Being good to myself also meant being more firm too as I grew stronger and goal setting continues to be really important: being more disciplined about achieving new goals ie weight loss, health, job advancement, meeting new people etc... all this I found helpful as it required me to be more RESOLUTE too and where alot of my power will continue to come from...goal setting helps me to be more present oriented instead of looking backward so much.


Books that have helped me: 'the mindful way through depression' 'where ever you go there you are' 'the journey from abandonment to healing' 'the how of happiness' 'radical acceptance' 'a path with heart' 'dare to forgive' 'feel the fear and do it anyway' 'embracing uncertainty' (many resources here and elsewhere ...find what works with you but also use this time to challenge your thinking, your beliefs and such..use this time to really open up and be receptive to new modes of being.


To get more personal, in many ways my breakup (7 months now from a 2 yr gig) has been in many ways a painful yet necessary ''blessing" or "gift"'...it forced open my eyes many of my 'weaknesses'...ie I overdepended on my ex for my social life and happiness (I didn't broaden my own social support network as much as I may have...tis still a work in progress and a fear im working on! )...I also focused too much on either the past (holding grudges from not talking issues out or letting annoyances or arguments build) or I focused too much on the future with my ex ie "happily ever after" wishful thinking.


And sure to be fair my ex also brought her own stuff to the table, too, because it does take two to tango....in the end, however, you can only control your baggage and filters.


I didn't pay attention to some of the red flags (''we're so different'' she said in the beginning...and it doesn't matter if I think certain "differences" are to be savoured to complimenting one another: if THEY don't believe such, too, you're NOT on the same page bucko)...my communication skills were lacking (despite thinking otherwise) and I was often (as was she) passive aggressive in resolving issues ..let's face it: anger is a subject that has SO much taboo and power yet we don't have alot of good insight into how to more effectively deal with it in our relationships (but there many great and free resources on the web).


Getting in touch with and resolving past pain has also been KEY...too many people IMO are unaware of just how many filters originate from that place. "The journey from abandonment to healing'' has some great exercises that helped me too....hey I lost my parents when aged 4 so letting go takes on a whole new meaning to stay more present...it's freeing to be able to stay more in the present so I'm not so weighed down with past blinders when something emotionally hurtful occurs.


I'm trying to be more flexible too as per my "expectations" for the future ....sure in my next gig I will plan for tomorrow but this projection is still nonetheless all hypothetical-- as in the end the future is not real. And I'm not suggesting NOT to plan either ...just I am trying to keep in mind that people can change (as I can)... this said overall I'm trying to be more adaptable and flexible to lifes fluidity ....this is one of my biggest challenges since like so many here I also want to believe in ''forever" and "happily after ever''.


Yet life is all about change too ie jobs come and go as do friends at times... so why should relationships be so exempt (because we crave stability as per the 'happily ever after' dream ).


In short next time I will endeavour to focus on the length of time spent together--not so much just on the quantity.


In addition, my breakup has provided me with a better sense both of what I need/want and also whai don't need/want in a partner. Ask yourself (honestly) how many have of you have given a lot of weight to a partnership just because they gave us attention or they had sex appeal or 'image'? ..lust and loneliness are two big but deadly drawing cards; yet IMO if you don't have other essential items of compatibility in the match then its got an early expiry date (I'm guilty!!).


But do we equally also know what we have to offer them in return too?...have we taken an inventory (detailed!) to prioritize our highest needs and values? (keeping in mind that they sometimes can change as can a partner's..hence breakups can occur when people are no longer on the same page and have to move on). Tis another area I'm working on.


Finding a good fit is sort of like marketing yourself much as you would any product ie you have to know yourself your market segment as well as be creative and have a thick skin too: so ill yet to think about these things next time some pretty face offers me some attention and catches me off guard lol!...I just want as best I can to avoid going down a road with the wrong person (''intellectual foreplay'' is another good book on exploring this area).


In summary try to be patient, be gentle , and be compassionate with yourself...remember that BOTH you and your ex played a part in your dissolution...it's a two way street...don't over or underplay either what you or s/he did.


"You better get living or you better get dying!" (shawshank redemption)


Happy healing!



Last edited by canali; Today at 05:27 PM.

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Thank you, canali - very insightful post. I have been journaling, starting to meditate, and develop a line of communication to a higher power, and all have helped an immense deal. But I am still struggling after 5 long months (2 months NC).


You are so right about the break up in some ways being a blessing - it will teach us something about ourselves. It is also opening my eyes to the weaknesses of overly depending on my ex for my social life and happiness. She is, in many ways, tragically flawed and I find that I am a rescuer, a fixer, and people pleaser, which is something that needs to be addressed. We can't save people - only they can do that. Starting with ourselves... Realizing that there were issues in myself which added to the demise of the relationship is one of the major things I am trying to address at the moment.

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canali, just wanted to say that is possibly the most insightful, intelligent and helpful post i have read on these forums.


It particularly struck a chord with me because i am currently going through the same self analysis and change caused by a painfull break-up. I have abandonment and engulfment issues and a lot of fear and that has impacted on how i behave in relationships. It finally took my most recent break-up for me to realise this and after 36 years, i am finally on the road to radically overhauling my thinking and my whole way of being.


Too many people look at the relationship and their partner but ignore the deficits in themselves and go on to the next relationship without learning anything.


I will add another good book to your suggested reading;


David Richo - When Love meets fear

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Well, Canali, as always you have hit the nail on the head with another insightful post. The keys to recovery are definitely to embrace the pain and own up to our own mistakes of the breakup. We must always stay patient and be mindful to take care of ourselves, and no longer worry about anyone else. It's a difficult road to face, especially when you feel so alone, but it really can be a "blessing" if you have the right approach and attitude.


I am over a month into the breakup and approaching 30 days NC. In the last week I've felt the slightest bit of change, I am laughing more (as compared to not at all before) and less moody (as compared to an emotional wreck before). I still have really down times and I do still think of her a lot, but I also am more and more aware that I have no alternatives but to continue moving forward with my life.


Good luck to everyone who is facing this uphill battle. Just remember that we each owe it to ourselves to go through this pain, and recovery, so as to be a stronger, happier and more complete person for the future.

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For me the biggest thing that's helped my healing is NC, but doing it for the RIGHT reasons (myself) rather than hoping it would make my ex want me back or something.


Also, I 'forced' myself to think of this as an important lesson in life and an opportunity to grow and change into a better person. I basically told myself I had no choice but to accept it and when I truly accepted it in my heart, it made my healing go so much faster. My ex and I have had breakups in the past where I'd cry and beg and do the whole "I can't live without him" routine, and this time around I just refused to let myself go there.


After 22 days of NC and just under a month since the breakup, I'd say I'm doing so much better than I ever imagined I would. Even my friends are impressed because they know how much I loved my ex and they always thought of us as the 'golden couple'. So even if my dreams for the future have been shattered, this is just an opportunity to piece a new dream back together from the broken shards of the previous one. Both exciting and scary - but it makes me feel so much more alive.

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What are engulfment issues?! I suffer from a feeling of losing myself in a relationship, is this engulfment?


engulfment is generally when you are emotionally unavailable.......you fear people getting too close, so you keep distance between you and your partner. when you suffer engulfment, it can almost feel like you are suffocated when someone gets too close in a relationship......it feels like a physical constriction and ultimately as you say, the fear of losing yourself.


those who suffer abandonment can also feel like they are losing themselves. people with abandonment typically don't have boundaries so they give themselves up in a relationship very quickly. This means you always give and keep giving, while expecting little in return.


Many people have one or another, but quite commonly, people have both abandonment and engulfment fears

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