karvala Posted February 2, 2007 Share Posted February 2, 2007 This is about helping you to get past the pain of breakup, and start to heal. It is founded on no contact, but goes beyond it: it is Enchanced No Contact. --------------------------- THE THEORY First, what's it all about? Well, we know that no contact is advocated widely as a valuable tool for healing after a breakup. It's not a panacea, and is not for absolutely everyone regardless of circumstances, but it does work effectively for most people, and reduces pain at a time when it's desperately needed. Sometimes, though, no contact needs a bit of a boost. We need help to maintain it, and we need it to work more effectively for us. This is what ENC is all about. Thoughts and feelings Asked how she was able to cry at will on screen, a famous actress once said "It's easy, I simply think of something sad, I feel sad and then I cry." And here is the point: if you *think* about something sad, you will *feel* sad. And if you *don't think* about something sad, you *won't feel* sad. It really is that simple. What are the sad thoughts? You need to know what not to think about. Most people in the situation will say thinking about their ex makes them sad, but we need to be more specific. Why is this? What do we think? The five forms of LOSS (1) Lost lifestyle: we think about the good times we had, and compare them to our lives now, and feel that we've lost something in the things we do in our daily lives. (2) Lost support: we think about how nice it was to have someone to talk to, to confide in, and think that we no longer have this. (3) Lost opportunity: we think that our ex was special, was "the one", and that we have now lost this unique opportunity forever. (4) Lost future: we think about all the good times that we were going to have with our ex, that we can no longer have because we're no longer with them. (5) Lost love: we think about how good it was to have someone tell us how great we were, how our existence means a lot to them, how they loved various things about us. What is the difficulty with maintaing no contact? Actually, there are two. One is simple: we're addicted to our loved ones, and we don't want to withdraw from them completely. The other is more subtle: we're afraid that by withdrawing contact, we're pushing them away further, or missing an opportunity to get back together with them. The two-pronged attack of ENC. The aim of no contact is simple: go cold turkey, break the addiction and stop the bad thoughts. The less contact we have with someone, the less we will think about them, the fewer bad thoughts we will have, and the fewer bad feelings we will have. But no contact is a blunt instrument for this. Many of us have implemented no contact, but still battled with thoughts about our ex that go round and round our heads all day. We don't just want no physical contact with the ex. We want no mental contact with them. That is the ultimate aim of ENC. --------------------------- THE PRACTICE There are a number of practical things you can do to improve your no contact experience. Some are the usual no contact distraction techniques. Some are mental exercises. Some are specifically targeted to combat the five forms of loss outlined above. Some of these you may find easy, some you may find difficult, depending on your particular circumstances and personality. Don't fret; it's not a test and nobody is going to mark you on it. At the end of the day, it's for your benefit. But don't shy away from trying one because it seems too difficult. Put great effort into the attempt. You will be stronger for it, and not only your ex, but the whole world, will love you more that. Initial activities. These are to be done as soon as possible after the breakup, as prerequisities for starting ENC. In a nutshell, there is no point in doing no contact of any form unless you believe in it. These are to help you do so. (1) Write a list of all the things the ex said/did during the last part of the relationship/breakup that led to clearly understand that s/he no longer wanted to be with you. This will be inevitably painful, but you must convince yourself that s/he really no longer wants to be with you. If you find yourself doubting this fact later on, come back and re-read the list. (2) Write a list of all things that you don't like about your ex. After completing the initial list, try to add one daily. If you find yourself thinking that your ex is the one (loss of opportunity), read the list. Think of the millions of people in the world, and don't stop until you've convinced yourself that there must be many people out there who don't have these bad qualities. You don't have to convince yourself that you're going to meet them at this stage, simply that they exist. (3) Think of a time that you were feeling down or in difficulty, and your ex did not help you. Might be a time near the breakup, or an earlier time. Write it down. Finish it with the words "[ex's name] did not support me. I deserved support." (4) Think of something that you would like to do in the future, but would have been unable to do, or at least it would have been much more difficult, because you were with the ex. Could be going to college (meaning moving away from the ex), living somewhere else, having a lifestyle that the ex would not have wanted to participate in, etc.. Write it down, and finish it with the words, "and this is why my future will be better without him/her". Think of the wonderful time you can have in this future now, and keep thinking about it until you are at least partly convinced by this. Read this again, every time you think that you lost your dream future when you split up with your ex. (5) Now I will ask you to something difficult. Focus on the fact that if things were the other way around (you had dumped him/her), and you'd changed your mind, you would go to great lengths to contact him/her and say so. You would keep doing so for quite a while. Fix this in your mind. Now tell yourself that taking one month out will *not* stop your ex from trying, not cause them to give, or drive them away, if they really care about you. You know this is true, so completely convince yourself of it. And now pledge that will take a one-month holiday from them. Total holiday. They will not exist for one month, even in your mind as far as you can manage it. After one month you can re-evaluate the situation. ----------- Once initial activities are done, we move to daily activities/strategies (1) Insofar as possible, remove all traces of your temporarily non-existent ex from your life. Remove their speeddial from your mobile phone, delete their e-mails, pictures etc.. If you can't bring yourself to delete them, put them on a CD, and hide it in a cupboard somewhere, so that it requires a major effort to view them. (2) Allocate time each hour to think about your ex. Initially, you may be allowed to think of them for 45 minutes each hour. After two days, try to cut it down to 40 minutes, then 30 minutes two days later etc., until it is no more than 5 minutes. If you can manage it, make it zero eventually. Outside of these times, when a thought about your ex pops into your head, say (out loud if no one else is around!), "I can't think about you now, I'll think about you next hour.", then try to remember what you were doing before the thought came, and return to it. (3) If you find that you're crying each day, or wanting to (and this is perfectly normal!), try to allocate a specific time, once per day, to grieve about the relationship. During this time, you can unleash as much emotion about it as you wish, cry as hard as you feel like crying. And then realise, when you're done, that you're still here, and go and do something especially enjoyable. (4) Do enjoyable things that you could not do with your ex, such as watching that DVD that s/he hated, eating in front of the TV with a friend, going out with people your ex didn't like etc.. (5) Think of ways in which you can improve yourself and your life that you believe will be appealing to other people. It doesn't matter if they are actually appealing to other people, as long as you genuinely believe they will be. Try very hard to implement some of them. It won't be easy, self-improvment is tough at the best of times, and you won't have many emotional resources available right now, but if you can even do one each day, you've achieved a great thing. Remind yourself about these great achievements each day. (6) If you find some times of day particularly bad for thoughts of your ex, try to schedule mentally-demanding but pleasurable activities then, such as playing the piano, playing a game, conversing with a friend about something other than your ex etc.. (7) Spend as much time as reasonably possible around other people. How much time obviously depends on your lifestyle, personality, circumstances etc.., but however it much it usually is, increase it. All the time you're actively with someone else, you're less likely to have time to think for long periods about your ex, and the more you have to concentrate on normal functioning. (8 ) Don't go to bed until you are so tired you are sure to fall asleep very quickly. The night time is a vulnerable time for those bad thoughts. (9) Get something especially nice for each morning (luxury shower gel; expensive coffee etc/.), or even better, schedule breakfast with a friend if you can, so you don't get hit by those morning blues, and have your mind start to wander. (10) Keep a thought/feeling diary, to be filled in once a day only (no sneaky filling in all day as a way to bypass restrictions on allocated thought times!). If you feel you're not making progress towards the end of the month, read the diary. See how bad you were at the beginning, see how much better you're doing now. After one month, read your thought/feeling diary. Is it working? Are you any better at all? If so, then you know what to do to feel even better: give it another month! Your ex will still wait for you if they're serious about getting back together. If they're not, then you're escaping from a whole heap of pain. If you're not feeling any better, which I will be amazed by if you've really been following the suggestions, ask yourself why not. How much have you really been thinking about your ex? How closely have you pursued the strategies? Give it some serious thought, and consider trying again. Finally, always remember the central message about enhanced no contact DON'T JUST STOP SEEING THEM. STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM! And the best of luck to you. Link to comment
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