No one gets a free pass when it comes to healing from heartbreak. I’m not just referring to the grown up kind when we breakup with a lover, I’m referring to the heartbreak we experience as the natural result of just being a human being.
It begins in childhood; young people suffer a great deal of heartbreak. I remember when I was in 2nd grade and my best friend Mary chose to take another friend on her family vacation instead of me. I was devastated; how could she betray me after all the secrets we shared? Heartbreak is not only about romance; it’s anytime we feel hurt or wounded by someone’s treatment of us.
As children our parents usually cause most of the heartbreak that stays with us. The dictionary defines heartbreak as “overwhelming distress.” If your parents were less than perfect (and whose weren’t), you have emotional wounds caused by things they said or did to you as a child. Those wounds don’t just disappear with time; they can feel as real to you in the present as they did then.
So if the pain of a romantic breakup immobilizes you to the extent that you’re unable to regain your balance in a reasonable amount of time, you can bet that your childhood wounds are playing a big part.
I experienced this kind of inconsolable heartbreak in my late 30’s. My boyfriend broke up with me so suddenly that I was completely blindsided. He then moved on to a new relationship that same week and acted as if I’d never meant anything to him at all.
It felt as though I’d been erased from his mind, as if nothing that had happened between us meant anything to him. This made me feel like I was nothing. I was being triggered by old wounds from childhood, but I didn’t know that at the time.
Our breakup had re-ignited my old belief that I wasn’t important to the people that mattered the most to me, my parents. It was reminiscent of the many times I felt invisible to them; the many times they put their interests before mine.
I sought out spiritual guidance and read a ton of books to try to pull myself out of the misery I was feeling. Nothing seemed to help. I didn’t understand that I was not only crushed by the experience of this breakup but I was also suffering from an old wound.
For 3 years I believed that if he came back to me, or at least admitted I meant something to him, it would stop my suffering. I assumed he alone was the cause of my terrible feeling of unworthiness. But my healing from heartbreak was not going to come about in the way I thought.
Healing from heartbreak made me ask for help
With the help of a very wise and patient counselor, I was introduced to the childhood wounds I hadn’t known were there. It was then I came to realize that my healing from heartbreak would happen without him. I was finally on my way to feeling whole again.
If you want to stop excessive suffering over breakups and rejections, you have to take on the responsibility of healing your emotional wounds.
I talk to women all the time who put the blame of their broken hearts completely on the men who left them, just as I did. The devastation they’re feeling has as much to do with their wounds as with the men who hurt them.
It took me 3 years to figure out how heal. When I finally attended to my old wounds I was able to regain my belief in myself and get my confidence back.
Healing from heartbreak means taking responsibility for how you’re feeling even after a breakup. The cure for your pain lies within you. It’s an inside job and, once tackled, heartbreak will never be as painful again.