Healing for the Broken Hearted

By on March 1, 2015
healing for the broken hearted

“I just need some time to figure out my life,” he told me after I showed up unannounced at his house. When he previously texted twice that he was “lonely,” I thought for sure that we would talk it over, and things would be fine. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Or more devastatingly traumatized.

We had been seeing each other for almost eight years, after a break from college, and after marrying the wrong people. Our beautiful, joyful, loving, passionate reunion began with a simple note to me, in which he signed, “Always.’’ He had me. I readily agreed to meet him for lunch in a quiet park, where we shared our stories of failed marriages, wonderful children, and our professions. From that unforgettable summer day on, we were each other’s best friends. We were open and communicated our feelings, wants, needs, dreams, and goals. We saw each other as much as possible. Every day and evening that we shared was magical, comfortable, and fun. We were still in love, and nothing would separate us again. We went on trips, exploring the woods, the water, parks, restaurants, towns, and cities. We sent each other cute love cards and notes. We shared our secrets, and called each other, and texted special messages numerous times throughout the work days and nights.

But then, without notice, he started sending shorter texts. He stopped calling. He was vague when I called him, and he wouldn’t respond to my emails. I wanted to see him, to hold him, to tell him I loved him and that it’s ok, I would always be there for him, and we would plan our life to live together, forever. We would be happy and in love and enjoy each other “Always.” When he stopped responding, I went to see him.

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He wouldn’t tell me the truth that day, or any day leading up to it. But then he slipped and said again, “I just need to figure out my life. I need to think about what I want, and who – ” Boom! I instantly felt sickened and stunned. The image of his backpack, containing a change of clothes, flashed to my mind, as I had seen it in his car upon entering his house. I knew. “Please tell me you are not seeing someone else,” I begged. He glanced at me, without a care, said nothing, and looked at the floor. Silence. There was no sign of remorse. No apology. Nothing. He was calm, certain, almost proud of himself.

My man, the love of my life, my soul mate, my one and only, my heart, my high school sweetheart, my best friend, my lover, my world, standing there, waiting for me to leave his house, leave his life. As he so quickly, easily, and callously ripped out my heart, I suddenly couldn’t breathe, couldn’t hear, and couldn’t stand. “I think I’m going to faint,” I whispered, as my knees buckled down to the floor. As a nurse, I knew this reaction was vasovagal syncope, or fainting, from horrific news. My lungs weren’t working, my ears were buzzing, my heart was racing, and my mind was saying no, no, please, no. Still, he stood with no reaction. I was ashamed. Somehow, I must have failed him, and here he was looking at me with disgust. I was embarrassed. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stand it. He had chosen someone else, he was sleeping with her, and I never even knew. I needed air. I needed him. I loved him. Always.

Almost unfathomably, when I left his house that day, I saw his new girlfriend arriving. He stood tall in the doorway, smiling at her.

I might not ever fully recover from the emotional trauma and the overwhelming anguish from his actions, but I have used coping techniques that continue to help me every day. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Acknowledge your pain to yourself. By doing so, it will actually aid in your survival. If you suppress your pain, you could be more likely to turn to alcohol abuse and addiction.
  • Cry. Emotional tears from grief remove toxins that build up due to stress, and move you toward healing.
  • Don’t panic if you have a sudden aversion to food. It’s a chemical reaction because your mind and body are connected. When your heart is in pain, your body is, too. Try small amounts of yogurt and fruits and vegetables. Drink extra water.
  • Don’t have contact with him. Even if you have the strongest urge every moment to talk to him, to beg him to change his mind, to tell him how much he hurt you, and most of all, to ask why, do not contact him. You will have periods of intense feelings to contact him, because as scientific studies reveal, an unexpected and unwanted breakup acts the same on the brain as an addiction. When he abruptly cut you out of his life, you will experience withdrawal, which can be severely distressing. Resist your mind telling you to seek him, because it is the voice of pain, and it will only make you feel worse.
  • Change your email address, and delete him from all of your social media accounts. Don’t stalk him, or his new girlfriend. Do not seek revenge, even if you are angry. Take the high road, and rise above his betrayal and mentality level.
  • Change the radio. A lot. When a song comes on that seems to have the words of your betrayed life, then turn it off. Listen to something happy, something wild, and something different.
  • Change the TV. A lot. Do not allow yourself to watch the tender and affectionate ads, or the romantic movie trailers.
  • Say a phrase or sing a quick song, such as “Let It Go,” when the grief escalates.
  • Smile. Even when you think you can’t, just hold a smile. It can help your immune system, relieve stress, and is even a natural drug – with pain killers, serotonin, and endorphins.  
  • Drive extra safely. Being blindsided from a breakup is similar to physical pain. Your mind cannot focus and it’s easy to become distracted. Make an extra effort to slow down and focus when you’re behind the wheel.
  • Every time you want to call or send him a text, communicate with someone else instead. Think about how much of your time you gave during this relationship. Who were you leaving out all along? Call or text a sibling, a friend, or a neighbor. Catch up with other people in your life.
  • Exercise. Walk. Get your groove back. Go to a gym. Hike the stairs for your break during the day. Punch pillows. Really, that feels great. Line up your couch pillows and box away your negative emotions. Swear, if you’d like. Remember all the annoying traits he had, such as clamping his teeth when he ate, or his foul smelling pillows. When we feel rejected, our bodies slow down, both psychologically and physically. Our heart rates plummet, which is why being rejected is truly heartbreaking.
  • Avoid going to places with special meaning. Think of this time as an opportunity to explore new environments.
  • Be nice to yourself. Love yourself. Turn to yourself for reassurance. Remind yourself of your good qualities.
  • Count your spare change, and treat yourself to a massage, manicure, or a lunch out with friends.
  • Buy some herbal tea to help you sleep. Practice deep breathing. Breathe in slow, deep breaths, making your lower abdominal area rise. Then let them slowly back out. Deep breathing releases fear, stress, and anger.
  • Be nice to people. Heartbreaks can cause you to become easily frustrated with life in general. You may find yourself being impatient, even with strangers, such as a cashier or a server. But make a point to think about others. There is always someone worse off.
  • Know that others who have been betrayed and blindsided are also feeling shock, devastation, agony, and grief. But you can get over it, and even better, get over him. There will be a time when you will be able to move on, to find someone new, someone better. Someone who will be kind to you, someone who will genuinely love you, and someone who will not break your heart. Don’t give up!

By Lois Davis−

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Healing for the Broken Hearted