June 22, 2008
Five Survival Tips for Surviving the Big D
In this article:
• Explore getting dumped
• Assess the normal feelings associated with a breakup
• Review five survival tips for the "Big D"
Here are four words that nobody wants to hear from coming from a mate: "I want to breakup." If you have ever been told this, then you know how it feels to be unceremoniously dumped – or in other words given the "Big D". To be sure, the immediate aftermath of a relational collapse can be a painful concoction of sadness and anger – washed down with a dose of numbness. The truth is, getting dumped just plain sucks!
TIP ONE: GET SUPPORT
One of the best things that you can do after being dumped is to gain as much support as possible. Support can come from anyone who will be in your corner and make you feel empowered when you feel powerless. The idea here is to surround yourself with folks who care about you. This step however does not mean that in your attempts to gain support, you contact your X's friends and engage in a personal trashing campaign. With that stated, sharing your feelings with people who care about you can provide comfort during a difficult time. Speaking of comfort...
TIP TWO: ENGAGE IN SELF-CARE
Another helpful tip when the "Big D" pulls into your driveway is to engage in self-care. This may mean taking a warm bath or watching a funny movie. The idea here is to engage in activities that provide comfort and if possible, even a little humor. Keep in mind that self-care and self-indulgence are two different things. For example, helping yourself to an entire chocolate cake to get through the night feel good at the time – but how will you feel the next day? This of course is an extreme example but you get the drift. Remember, comfort and humor are the goals.
TIP THREE: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE ANGRY
Being angry with the person who broke up with you is a normal reaction. Trying to magically "will away" this emotion may be counterproductive. Do yourself a favor and be OK with feeling mad. Conventional wisdom suggests that anger is a negative emotion – the truth is however that we need to work through our anger with another in order to get to a place called healing. One way to direct your anger in a healthy manner and use it to your advantage is to engage in a physical activity, such as weight lifting or cardio. Physical activities provide a useful and safe outlet for what can be simmering rage. Trying this step might also save your drywall.
TIP FOUR: FOCUS ON WHAT YOU HAVE GAINED
The first place we tend to go to when we experience a breakup is loss – a natural place to end up given that something we held dear is no more. However, a small change in our mindset can help to work through feelings of loss. This can be accomplished by exploring what has been gained. For example, now that you have your Saturday nights free again, you might be able to hang out with friends who you used to pal around before the relationship got serious. Want another gain? If you were the one paying for most of the dates, you may be better off without the person in the long run!
TIP FIVE: REMEMBER THAT WHAT YOU ARE FEELING IS NOT FOREVER
The pain that you may be feeling after the big D happens can be intense – enough to make you want to curl up like into a ball and imagine yourself bouncing off the planet. Keep in mind however that what you are feeling today is not forever and that in time – this too will pass. Sometimes just knowing that the intensity of feelings will change can have a dramatic effect on coping. If it helps to tell journal this as you work through your feelings – go for it.
Feeling sad, angry, and numb are normal reactions when the Big D comes to town. You will likely experience a range of emotions as you ride a not so fun roller coaster called Ugly through an unmagical place called "This sucks Mountain". The five tips mentioned above however can help provide a less difficult ride and allow you to work through a very challenging time.