No matter what side of the split you are on, break ups invoke the kind of pain upon us that feels helpless and never-ending. You cry, vent and wonder if your heart will ever heal again. And while I am in support of the natural grieving process, I believe writing deserves its own place in the cycle. Follow these 3 writing tasks to understand, process and ultimately heal your post breakup heart.
Task # 1
Listen to your gut – take a blank piece of paper and write down every instance when your gut tapped you on the shoulder and whispered, “I’m not sure about this one.” Remember the last family party when your significant other bailed at the last minute? Write it down. Recall the moment Aunt Hilda referred to your ex as your future hubby and you broke out in a nervous sweat – relive that moment on paper. We tend to rationalize our doubts in the midst of our relationships so now is the time to unwrap the fancy excuses and uncover the truth.
Task # 2
Process your wants versus your needs because there is a definite difference. I need a partner who is consistent and reliable yet my last fling plummeted as even the act of committing to concrete weekend plans raised his anxiety. I attempted to accommodate my need to fit his (by pretending to be breezy and spontaneous) – we were doomed from the start. List your needs and note which essentials Mr. Ex left unfulfilled.
Task # 3
Write a letter – anger is a symptom of breakups and that anger will transform into anxiety if not properly processed. Instead of leaving frantic messages on your ex’s voicemail or even worse, his very public Facebook wall – put down your smart phone and write a letter. Tell Mr. Reckless With Your Heart everything. Don’t hold back. Feel free to curse, rant and ridicule him for every injustice he bestowed upon you. Then store away this product of your rage for when you need reminding of the shortcomings of your relationship.
- Note – I specified a letter instead of an email because even the most well intentioned of us can succumb to the easily accessible send button. And I can tell you, from unfortunate experience, that having a crazy mad email ignored only fuels more anger.
Breakups are inevitably difficult, draining and a test of our strength and confidence. Take the time you need to understand what went wrong and what you need in your next relationship. Your future soul mate will reap the benefits and your current pain will exist only in your memory.