I work with a lot of clients going through major life change, often divorce. I was recently asked in an interview how long it takes to get over that kind of a break up. The traditional psycho-answer is one month for every one year of the relationship. However, I don’t think the standard formula works in a standard way in very many cases. Upon reflection, I realize there are typically two kinds of recovery, the fast recovery, and the recovery that drags on forever, or even worse never really takes hold at all.
So, how do some people sail through it when others struggle for months or even years? I think the answer to that question is quite simple - however counter-intuitive to most traditional therapeutic approaches. The people who recovered quickly were able to take the full weight of their sadness, marshal that up into a firm commitment to one thing - to feel better, no matter what.
Typically when I am working with someone in the throws of break up hell, obviously they are in a lot of pain. That pain is always emotional, however, it is also consistently physical as well. The stress of a deteriorating relationship can quickly take it’s toll on a body. So, by the time a break up has happened, they are exhausted, probably dealing with some sort of chronic pain, and experiencing a myriad of injuries that they’ve come to accept as normal. They are emotionally, physically, and spiritually wiped out, if not completely devastated.
Traditional therapy would say to these poor souls, feel your pain, work through your issues, figure it out. That said, the reality is all they feel is pain, but they are too tired and worn out to work through their issues and figure it out. So, they get stuck and recovery is painfully slow. The literally don’t have the energy it takes to get traction. Most all of us have been there - depleted.
It’s no secret that we are all more effective solving problems when we are in our best feeling places. Obviously that goes for “dealing with our personal issues” also. So, the people who are very successful at recovering from their breakups without a doubt are the ones who commit to moving toward their best feeling places with the steam of a freight engine fueled by a desire to find relief. This is not to say I advocate just sweeping your lessons under the rug, out of sight out of mind. I am saying, I strongly recommend taking them out in the light of day when you have the strength to be most effective learning the lessons to be learned - in the vortex, so to speak.
I have a client that comes to mind. She has been a rock star of recovery. When I look at the “process” she’s devoted to, it involves a lot of massage, Reiki, and pouring herself into her art. She has rested, played, and reconnected with friends and family with a white hot passion. In six months she has gone from an abusive marriage where she hadn’t even considered a separation to a fabulous single woman full of excitement and optimism for her future. She has processed the loss of her marriage, owned her responsibility, and let go of any anger and resentment with relative ease. Her business is doing well, her finances look good, and her newly developing social life is coming along nicely. Some might say she hasn’t taken enough time. I say, rock on girlfriend!