Many relationship don't last a lifetime -- and for many different reasons. They may end due to different interests, distance or even betrayal. While the severing of a relationship can result in indifference or relief, it is also an experience often riddled with emotional pain and anger. Mourning the loss of a relationship is a process similar to grieving the death of a loved one, states clinical psychologist Jennifer Kromberg in an article for "Psychology Today" titled "The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship." Fortunately, there are measures you can take to minimize pain and disappointment as you grieve the loss of your relationship.
Embrace Your Emotions
Whether you are grieving the loss of a relationship with an intimate partner, a close friend, parent or other family member, some sort of emotion will result from the event. Remember that your feelings are valid. You may also feel disconnected from the world around you, according to clinical psychologist Suzanne Lachmann in an article for "Psychology Today" titled "How to Mourn a Breakup to Move Past Grief and Withdrawal." She explains that "Even the most familiar things -- scenery near where you live, the voices of people you know -- seem alien and far away." However, by owning these emotions instead of denying them, you can begin to recover from the loss of your relationship.
Process Your Feelings
Ending a relationship can trigger a wide variety of feelings in addition to disappointment, including anger, loneliness and sorrow, according to psychiatrist Abigail Brenner in an article for "Psychology Today" titled "Transition Through Loss: What You Need to Know when a Significant Relationship Ends." Acknowledging these emotions may be overwhelming and exhausting. However, it is healthy to acknowledge your emotions so that you can heal. Instead of resorting to dangerous means of coping with the emotional pain, such as through drug or alcohol use, opt for productive activities. Work through your feelings by talking to a friend or a counselor or by writing them down. You can also create artwork as an expression of what you are feeling.
Brenner reports that even the most amicable separations can result in personal dilemmas relating to identity and self-esteem. Take preventative measures by maintaining a network of people you love and trust. Reach out to them and spend time with them. If you find that you are incessantly tempted to stay in and avoid socializing with your friends and family, or perhaps feel little to no joy in the time you are in their company, you may need to work through your grief with a counselor or therapist. Also consider attending a peer support group of others dealing with similar issues.
Lachmann likens some relationships to chemical addictions. Just as when an addict in recovery is tempted to use drugs or alcohol again, it can be incredibly tempting to contact your former relationship partner in an attempt to reconcile. She goes on to report that an overwhelming sense of weakness and failure can result from such an urge. Additionally, she encourages people to forgive themselves for any perceived faults because such feelings are not productive and contribute to an overall feeling of misery. This is why taking good care of yourself is always advisable, particularly during times of emotional turmoil. Get an adequate amount of rest, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Do things that you enjoy, and allow yourself to take breaks when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Psychology Today: The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship: Jennifer Kromberg, PsyD
- Psychology Today: Transition Through Loss: What You Need to Know when a Significant Relationship Ends: Abigail Brenner, M.D.
- Psychology Today: How to Mourn a Breakup to Move Past Grief and Withdrawal: Suzanne Lachmann, Psy.D.
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