Friday, May 7, 2010

Relationship Recovery Step 2: Let Yourself Heal

Someone heard me say this once and responded, "of course you have to do that, Captain Obvious."

It's the easiest thing to overlook. In this world, we don't give ourselves time to heal. Any relationship that ends -- dysfunctional or non, romantic or friendship, has an impact on you when it ends.

Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann moved to Hawaii after Jerry Garcia died and the band disbanded. He lived there for a number of years, and Hawaii remains his residence. Bill said that immediately after the band officially disbanded, he went there to heal.


Thirty years of his life -- 30 years -- was spent as the drummer of The Grateful Dead. He and Jerry were the founding members of the band. Whether they were close or not, they had a longlasting relationship. The band was often called The Family, especially in the early days. They lived together for many years and traveled together as well.

Relationships -- romantic, friendship, working, family -- are the most important element of human interaction. When we lose them, we lose a part of ourselves. We must heal from losing this part, then make ourselves whole again.

If we do not heal, we cannot be whole.

Part of this healing, of course, is Feeling the Pain, which was the first step in this process. After we have felt the pain and are feeling the pain, we have to allow ourselves the time to heal ourselves.

Like I have mentioned, drinking or abusing drugs, digging into work, jumping into another relationship, over exercising and a number of other excesses do not allow you to heal -- they allow you time to distance yourself from the pain.

The problem that when you come back, the pain is still there.

Ways to Heal from a Dissolved Relationship

Share your feelings with a friend or a professional -- It's important to express your feelings instead of stuffing them back inside of you. If you let them out, it's like toothpaste coming out of a tube. It can't go back in and keep doing damage to your psyche.

Think about how many things you've stuffed back inside and haven't dealt with in your life. It's human, but it's not good.

Back to sharing the feelings. By sharing your feelings, they become real and they lose their impact on you. You allow yourself to have the feelings, hence letting yourself heal.

This can be particularly difficult in a dysfunctional relationship, and even worth in a broken borderline relationship. You know elements of the relationship were wrong and broken, and you probably hid it, and now you have to admit these wrongs and that you knew they were wrong. What's worse, you don't have closure, so you probably don't want to expose all the dysfunction in hopes of the relationship re-kindling.

Letting it all out, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, is part of the healing.

Realize That You're Broken

After a relationship ends, everyone worries about you, and you tell them, "I'm okay."

No you're not. A relationship ending is like a death, and you have to go through the mourning -- and healing process. It takes time and a process of rebuilding. You need to rebuild.

Even if you tell people that you're okay, deep down inside, you're not. The sooner that your broken self comes to the surface, the quicker you can heal.

In upcoming posts, look for the next Relationship Recover Step, Do The Work.


  1. I am 7 weeks out, still angry, still sad, still jealous a little, still kind of solitary although I do have a good support system going on numerous boards like and etc.

    I do feel broken. I feel as though all my self respect was trounced on and I feel emasculated.

    And now I don't know what profile I have to comment as so I guess I have to go anonymous i don't understand what that's all about that little drop down window with the choices of profiles in it do I even have one of these?

    I am past the intense pain yes. I still have bad days where she's all I think about. I am having days where after good prayer I get some pain taken away and even actually find myself being able to focus on my career again. This really affected my career as I started taking on her behavioral traits and I am ashamed of that because that was not me.

    I am only one year into a relationship but it was the absolute most turbulent year of my life. It almost destroyed a good exlover/great friendship that I was three years removed from.

    My codependency which i thought I left behind with my alcoholic wife 15 years ago reared its ugly head with this one. She really knew every weakness and exploited every one.

    When i think of her behaviors now being out of it I am blaming and shaming myself for not seeing it when it becomes so clear now. It was really f***** up.

    I miss the upside though. She really did make that feel like the love of a lifetime. I am quite positive this is how the new guy feels. Her second with me in my term in her cabinet.

    That is what makes me jealous is the fact that someone else gets her upside now. I LOVED the upside but then now being out I am starting to almost see it as an obsession. Sick. And I do know that sick attracts sick.

    So my codependency and rescuer traits came screaming forward and I didn't even realize it until the rage at the end. In fact its only now 7 weeks later I really see and understand it. I really do feel like the learning is going to come soon in waves.

    It is difficult to accept your part in it. Especially when your part was based on love and care to start with. That is why I fell for her because i cared about the little girl I met and in fact she immediately keyed on it when I said very early on that your just a little girl who wants to feel safe. Then i found out about her father abandonment issues and BING Here I come to save the day!!!!

    Riiiiiight. I might has well have sung here I come to kill myself!!!

    So what now? I feel like I have properly grieved, but now lately I almost feel obsessed with reading and blogging on BPD and it's effect on us nons. My family worries that i am spending too much time obsessing about this. This worries me as well.

    I know that if it was one year I'm looking at 6 months to a year tops I hope? I think I'm making great progress then you get one day just one stinking day of grieving and bang you feel like your right back at the beginning.

    Im sitting here blogging about my sorrow, and shes out on the upside and showing it to another man. if that worked out and was the magic relationship she so desperately was seeking then i should be happy for her right?


  2. GB,
    I am right there with you. My ex (BPD) is starting a new relationship with someone else. She gradually phased me out and worked him in, saying that there would never be anything meaningful between the two of them (a keep your options open thing that she does). Now I have very similar feelings to the ones that you describe. He is getting her upside, enjoying all of the good things that she has to offer. And I wonder if he is actually the person that can get her to be genuinely functional in a relationship, whereas I failed. I try to shake it, but the thought keeps coming back. It is hard to avoid that kind of thinking when you made mistakes in the relationship as well. I guess the bottom line is to maintain some compassion for the person, and learn to hope for the best in some genuine way, but you have to balance that with the need to get away from the person as well. Don't beat yourself up for wanting to walk away.

  3. It's taken me over two years to heal from a three year relationship with a bpd. He has been in a relationship for sometime but still he txs and he has even phoned,all of which i ignore. It no longer rips me apart. He has no power over me any longer. It does unsettle me abit though as i don't know what he will do next to get my attention. I will continue to ignore him but i know he will up the anti. To what? I do not know. It's obvious the relationship he is in is now in difficulty. No surprise there then. Yes at first my thoughts were like your own....that she will be sharing the elation of a new relationship with him but the fact is it will always crumble and now she is in that horrible place he had me. Pure torture. My heart goes out to her and her family.

  4. I wish I could get to the same place as you Hazel. I have to have contact with my ex because of the children we share, and that I can deal with most of the time as long as the pick up and drop off is in the same place. Factor anything else in too those drop off and I come away feeling emotional. It been nearly 18 months and I am still in love with the person. When i recently saw them when I was out about it just ripped me apart. The perfect love trap is still there and I still don't know how to break the spell. I love them unconditionally although after all the hurt logic tells me I should run for my life. This is crazy.

  5. It must be so difficult when complete severance is not possible. My ex-BPD was not a good parent to his children and i wonder if this is so with all BPD's. He had very little, if any contact with them as they grew up. He is a selfish being and loving a child would be far too much giving for him. When they were young adults he thought he would get in touch with them. They were very forgiving. Well all but one of them,she had the good sense to stay clear. It was all about him him him. Of course he blamed everybody else for lack of contact. I cannot perceive a BPD would be a good parent. The un-conditional love we have for our children the BPD has no concept of. As we NONS know all too well......there are always conditions placed on any "love" they give.

  6. I'm on day two of a break-up with a BPD. We've been seeing each other for over 3 years and have broken up before. I know it's what needs to happen but she usually pulls me back in with some manipulation or another. Once, I ran into her at a funeral and it was back on. There is always something-we simply can't see each other and not feel that attraction. So I'm wondering what i can do differently this time to make it stick and keep her away. This has been so hard on my self esteem, everything is all my fault all the time. I think that's one reason I don't make the break, I don't think I deserve anything better than the way she treats me. I even blocked her number once and that was our longest break-then the funeral. Just feel better getting this out.


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