How to get over a bad breakup?

How I Survived a Hard Breakup and Learned to Build a Healthy Relationship

Problems in one’s personal life can affect a person’s self-esteem and mental state.

In some cases, failures lead to depression. A reader of Tinkoff Magazine was in a relationship for several years that made her suffer. She spent P60,000 on psychotherapy over two years, never got over her depression, but managed to end the abusive relationship. Here’s her story.

This is a story from the Community. The editors asked leading questions, carefully edited and formatted it to magazine standards.

The Problem

My name is Margarita. I am 26 years old, I live in Izhevsk, I work in construction. Several years ago I got into an abusive relationship, which led me to a suicide attempt. Fortunately, it was unsuccessful. After that I went to a therapist. It did not get rid of my depression and a temporary return to the abuser, but gradually I managed to sort myself out better and build a new relationship with a caring person.

I met V. at work. He was 33 years old. At that time I was already in a relationship, but I made the decision to part ways: B. immediately seemed very interesting and intelligent. I quickly fell in love, and I felt it was wrong to live with one person and still dream about another.

Things developed very quickly with us. V. spoke words of love, did spontaneous romantic things – for example, he bought us tickets to Sochi. Sometimes he took pity on me, like a little girl – those are the most precious memories for me. I felt protected around him.

The red flags didn’t come right away-or I didn’t want to notice them. It started with questions about my former partners, whether I was happy with them. Periodically B. had terrible attacks of jealousy. He demanded that I talk about sexual details from previous relationships: he wanted to know how good he was compared to my former partners. If I didn’t want to talk about the past, he got angry and once squeezed my hand painfully. But it never got to violence again.

Despite my embarrassing jealousy, I wanted to continue the relationship with V. But when I talked about how I see our life in a few years, he made it clear that we should not think so far ahead, because everything is constantly changing. I was not in his plans for life.

The first time we broke up was after V. quit his job. He felt he was out of place, didn’t want to work for his uncle and decided to start his own business. At the same time he decided to break up with me-apparently he wanted his life to change drastically.

The breakup was very hard for me. I had no friends who could support me, and my days were indistinguishable from each other: work, training, cooking, soap opera. Most of all I dreaded weekends, because then I had to be alone all day. One such weekend I had an idea: better not to live at all than not to live at all. I wrote a suicide note to my mother, telling her what I was going through, and I tried to kill myself. Fortunately, it didn’t work out.

What is an abusive relationship

A striking feature of an abusive relationship is total control. At first it may look like caring: meetings from work, constant calls, going to all parties together, weekends always the two of us. But on attempts to separate, any, even if it’s about going to the movies with a girlfriend, the abuser reacts with irritation, and then with anger.

“Caring” can go further – for example, the partner will offer or insist that the woman leave her job: “I will provide you with everything, you will have more rest”. Abusers tend to gradually limit the social circle of their partner: “I don’t like your girlfriend, let’s not talk to her so much,” “Your parents come to visit too often” – and so on. At some point the woman finds herself in complete dependence on her partner without the ability to lean on her colleagues, friends and family.

In parallel with the growth of control can begin insults and humiliation, sometimes physical violence. The stronger the woman’s dependence, the easier it is for her partner not to restrain her anger.

The woman may begin to feel like an object whose needs are completely unimportant: her partner only needs her to serve him. For example, her partner may wake her up in the middle of the night to “talk” to her, start forbidding her to wear certain clothes or cut her hair because he does not like it, and so on.

One of the worst effects of an abusive relationship is feeling like an empty space. In addition, the abusive victim’s self-esteem plummets and they lose faith in their ability to cope with life on their own. Internal criticism intensifies, depression develops and the joy of life disappears. That is why abusive relationships can be so difficult to get out of: your partner literally deprives you of the strength to live.

Finding a psychologist

Waking up the morning after a failed suicide attempt, I made the decision to save myself. I went to the psychoneurological dispensary, but there I was turned away crying. They said that I had to make an appointment only.

Then I started calling all my acquaintances and asking if they had a good psychologist or psychotherapist. One acquaintance gave the numbers of three psychologists. Two of them didn’t pick up, but the third, a Gestalt psychologist, answered and said she had free time.

The appointment took place that same evening and lasted an hour and a half, although we had agreed to an hour-long consultation. The specialist saw the state I was in and offered to extend the session.

At the end of the first session the psychologist promised me that I would not do anything with myself until I had undergone 10 sessions. I agreed.

I ended up going to her for about two years. At first twice a week, and then once every two or three weeks. Over the whole period of therapy, the cost of consultations increased from 1200 to 1500 R .

Spending on therapy sessions over two years

How therapy was conducted

The first stage. I well remember the state I was in at the first consultations. I felt so bad that I constantly walked around swollen with tears. The first stage required crisis psychotherapy. I was so overwhelmed that I did not know how to continue to exist. A psychologist helped me get out of that state.

I remember how during the second session the specialist suggested drawing a line of my life, marking serious events on it and describing how I felt at that time. As I understand it, it was necessary for me to remember how I lived before the break-up and what I loved. One of those events was a trip to India-that trip was a big dream of mine, and I remembered being very happy there.

This exercise also helped me remember my passion for games. I decided that I needed to fix my computer so I could play again. And it took my mind off the painful breakup.

And when I was sobbing profusely in sessions, the specialist asked me to breathe deeply – explaining how to do it to calm down. Then the breathing techniques she told me about, helped a little come to itself.

How to get over a bad breakup

A breakup is a loss that involves grieving. It can take time, and it’s perfectly natural. We can’t get over the loss of a loved one in a week. While living the loss, we may feel pain, loneliness, anger at ourselves and our former partner, despair, sadness, a desire to return to the past, and we may feel a void in the future.

All of these experiences are absolutely normal. We not only lose a loved one, but also our idea of the future, part of our life plan and view of ourselves. It takes time to formulate them for ourselves again, to assemble a picture of the life we would like to live.

It is especially difficult if the breakup happened on the basis of devaluation: for example, the partner blamed and rejected. In this case, it can be more difficult to cope with the blow to self-esteem.

For the grieving period, it is important to have the support of friends and family. Maybe even attend support groups for those going through a breakup: sharing experiences and feeling close to other people can be very healing. The support of a psychotherapist is also often very helpful during a breakup. With a specialist, you can make sense of what happened, feel heard and understood, get rid of internal criticism and feel ground beneath your feet.

Imagine that you are a good nurse who has a wounded patient. You gradually help him up, put your shoulder for the first step, approving, comforting when it hurts. You bring something happy for the patient to the room, send greetings from loved ones. Now your adult part is the nurse, caring for the wounded vulnerable part. It’s not easy, but with good care and love, the wound will definitely heal.

Stage Two. Improvement came after about six months. I felt that it had begun when I stopped grinding on the subject of the breakup and started asking the therapist other questions. For example, I started asking about my mother.

I had a very difficult childhood, and the problems in communicating with my mother remain even now. My parents are hearing-impaired, and my father was also suspected of having schizophrenia. He saw people who didn’t exist and talked to them, but he didn’t want treatment. In addition, my father often raised his hand against my mother, and she and her two small children had to run away from home. Now I only have my mother among my relatives. My sister died in a traffic accident eight years ago, and I hardly remember my father, who was killed in a fight when I was in elementary school.

Despite the fact that my mother and I have been separated for a long time, she constantly wants to know what I’m doing and where I went, she needs me to stay in touch 24/7. And if I say that I have no time to write to her, she tries to impose a sense of guilt: she says that I do not love her and I do not need her. Thanks to the work with the psychologist, I finally stopped feeling guilty for sometimes denying my mother attention.

And after one exercise that the specialist suggested, I realized how much I had missed parental love in my childhood. It was a “two chairs” technique: I had to tell about myself – what I was like, what I could do and what I loved. At first, I would sit in one chair and tell the story from my 12-year-old self. And then I would sit down and talk about myself as an adult.

I went deep into the memories and I thought about my mom in connection with that. And I realized that I had solved all my problems at school by myself. I never shared my worries with my mom or had a heart-to-heart talk with her. Mom only performed the obligatory functions of dressing and feeding me.

It was then that I felt that parents did not give that little girl enough love and did not pity her when she needed it. But when the psychologist asked me to move to another chair and say the same thing about myself as an adult, I felt elated. The story about where I studied and where I worked encouraged me – it turned out that I was not such a worthless person as I imagined.

The third stage. But the improvements during therapy were short-lived. The problems in my personal life persisted. About half a year after the breakup B. and I met in the company of mutual friends, and we were attracted to each other again.

He continued to have work problems: he was not able to build his own business, and he did not even try to find a job. V. got stuck in thinking about his inability, and I really wanted to help him, supported him and tried to find him a job. So, I went into “saving my life”.

During this period V. and I broke up several times and started seeing each other again. My mental state depended directly on what was going on in my private life: when everything was good in our relationship, I felt normal. But when problems started, I got depressed again and suicidal thoughts came back.

At times all my attempts to improve relationships seemed senseless, and I told the psychologist that I did not understand why I returned to B. She explained that I had to do what I wanted. And she supported me every time I made this or that decision.

In the end I decided to end the relationship on my own. I realized that B. was busy looking for himself and wasn’t ready for anything serious. I felt like an “alternate airfield” and couldn’t get rid of the feeling that B. was staying with me only as long as he was comfortable.

When I told the psychologist that we had definitively parted, she uttered a phrase that I remembered: “Well, at last you’ve understood. It seems to me that she always wanted me to stop the relationship in which I was suffering, but she couldn’t say it so straightforwardly.

When V. left, slamming the door loudly, I was relieved that it was finally over. But it didn’t help to get rid of my depression. I stopped going out of the house, except for work, and almost stopped taking care of my personal hygiene. I also started scratching my body, scratching until it bled, as if I wanted to hurt myself for something. And I could cry for no reason – I used to cry in the streetcar, in the street and at work. The last time I saw a psychologist was in November 2021.

Why it can be hard to get out of an abusive relationship

The abuser gradually deprives their partner of social connections, finances and internal supports. Dealing with constant criticism and humiliation, not to mention physical abuse, makes it very difficult to maintain psychological well-being and resilience.

With her faith in herself and lack of vitality, it can be difficult for a woman to start down the road to getting out of a relationship. And if she has small children and financial dependence, the difficulties are multiplied by a hundred. In addition, the abuser hinders the woman’s separation and independence in every possible way: he can create obstacles in finding a job, studying, devaluing and ridiculing her actions. In severe cases, she may react with anger and outbursts of violence even on her intention to separate.

Therefore, it is not easy to get out of a relationship with an abuser, even with support and firm determination. It may not come out the first time, and that is normal. Especially if the woman has a childhood history of dislike and mistreatment, in which case it can be difficult to believe that she deserves better treatment and difficult to lean on her own value. Then the process of coming out may take longer and may require work with a therapist.

Sometimes the abuser tries to win back the partner with a “honeymoon,” promises that he will get better, a drastic change in attitude: he starts to show sensitivity, attention and charm. This can be difficult to resist, especially if the relationship is not very long. The abuser knows how to get hooked on the right emotional hook, we all have them.

If you have feelings of guilt and shame about being in such a relationship, don’t believe your inner critic. You are a good, decent person and not to blame for the way things turned out. The main thing is to take care of yourself now.

Stage Four. In March 2022, I had a routine checkup at my place of work. I was to go into the psychiatrist’s office. The questions were the usual: “Do you smoke? Do you drink? Do you use?” All of which I answered in the negative.

The next question made me cry. It was, “How are you doing?” When I calmed down, I told the doctor about the difficult breakup and that two years with a psychologist didn’t help get rid of the scratching and crying. Then the doctor made a referral to a psychotherapist at a state clinic with a preliminary diagnosis of “depression due to severe shock.

There were only two sessions with the psychotherapist at the state clinic, during which we discussed my tendency to get into dependent relationships, in which I always suffered. I asked what to do about it and how to live differently. The therapist replied that I should look for something to do that would cover my need for vivid emotions.

By that time I had already gone on my first trip to Altai. The therapist suggested that it might cover my needs and praised me for choosing such a safe option. So now, when I want a challenge, I go on a bicycle trip, overcome hundreds of kilometers and come back mentally unharmed. In the near future I plan to go to Abkhazia.

In addition, at meetings with a psychotherapist I get a prescription for a tranquilizer and antidepressant. I’ve been taking the pills for four months and now I know that medication is not as scary as it seems. Medication therapy is prescribed temporarily – it is needed to adapt to the new conditions of life. This helps you to get over the traumatic situation.

Thanks to the pills, I got rid of suicidal thoughts. And in the middle of taking the drug, I realized that I get pleasure and joy from ordinary things: a walk in the woods, delicious coffee, the smell of blossoming trees.

Spending on drug therapy

Results of therapy

Now I am in a quiet relationship that started a year ago. At that time I was living alone, I was sad without communication, so I registered on a dating site and went on a date, just to diversify my boring evenings. At first my new acquaintance did not attract me, on the contrary, he seemed a bit boring. But we both play the same computer game, so we had a lot to talk about.

Gradually I got to know him better. He is very calm, always in touch, and unlike previous partners, never played on my feelings. It was easy and simple with him from the beginning – exactly how I wanted to feel as a couple.

Sometimes this relationship feels a little too quiet and I do feel a lack of emotion. Then I try to “rock the emotional boat” – I periodically have the desire to have a conflict and see how the young man reacts. My partner is not manipulated: when I try to arrange a quarrel, he calmly offers to talk later. These words sober me up.

But more often I try to stop myself. When I want to start a quarrel, I ask myself why I do it. And, as a rule, I realize that there really is no reason for conflict.

Psychotherapy has helped me learn to choose myself and protect my personal boundaries. I am no longer in a co-dependent relationship and feel that I won’t break even if I have another hard breakup in my life.

I have gotten closer to accepting myself for who I am. I am no longer repulsed by my tummy. My large thighs don’t seem to be a problem as often anymore. I have become much softer on myself.

I’m working on myself now. I read the relevant literature: I was very hooked by the books of American psychotherapist Irvin Yalom, and also by the book “To myself tenderly” by Olga Primachenko. But I understand that there is still some serious work to be done.

Readers talk about psychotherapy. Stories of how going to a specialist changed your life

How to get over a hard breakup

wikiHow operates on a wiki basis, which means that many of our articles are written by multiple authors. When this article was created, 12 people(s) worked on editing and improving it, including anonymously.

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Unfortunately, we’ve all been through this. Today you’re in a great relationship, and tomorrow you’re already single. Breaking up a relationship can be very difficult, and if you don’t know how to deal with it, you can go crazy. Here are 5 reliable steps to help you through a difficult breakup.

Allow yourself to grieve. Anyone who tells you not to cry or waste time grieving is wrong. Although your friends may tell you, “You need to get over it and move on,” you can never move on until you give yourself time to recover from a past relationship. Make the day after the breakup your grief day. Allow yourself to cry. Allow yourself to be miserable. Lie in bed all day, if you want to, the point is to let all your emotions out. If you let yourself grieve all day, you’ll be surprised at how much easier you’ll be to move on in a week.

  • Don’t Blame Yourself. When someone breaks up with you for no particular reason, it’s all too easy to decide that it’s entirely your fault. Maybe you feel like you’re not pretty enough or maybe you’re not popular enough. If your former soulmate broke up with you because of such vanity motives, she is not worth your time. There are plenty of others who will see positive qualities in you.

  • Don’t go out and start a new relationship right away. You need time to heal your wounds, you can’t give yourself completely to someone else if you are still sad. Friends are a suitable substitute. When it’s time to move on, you’ll know it. It may be sooner or later–depending on the person’s preference.

Don’t consume alcohol. Nothing positive comes out of alcohol when you have just broken up a relationship and are still sad. Alcohol releases all of your emotions and amplifies them a million times over. If you go out drinking and still haven’t let go of your relationship, you will end up just being upset and/or angry. There is also a good chance that you will try calling, texting or emailing your ex about how much you miss him and want him back. This is the worst thing you can do. When you wake up in the morning, surprisingly enough, you will feel a thousand times worse than you did before and you will be very sorry.

Keep yourself busy with something. This step is key to getting through a tough breakup. Even if you may want to just lie on the couch and mope, you need to get out and be busy. Go shopping, go out with a friend, or even just go out for a run. The less time you spend dwelling on an old relationship, the sooner you can get over the breakup.

Take up a sport, find a hobby. This is a great time to explore yourself. You are alone again and can devote more time to personal development. Sports clubs are a great way to meet new people and maybe even learn something new about yourself. It’s not an excuse to “show” your significant other how much better off you are without her. Sure, it’s okay to feel that you may have grown up without her, but in the end – the motivation has to come from you.

Remember that although a breakup is sad, it is not the end of the world. There are billions of people in this world, and you will find someone else. Everything happens for a reason, you learn something in every way, so consider what you have learned from the past and use your knowledge to avoid similar problems in the future. If you follow these steps and try to stay positive, you’ll be back on track in relationships before you know it yourself!

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