If you’ve ever been through a break up then you know how awful it feels. Your dreams about what the relationship could have been are shattered. Your hopes for the future are crushed. And you might feel totally alone with your broken heart.
After a breakup you might have had trouble sleeping, eating or concentrating. You might have overindulged in Short Term Energy Relieving Behaviors like overeating, drinking, sex, television, exercise or any other activity to distract you from the pain. Hey, breakups hurt and we’ve been taught to avoid painful and negative feelings at all costs, so it’s no wonder why we do these things. Sadly, avoiding your feelings keeps you stuck in your grief. Sure, the intensity of your feelings might lessen overtime, but there is no resolution. No recovery.
When you see a friend or family member going through a breakup your first instinct might be to try to fix them. You know how painful your breakup was and most certainly don’t want someone you care about to feel heartbroken. But since we know that avoidance and intellect do not help, what can you do instead?
1. Do remember they aren't broken, so don’t need to be fixed. Grief is a normal human experience, so give them the freedom to feel their feelings as they arise.
2. Do say, “I can’t imagine how you feel.” Although you know how you felt after your breakup that doesn't mean you know how your friend feels. Why? Because every relationship is unique.
3. Do ask, “What happened?” Then listen to what they say.
4. Do listen with an open heart and ears avoiding analysis, criticism, or judgment.
5. Do check in with them. Grievers tend to isolate, feel alone, or feel like they are a burden. Show them that they are not alone.
6. Do remind them that their feelings are normal and natural.
No one has to be trapped in their heartache forever. Recovery is possible and loving people like you can help spread the word, one person at a time.
Looking for more resources on grief and breakups? Here you go: