Do you remember your first boyfriend or girlfriend? I do. I was thirteen years old and knew that he was “the one”. We were inseparable, spending everyday together and talking on the phone every night. This is what I have been waiting for my whole life. It was pure bliss.
Then one day, out of nowhere, he broke up with me. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I played heartbreaking love songs on repeat, didn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and had no clue how I would go on.
I remembered watching romantic comedies where people would eat ice cream and go out with their girlfriends to supposedly ease their pain, so I tried that. It didn't work. But since I thought it should work I pretended to be okay when I wasn't.
I even started drinking to numb the pain.
One thing was certain, I would never allow anyone to hurt me that way again!
I did get into another relationship, but this time I was more cautious. I never truly opened up therefore he never got to know the real me. This was a pattern I would continue for years. What was at first a choice to protect my heart at all costs became a way of life. I got so comfortable living with unresolved emotional pain from past relationships that I didn’t even realize I was doing it anymore. Still I wondered why I couldn’t find the romantic connections I so desperately wanted.
After each break up it was the same story. Eat ice cream, flirt with new men, sleep long days to avoid feeling my feelings, pretend I was okay by posting fake happy photos on social media, all the while being in pain and truly wanting love.
Sadly, this is the story for many people. In an attempt to shield yourself from normal and natural emotional pain you make decisions to keep your heart protected instead. Sometimes it's a conscious decision like mine was, and other times it disguises itself in sarcasm, humor, being too busy, focusing on work or anything else that acts as a shield to letting people connect to your heart.
You see, unresolved emotional pain robs you of choice. When you carry the baggage from your past losses it limits your ability to be fully present in your new relationships. Sometimes it limits your ability to form new partnerships at all. This can be in romantic relationships, friendships, parenting and even with pets.
Have you ever gotten a new pet after your last one died and noticed you didn’t bond with the new pet in the way you bonded with the old one? It’s the same thing people do in romantic relationships. It’s tough to be fully present in a new relationship when you’re carrying the baggage from the old ones.
That’s where The Grief Recovery Method comes in. If you do the work you know that you will ultimately be okay no matter what happens in your life. You will get freedom of choice in how you participate in your relationship moving forward.