Grieving and mourning for a lost love is a normal reaction for someone who has a broken heart. To cry, to feel pain, and to experience the stages of grief is normal for someone whose heart has been broken to pieces and is still “under construction.” What isn’t normal and what is surprising is when you wake up in the morning as if nothing happened (unless of course you really did not love the person and you were just in a relationship for convenience).
However, sometimes, the grief that we feel overcomes the best of us.
The Five Stages of Grief After a Breakup
Every woman, at some point in her life, has to deal with the pain of losing something. This something could be a favorite pet, a friend, or even an opportunity that you’ve been waiting a long time for. But the thing that women most often lose, and probably the most painful among them all, is that of losing a relationship.
Relationship breakups may be seen as “common” and “normal” among couples nowadays, but still, the pain and the hurt that one experiences during the stages of grief after a breakup is way beyond common and normal. This is especially true if you’ve really loved the person wholeheartedly and selflessly. Indeed, getting through the breakup is a real struggle for people who’ve taken their relationships seriously and have devoted their lives to them.
Coping with a breakup starts from taking one step at a time and moving on from one stage to the next. Though these stages of grief after a breakup are not really experienced in the chronological order as some people may skip a stage or may bounce off from one stage to the other, these stages of grief are what a person normally experiences while undergoing the emotional and grief processes that come with a breakup.
Shock and Disbelief
Breakups oftentimes come as a shock to us. Along with the shock is also the disbelief that the relationship has ended. This is the most common reaction immediately after the breakup – the feeling of a numb disbelief.
This is all the more true if the cause of the breakup is a third party, a really bad fight, or some other issue that came as totally unexpected. At this emotional stage, one still doesn’t yet comprehend that the relationship has ended. At this stage of grief after a breakup, you might still be waiting for his call, thinking that “he doesn’t mean it,” or that what was said and done between the two of you was just a spur of the moment.
Second among the stages of grief is denial. At this stage, we try to convince ourselves that “nothing is wrong,” that “everything is going to be just fine,” even if it’s not. At this point, we deny and don’t acknowledge the reality of the breakup. We try to avoid the issue of the breakup, and sometimes, we even seek ways to escape this reality.
Anger and Guilt
Another stage is the anger and guilt stage. At this stage, the reality of the breakup slowly creeps into our system and into our consciousness. Here, we blame the faults and mistakes done by our ex that led to the breakup, we become angry with him, with ourselves (basically for letting him into our lives), with the world, and with just everything that reminds us of him.
After all the anger, what we feel next is some form of guilt, especially if we have begun to acknowledge our own faults and mistakes that contributed to the end of the relationship. At this point, we might feel that we didn’t put much effort into the relationship or that we could have done more to save it.
Mixed feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness mark the depression stage. This is the stage of grief after a breakup where you just want to hide in your bedroom, wear pajamas all day, eat a lot of chocolates, avoid showers, and watch sad movies and listen to emo songs with a box of tissues in your lap.
This stage may be the darkest among the stages of grief as during this stage, all that you can think about is the pain and the hurt that you’re feeling. You might feel that you can’t get over him and that you cannot move on with your life, but eventually, after all the crying and after a particular amount of time, you’ll be able to do so and you’ll find that you’re just fine.
The depression stage is actually the first step toward acceptance because though you’re hurting, you’re finally acknowledging the reality of the breakup.
The last among the stages is the acceptance stage. Getting through this stage makes you one step closer to finally letting go and moving on.
Here, you’re already used to the reality of the breakup and you’re thinking less and less about your ex. The pain that you’ll feel during this stage is also less raw and powerful as compared to the pain that you’ve felt in the other stages. At this stage of grief in a breakup, you’ll finally begin to feel more hopeful and positive.
At times, you may still reminisce about the past, or feel nostalgic about it, but now, you’re able to accept that the relationship has already ended and you’ll feel more at peace despite everything that happened.
Going through a breakup may be hard and painful, but finally overcoming and surviving each stage makes all the pain and the hurt worth it. As you survive the different stages of grief after a breakup, you’ll feel that the sun is shining in your life once again. That though you’ve loved and lost, there’s more wonderful things in life to celebrate.
Stages of Grief After a Breakup: 5 Signs That You Need Expert Advice
Sometimes, the grief that we feel is so strong that it disrupts and destroys our lives. This kind of complicated grief is what we should look out for. This kind of grief can be very distracting and can totally turn our lives upside down. If we don’t want this complicated grief messing up our lives, it’s better to look out for its telltale signs and immediately seek a doctor’s help to get back on your life track.
1. Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
If you’re always preoccupied with thoughts of dying while you’re going through the stages of grief after a breakup and if you’ve suicidal tendencies or behavior, IMMEDIATELY ask for a doctor’s help. Always thinking about death and dying isn’t normal, and if you don’t do something to get rid of these thoughts, the higher your chance is of actually doing some permanent damage to yourself. Combat these thoughts with positive thinking because too much negativity can really affect your sense of judgment and your outlook on life.
2. Prolonged inability to function or do anything
During the first three days and while you’re still in shock, it’s expected that you don’t want to do anything. You may want to just sleep and wear your pajamas all day, stay at home and just do nothing, but if you’ve been like this for many weeks or months, it’s another story.
Some women really have an inability to take care of themselves, to eat, to shower, or to just do anything productive in their lives while undergoing the stages of grief after a breakup; some just blankly stare into space or just want to camp in their bedrooms for weeks. If after the breakup, you can’t function or do anything for quite some time, then it’s a sign that you need expert help.
3. Alcohol or drug dependence
Even if we say over and over again that drowning oneself in alcohol and numbing the pain through drug dependency during the stages of grief after a breakup isn’t advisable, some just don’t listen and still do it as a way of escaping reality. Well, it may be okay if you get drunk right after the breakup, but to get drunk and wasted every night (and drunk-dialing your ex) after the breakup is another matter. If you’ve considered the bottle of wine as your best friend or if you’ve some problems getting yourself away from bars and not becoming alcohol and drug dependent, seek a doctor’s help now.
4. Withdrawal from society and social activities
Another sign of complicated grief is when you isolate yourself from the rest of the world. If you feel a continuing numbness or detachment from everyone else and if you feel hopeless for many weeks, then it means that you’ve to get medical advice or help. It’s really not a good sign if you isolate yourself after the breakup because at this difficult stage in your life, you need all the love and support that you can get.
5. Extreme sadness or prolonged depression
The depression here that you feel is different from the usual loneliness, sadness, and uncomplicated grief that you feel in the Depression Stage. This depression is more extreme and is continually felt. It’s not just simple loneliness and sadness, but it’s mixed with feelings of an inability to enjoy life, intense longing for your ex, preoccupation with the sorrow that you feel, deep sadness, and lack of a sense of direction and purpose in life.
There’s a borderline with normal grief and pain that one feels after a breakup. If you’re feeling any of these five things while undergoing the stages of grief after a breakup, then immediately seek medical or expert help because not doing anything with these feelings can surely ruin your life in more ways than you can even imagine.
Stages of Grief After a Breakup: Debunking its MythsIt’s true that going through all the stages of grief after a breakup is a very hard and traumatizing experience. It’s even harder if it’s your first time experiencing the pangs of a breakup; the first cut is the deepest, as the song goes. But even if you’ve been through the breakup process before, going through the stages of grief once again may still be an agonizing experience, especially if you truly loved your ex.
But really, the hurt that you feel isn’t something that you cannot overcome and survive from. Sometimes, the pain isn’t just felt in our hearts; it’s also felt in our minds because when we overthink and when we always input the statement that “it hurts” (even if, in reality, it’s bearable), the tendency is that the pain that we feel becomes aggravated because of this psychological conditioning. Another thing that can further worsen whatever it’s that you’re feeling is when you accept the different myths in the stages of grief after a breakup, such as the following:
“It’s so painful, I’m gonna die . . .”
Well, technically, a breakup won’t kill you; it’s what you do with yourself when you succumb to depression that will. A breakup doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. Your world shouldn’t revolve around your past relationship or around your ex (even if you feel like it) because in reality, you’re the master of your life and the writer of your own love story.
“The pain will easily go away if I just ignore it. . .”
Sorry, but escaping from reality won’t help you get rid of the pain. Ignoring it may be a normal reaction at first, and going through the denial stage may be the first among the stages of grief after a breakup, but this won’t really be an effective remedy in the long run. The only effective way to move on is to let go of your past and to forgive and to forget the person who caused you so much pain, and you can only do these things if you acknowledge the reality of the breakup.
“People will see me as ‘weak’ if I end up crying. . .”
Crying isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a sign of strength because you’ve acknowledged the fact that you’re hurting; accepting the reality takes up a lot of courage and strength since it’s much easier to escape your problems or just be in denial.
Crying is also a normal reaction after a breakup. If you’re in pain, it’s better to just let your emotions flow rather than suppress them. That way, you’ll recover more easily.
“I will never love again. . .”
You may feel this way now, but you won’t feel this way forever. You may feel that you’re no longer capable of loving somebody else as you go through the initial stages of grief after a breakup, but really, only time can tell. We don’t know what will happen in the future; that’s why it’s still better to continue to hope for the best rather than immediately put a period to our love story.
“It will take years for me to finally move on. . .”
There’s really no exact, right, or wrong time frame that you need to follow in moving on. The amount of time that your heart and yourself need to recover may not be the same for other people. What is important is that you’re really exerting much effort and you’re doing your best to move on with your life and to forget about all your past heartaches and grief.
Going through the breakup process in itself is already difficult, so why make it more difficult with needless myths about breakups? Thinking incessantly about these myths won’t do you any good. Rather than become occupied with them, focus your energies on many productive activities; this way, you won’t easily yield to depression and negative thinking.
List of Do’s and Don’ts in the Stages of Grief After a Breakup
I had my share of heartbreaks and heartaches. I have been left alone, and I have experienced being the one leaving a relationship. I have been hurt and I have painstakingly gone through the stages of grief after a breakup. And through all these broken relationships, I have selflessly given my heart to the man whom I thought at the time would become my last love. So you see, I too had my own share of pain.
After going through a series of breakups and after going through the stages of grief many times as a consequence, I have learned to come up with my own rules, or a list of do’s and don’ts to observe during the emotional stages of a breakup and while I’m fixing my broken heart.
Stages of Grief After a Breakup: Do’s
1. Do cry, yell, or scream to let your feelings out (but don’t do this in front of people).
2. Do eat chocolates or your favorite comfort food and get enough rest or sleep.
3. Do vent your anger by working out in the gym.
4. Do eat even if you’re grieving.
5. Do give yourself some time to think, feel, and process what’s happening in your life.
6. Do talk and share with your friends and family.
7. Do surround yourself with a support group or with positive people.
8. Do take a vacation, a day off, or just some alone time to pamper yourself.
9. Do the things that you’ve always wanted to do (provided it’s not illegal of course).
10. Do express your feelings in creative ways.
11. Do give yourself some time to properly mourn for your lost love and to properly heal your broken heart.
12. Do love yourself more than anything.
13. Do seek professional help if there are signs that you need an expert’s advice in undergoing the stages of grief.
14. Do remember the no-contacting-my-ex rule.
15. Do take this as an opportunity to focus on other aspects of your life, like your career.
Stages of Grief After a Breakup: Don’ts
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
2. Don’t harbor feelings of shame and guilt.
3. Don’t act impulsively on your anger.
4. Don’t immediately look for a new love or a rebound relationship.
5. Don’t use alcohol, drugs, or meds to numb yourself from the pain or escape the reality of the breakup.
6. Don’t get drunk and do stupid things like drunk-dialing your ex!
7. Don’t avoid the rest of humanity.
8. Don’t beg your ex to get back together with you.
9. Don’t pity yourself.
10. Don’t wallow in negativity and other irrational thoughts.
11. Don’t pretend that you’re okay even if you’re not.
12. Don’t rush yourself.
13. Don’t do stupid things that you’ll regret later on.
14. Don’t stop taking care of yourself, most importantly your health.
15. Don’t abandon your beauty regimens, your fitness program, or your daily routines.
The said list has been my guide and has fortunately saved my sanity while I was undergoing the stages of grief during a breakup. It helped me to keep safe and remain healthy and stable, even if my emotions were on a rollercoaster. Also, it has made me avoid doing crazy stuff and completely stupid actions that would have caused me more grief and regret for the rest of my life. I hope that doing or not doing the things on the list will also help you in the same way that it has helped me.
The Stages of Grief After a Breakup: Principles to Live ByNo one is immune from the pains of a lost love. Everyone becomes vulnerable to the hurt once a breakup happens. No one is exempted. As long as you’ve loved and the loving relationship came to an end, you’ll always undergo a difficult and painful process after the breakup. Going through the stages of grief after a breakup is one of the most difficult things that we can experience and must overcome.
The hardest part in dealing with breakups is to let go and move on with your life alone. Letting go and accepting the reality surely needs a conscious decision and a lot of strength from us. And as difficult as it may sound, we still have to do our best to survive the stages of grief.
But overcoming the breakup is, most often than not, easier said than done. However, facing the stages of grief may become bearable if we have guiding principles. Our principles are what move us to do something with our lives. Having a rule, a belief, or an idea to guide you as you go through the stages of grief after a breakup will motivate you to move on and will also help you bear every stage that you’ll have to go through.
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” – M. Kathleen Casey
I’ve always liked this quote because it sums up everything about overcoming the stages of grief after a breakup. It’s true that going through these stages means pain, as pain will always be our natural and normal reaction during and after a breakup, but it doesn’t mean that we must let ourselves suffer. We can still be in pain, but we can choose and will to either let this pain destroy us or to turn this pain into a creative way of self-discovery and have lessons because of it.
“Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.” -Author Unknown
Blaming ourselves for the breakup, begging our exes to stay and to come back, and trying to get the relationship back can only prolong the hurt that we are feeling and extend the time that we need to completely heal. What’s done is done. What’s over is over. We have to accept this reality and move on with our lives. Otherwise, we’ll forever be stuck with our past, with our hurts, and with our pains.
“Letting go has never been easy, but holding on can be as difficult. Yet strength is measured not by holding on, but by letting go.” -Len Santos
Letting go doesn’t mean that we are weak; it means that we are courageous and strong enough to embrace the unknown and not hold on to the memories and the past. Letting go requires a lot of strength from us, yet it’s only through not holding on that we can overcome the breakup and finally move on with our lives.
“Sadness flies away on the wings of time.” -Jean de La Fontaine
It’s true that after the breakup, you’ll feel sad and alone. But just give yourself some time – some time to be alone and some time to undergo the stages of grief after a breakup. Only time can really heal all wounds, so it’s very much important to have some time for yourself right after the breakup. It might feel like nothing will get better as long as the pain and the breakup is still fresh, but I promise you that in time, all the pain and the hurt will go away. Just give yourself some time to heal.
You cannot move on unless you make a conscious decision to move on. Moving on starts from deciding to let go and to move forward and, thereafter, willing this decision into a reality. Of course, acceptance of the breakup is necessary before you overcome all the stages of grief after a breakup. But no matter how hard it may seem, you must propel yourself to do this.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one which has opened for us” -Alexander Graham Bell
And to sum everything up, a breakup entails closing another chapter of your life and moving on to the next chapter. If you’re stuck with all the negativity, all the pain, and all the hurt, you won’t be able to appreciate the good that comes with it. When we focus only on the negative aspect of the breakup, we don’t allow positive things to come into our lives. That’s why we need to shift our focus and energy from the breakup, so that we can let other positive things happen, so that we can allow other good things and opportunities to come into our lives, and so that we can make ourselves happy.
5 Attitudes You Need to Survive the Stages of Grief After a BreakupFalling and being in love is a wonderful feeling. It’s one of the happiest and most wonderful things that can happen in a woman’s life. To have someone special whom you can share your time, your heart, and your world with is surely one of life’s greatest blessings. However, all of this and your entire world can also crumble once a breakup happens.
Regardless of who broke it off, after the breakup, the happiness that you once felt is overshadowed with sadness and loneliness. Grief and pain become present as you naturally mourn for your lost love. And as you experience these emotional stages and go through the different stages of grief, you need to muster all the strength that you’ve just so you can survive the stages of grief after a breakup.
Though sheer strength and willpower can help you survive the stages of grief after a breakup having a certain set of attitudes will also help make the situation more bearable.
It’s important for you to understand the situation between you and your ex. This is because understanding can help you assess your situation and figure out what went wrong (so that you can work on this later or so that it can serve as a lesson for you to work on in your next relationship).
It’s important that you fully understand the things that led to the breakup, that now the relationship is over and your ex is already your ex. Having an understanding of the breakup situation will make you look at the bigger picture and will facilitate your acceptance of the breakup.
Forgiveness is the first step toward acceptance, toward forgetting the past and finally letting go. During the stages of grief after a breakup, you need to forgive and forget, to forgive your ex for the things that he has done in the past that hurt you and to forgive yourself for your own mistakes. By forgiving your ex, you’ll have peace of mind; doing so will also keep you from dwelling on your anger. And by forgiving yourself, you’ll finally do away with all the regret and guilt that you’re feeling after the breakup.
Honesty is important because without it, you’ll be in constant denial and you’ll be stuck in the denial stage. Pretending may give you an initial escape from the reality of the breakup, but it won’t help you move on with your life. This is because recognizing and accepting the reality of the breakup is the first step that you must take so that you’ll know how to deal effectively with your current situation and finally get over it.
4. Positivity/ Optimism
A positive attitude can move mountains. I cannot stress enough how important it’s to have a sense of positivity despite all the pain and hurt that you’re experiencing after the breakup. While going through the stages of grief, all the negative feelings will consume you in the inside, and to combat these negative feelings, you’ll have to have a positive attitude in your life.
Dwelling on negative things and having a negative attitude will only worsen the grief and despair that you’re feeling. Maintaining a positive attitude despite everything will help to offset these negative thoughts (which can really cause you to feel more depressed and can even lead you to do irrational and stupid things with damaging effects on your life) and make the situation less stressful.
Along with positivity, hope is also needed if you want to move away from the past and onward to the future. Being hopeful will give us something to look forward to. It will make having a fresh start and moving on from the past much easier. It will also make us see the bright side of life. Certain attitudes are needed for us to endure every single challenge that life throws at us. May you’ve these attitudes and may you cultivate them so that you’ll hurdle every battle that you’ve in life and survive the stages of grief after a breakup.
How to Survive the Stages of Grief After a BreakupA broken heart, a heart that is being torn into pieces, a bleeding heart. These are usually the phrases that we use to describe the pain that we feel when going through the stages of grief after a breakup.
Indeed, the stages grief after a breakup is one of the hardest things to deal with. Emotionally and psychologically, dealing with breakups can be one of the most painful experiences in our lives. This is normal since a lost love and a broken relationship can really leave us feeling devastated.
However, we must understand that breakups are inevitable. Dating relationships can either end in marriage or in a breakup, and most often than not, it’s the latter. With this understanding in mind, we must look at a breakup as just something temporary, like a pause in our lives that is just one of the steps that we have to take toward finding our perfect match. That’s why we need to do everything within our power to survive it.
So how can you survive the stages of grief after a breakup? Here are some ways:
Don’t keep all of your feelings inside
Hiding all of your feelings will consume you from the inside. Keeping it all to yourself will make whatever it’s that you’re feeling heavier and more burdensome.
One way to survive a breakup is to openly discuss your feelings to your friends, or if you’re too shy, you can write about your feelings in a journal, a diary, or even in a blog. Just letting your feelings out either by talking or writing about them can make you feel better; the advice that you get from other people on how they have survived the stages of grief after a breakup is already an added bonus to it. You can already feel better just by sharing your feelings since talking or writing about it can make it sound more concrete and less problematic.
Take care of yourself
Even if you’re grieving, you still have to take good care of your health and your body. Despite the fact that you may feel depressed post-breakup, make sure that you’re eating your meals regularly, you’re still doing exercises (exercising can also be a good way for you to get rid of your anger and stress), and you’re still doing your beauty regimens. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay healthy and beautiful despite the breakup.
After a breakup is the best time to indulge and pamper yourself. Do the things that you love and will make you feel better. Go to the spa, have a massage, do some shopping, buy that book that you’ve been wanting to get, take a weekend off, or have a vacation.
Learn to let go
Letting go starts from freeing yourself from the hope that one day you and your ex will get back together. Expectations are the root of all heartaches, and expecting to get back together will just hurt you more. Don’t beg your ex to come back or spend your days waiting for his text or call. Let him go, physically and emotionally. Give the relationship its proper closure.
Make some lists
To help you survive the breakup and move on, it’s also helpful to make a list of the things that you hate about your ex and next to it, a list of the benefits of being single. Looking at the lists side by side will eventually make you learn to embrace your single life post-breakup. Eventually, you’ll love the benefits of being single and being ex-slash-worry free, and you can use these benefits as your own reasons for choosing to be a single woman.
Time heals all wounds, they say. Just give yourself some time as you go through the stages of grief after a breakup. Eventually, the pain will go away and you’ll welcome and embrace being single once again. Just remember that you’ve to love yourself and you owe it to yourself to survive this breakup because you’ve every right to be happy with your life.
Conclusion: The Importance of Coping with the Stages of Grief After a BreakupEver been in love? Ever loved and lost? Ever been left behind by the one you love? Been there; done that. Terrible – that’s just one word to describe my breakup experience and the stages of grief that I went through after it. To love greatly and to have your relationship end badly and to have the one you love walk out of your life forever could really be a sad, painful, and a terrible experience.
To give your heart wholly to a person, just to have it become broken in the end is surely painful. You mourn for the lost love and you muster all the strength and willpower that you’ve just so you can survive the different stages of grief after a breakup.
Though letting go and moving on from the stages of grief after a breakup isn’t an easy thing to do, we must do our very best to say goodbye to the past and move on with our lives. But why is it important? Why is it necessary to cope with a breakup?
Coping with a breakup is important because:
We can only become genuinely happy if we let go of our past hurts
Dealing with breakups is necessary; as long as we are still grieving and hurting for our lost love, we can never become truly happy. Still harboring ill feelings toward your past and hurting over it’ll make us focus so much on the negativity of the loss that we forget to take a moment to appreciate what we have and enjoy life.
Letting go will set us free
For as long as we hold on to the past breakup, we will never be able to reach the last stage. As long as we are trapped with the hurt, the pain, and the guilt, we will always feel a heavy feeling inside of us; we’ll always carry an emotional burden in our hearts. Isn’t it much better if there’s only peace in our hearts?
Dealing with the stages of grief after a breakup will steer you away from depression
Not doing anything to help yourself cope with the stages of grief after a breakup will increase your chances of going through a more severe type of depression (which is totally different from the ordinary and normal depression felt during the Depression Stage in The Five Stages of Grief After a Breakup). This severe depression can really mess up and can even cause permanent damage to one’s life. So as early as the first stages, you’ve to really do everything within your power to help yourself get over the breakup and start with your healing process.
Everything that you do to cope with the breakup restores your “broken self”
Everything that you do to cope with the breakup will help you restore the faith and confidence that you’ve with yourself. It will help you reconstruct your broken self, add to your self-esteem, and give you a lot of lessons to improve yourself and your way of loving. Going through the stages of grief after a breakup can thus be taken as an opportunity to re-examine and re-evaluate oneself.
Dealing with breakups and surviving the stages of grief can be a difficult thing to do, especially for those women who’ve less willpower and who’ve great fear of experiencing emotional pain. The difficulty in overcoming the stages of grief isn’t so much as letting the other person go physically but also letting him go emotionally and mentally and also letting go of all the hurt and anger that you feel because of what happened.
But in spite of all the difficulty, we still must help ourselves cope with the loss and heartbreak because in the end, we must not give up on ourselves. We deserve to start living our present and to look forward to our future; we deserve to be happy.Lastly, I'm starting to tell other women about a health newsletter that I've benefited immensely from and that I highly recommend. I think you might like it, too. If you want, you can sign up here.
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