Coping with Distress and Agony After a Break-Up

Tips on dealing with the brain chemistry of being rejected

Maybe there is something in the air– a lot of people around me have been struggling with relationship anxiety lately. One friend in particular is trying to recover from a fleeting lover who called it quits after just a few months. She’s caught up in the stormy brain chemistry of rejection and loss—likely including significant drops in her dopamine  and serotonin levels—and the resulting depression anxiety, feelings of addiction and deprivation– plus an overwhelming drive to recover what was lost in order to combat the real emotional pain of rejection real emotional pain of rejection. As she struggles to resist the temptation to stalk, plead, and generally make a needy fool of herself, we created a list of reminders to help her become more mindful of her emotions, reframe her urges, and set a new course. Her ultimate goal is to come through this ordeal in one piece and perhaps even emerge better and brighter. She agreed to share her list, in the hope of supporting others in the throes of rejection.

 

(Naturally, change the pronouns to fit your situation and rest on the affirmations that resonate for you.)

Affirmations

When I’m feeling anxious, insecure, and upset, I’m experiencing a drop in my brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels. These drops undermine my feelings of optimism and confidence, and drive me to seek out the false reward of reassurance and closeness with my ex-lover.

I shall boost my confidence and restore calm by remembering the following:

  1. My distress is a result of brain chemistry and I’m not crazy. Just temporarilyoff balance.
  2. My anxieties and insecurities don’t necessarily reflect what’s really going on or what he’s thinking or feeling.
  3. Just because he broke up with me doesn’t mean that what we had wasn’t real. It’s simply not real any more.
  4. I shall respectfully honor his request for space.
  5. Seeking contact (stalking, pleading) does not bring relief, it only brings shame.
  6. Instead of thinking, I have to get him to tell me the truth, change his mind, stop cheating, etc., I shall stop caring what he does or how he feels.
  7. It is a mistake to heed the voice inside my head that urges me to seek him out. That voice comes from pain, insecurity, and fear and is notthe BEST me.
  8. When that voice is triggered, I shall turn toward myself or a good friend for reassurance, not him.
  9. When I am triggered, I shall mindfully observe my physiology and let it wane without trying to fix it. Rather than thinking I have to see him and recapture what was,I shall think, Oh, look at that. I’m having an anxious This too shall pass. Also try unfurrowing your brow. A calm face leads to a calm mind.
  10. When triggered, I shall give myself a 90-second timeout (link is external)for my physiology to calm down—and I shall not renew my distress by focusing on what’s upsetting to me.
  11. I shall not measure my worth by his attitude toward me. His attitude is a reflection on him, not me.
  12. He’s just not that into me (link is external), and I shall spend my time with people who appreciate me. Life is too short to do otherwise.
  13. Distance from him is what heals me. Whenever I try to get close again, it’s like picking off a scab and making it bleed. I’m only forcing myself to go through the agony of withdrawal all over again. When a scab has formed, I shall let it heal over completely.
  14. I shall not justify seeking closeness as an attempt to keep my lover as a friend. I cannot afford a friendship until I’m completely over him and no longer even remotely triggered. And it’s okay if we don’t remain friends. Moving on is a sign of personal growth.
  15. It’s okay for me to feel sad that this relationship has ended. As I grieve, I am moving toward healing.
  16. I am a growing, changing person and can learn from this experience.
  17. I shall take the high road and behave in ways that have dignity and restore my self-respect.
  18. I shall do what nurtures my health and wholeness. (Natural serotonin  (link is external)and dopamine boosters (link is external)include physical activity, sunshine on my skin, smiling, and good nutrition including plenty of protein, vegetables, B vitamins, and bananas.)
  19. When I take care of myself, I feel confident, optimistic, attractive, and authentic.
  20. The more I behave like a sane person, the more I’ll feel like a sane person.
  21. To resist focusing on a dead relationship, I shall focus on living my BEST life.
  22. I shall seek out what energizes me, not what drains me.

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Categories: BREAKUP

6 Comments

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