In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the 7 stages of grieving a breakup.
First a quick update:
Relationships – Male VS Female Brain
Research shows there are 6 key critical differences between men and women as a result of the differing makeup of the brain in females and the brain in males. Listen to the interview with Patrick Wanis and Robert Holmes as they outline the differences between the male and female brains.
How To Reduce & Overcome Anxiety Immediately
What is anxiety and what causes it? Watch the video and gain new wisdom about anxiety and how to reduce it immediately.
Now, let’s talk about the 7 stages of grieving a breakup.
There is a process to grieving a relationship breakup, although it is not a fixed process: you might take one step forward and two back; you might experience a few of the stages at the same time. There is also no timetable for the grieving process – for one person the grieving might be resolved quickly while for another person, the grieving might take years to resolve. The stages of grieving is not linear. Nonetheless, understanding the process and stages of grieving can actually help you to feel less alone (knowing that others experience many of the same emotions and responses as you), move through it faster, experience less pain and confusion, and resolve it with hope and a new beginning.
It must also be noted here that all loss is personal and everyone responds to it differently.
The first model of grieving a loss was introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”, and was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients.
In 1990, Charlotte A. Greeson, Mary Hollingsworth and Michael Washburn authored a book offering another model of grieving consisting of 18 stages. (Grief Adjustment Guide: A Pathway Through Pain https://www.amazon.com/Grief-Adjustment-Guide-Pathway-Through/dp/0945564376)
All loss leads to grieving, and the grieving will vary based on the type of loss as well as the response and psychological makeup of the individual.
Here I am revealing the 7 stages of grieving a breakup based on the above model by Greeson and my work with clients. Again, please note, do not push yourself to attain each stage or rush through any of them.
1. Shock: Desperate for answers
I am consumed by the drive to get answers about “Why?” it happened
Even if you were having problems in the relationship and knew it wasn’t going to last, you will still experience shock. Our rational mind seeks to know why it happened, and sometimes this can be our attempt to reduce the pain by offering a logical reason or explanation
I keep saying to myself, “This isn’t happening” and/or I believe the relationship can be saved
Denying the breakup or something that happened (lie, cheating, betrayal, etc.) is also an attempt to delay the pain of the reality.
I am desperate to save the relationship and am or have been bargaining to get him/her back promising myself and him/her that I will change: “I’ll make everything right; I’ll be and do what you need me to be or do.” I have won him/her back and gotten back with him/her (possibly more than once), and yet, I know it’s not really going to work.
Because you are so desperate to save the relationship, you are willing to blame yourself for everything that went wrong and refuse to see the reality that there are two people in the relationship and both must make changes for it to work, if at all.
I am so angry about what happened; I am angry at him/her/myself; I know I deserve better than this; I am afraid of the future, the uncertainty, of being alone of not loving or being loved again
Anger is the response to feeling hurt, injured or wronged. We might believe that we are to blame for the relationship breakup/failure and become angry at ourselves. Fear occurs when we lose trust in our own abilities and self-worth; panic and anxiety occur when we feel our world is out of control and we try to control the things we cannot control.
I am feeling sad; other times guilty, ashamed or depressed. Sometimes I feel isolated or just want to isolate myself.
Sadness is triggered by a sense of loss; guilt is triggered by the belief that we did something wrong and shame is the belief that we are wrong i.e. innately flawed or bad. Depression occurs when we turn the anger inwards, lose hope, falsely believe we are helpless, deny emotions, and stop taking action to create the life we want.
I have finally come to accept what happened and why it happened. I have accepted my role; I have let go of the former relationship and him/her.
Acceptance doesn’t mean you condone what happened (such as abuse or betrayal); it simply infers that you are no longer trying to change the past, your ex or things over which you have no control.
“Accept this Moment As If You Had Chosen It!”
I learned from my past relationship and now I’m free. I have hope for a better relationship or I’m already in one. I am excited about the future.
Hope is a critical key emotion: hope gives us a sense of power, autonomy and a belief that there is still more good left in life!
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist