defense mechanisms Identification with the Aggressor Repression Projection Displacement Sublimation Denial Regression Rationalization Reaction Formation ego anna freud relationship breakups loss

Are You Feeling Sad After a Breakup? You’re Not Alone. 7 Steps To Overcome Sadness

defense mechanisms Identification with the Aggressor Repression Projection Displacement Sublimation Denial Regression Rationalization Reaction Formation ego anna freud relationship breakups loss

Are You Feeling Sad After a Breakup? You’re Not Alone. 7 Steps To Overcome Sadness

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the primary emotion people experience following a relationship breakup, plus defense mechanisms we use and, 7 steps to release sadness.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, hung up, or pining over your ex? Do you know how your ex is truly affecting you and do you want to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

Do You Seek Other Peoples Approval? Stop Now!
Who decides how you feel about yourself? Is it you or someone else or, everyone else? If you seek external validation, then you lose your power. Beware of saying to other people, ‘You, today, will decide how I feel about myself.’ Watch my video 

Now, let’s talk about reveal the primary emotion people experience following a relationship breakup, plus defense mechanisms we use and, 7 steps to release sadness.

Sadness is the most common emotion that is experienced following a relationship breakup.

In my free, ongoing, online Breakup Test (taken by over 3,500 people thus far), the top-rated emotion is sadness:

91% of women surveyed rated sadness as the top emotion they experienced followed by emotional (sensitive and crying), confusion, loneliness, and frustration for the top 5 out of 56 choices;
73% of men rated sadness as the top emotion they experienced followed by loneliness, confusion, frustration, and a tie between anger and depression for the top 5 out of 56 choices.

Sadness is triggered by a sense of loss; losing something you had such as a relationship, job or possession, or losing something you thought you were going to have such as an opportunity, a dream, goal or even a life together with someone.

The worst advice that anyone can give you when you are feeling sad is to tell you to stop feeling sad and instead be happy. You are not a robot, and the experience of intense emotions, both positive and negative, is part of being human. You cannot expect or long to experience ecstasy, joy, love and excitement without also recognizing that you will also experience pain and suffering.

Ecstasy, joy and connection are truly and deeply understood and appreciated as a contrast to other emotions such as sadness, loneliness and depression.

While there are many defense mechanisms to try and avoid feeling the pain, it is not possible to truly avoid pain and suffering. What you can do is minimize the intensity of the pain and suffering as well as its duration. Here are 7 steps to overcome sadness.

1. Emotional Self-Awareness
Engage self-awareness: what are you actually feeling – most likely a combination and even a conflict of emotions (sadness, anger, loneliness, depression, frustration and so forth.)

2. Defense Mechanisms
What ways are you avoiding dealing with both the emotions and the reality of the breakup? Here are some of the ways that people try to escape feeling the pain:

Denial is refusing to admit or recognize that something unpleasant has occurred

Displacement involves taking out your frustration and feelings on people or objects that are either less threatening, helpless or submissive (kicking the dog or screaming at your child)

Repression is the unconscious or subconscious hiding or masking of an event; Suppression is the conscious hiding or masking of an event

Sublimation is the conversion of intense emotions into an acceptable form such as boxing or working out to vent frustration and anger

Projection is ascribing to other people the very things that you dislike in yourself (accusing someone of cheating when you were the one that cheated)

Intellectualization is removing all of the emotion and focusing in a purely logical and clinical way

Rationalization is the justification and excusing of an unacceptable behavior, feeling or loss in a rational way (usually flawed logic) rather than accepting and owning the real reasons that something occurred (i.e. you blame your partner/boss for your choice to lie or steal)

Reaction Formation is when you hide what you truly feel and instead behave in the exact opposite manner (you detest someone for what they did to you and instead of facing that pain and reality, you treat them in an extra kind manner)

Regression is a response to stress and pain by reverting to immature responses such as childish, extreme or self-destructive behaviors (temper tantrums, overeating, etc.)

Other defense mechanisms include disassociation; superficial humor; acting out; overcompensation for loss, failure or pain; avoidance; passive aggressiveness. Defense mechanisms can sometimes serve a positive purpose if you are aware of them and engage them in the right proportion for the right amount of time until you are capable of dealing with the emotion and stress.

3. Acceptance
Accept that you are feeling sad; accept and acknowledge that it is normal and expected that you will experience sadness; make no negative judgment of the sadness.

4. Embrace reality & its consequences
Whether it be a breakup or even a job loss, embrace the reality that has occurred. I am not saying to celebrate it, (unless it is worthy of a celebration); accept that this has occurred and that there is a loss. Even if you wanted the job or relationship to end, there is still a loss – even a loss of identity, security, financial security, belonging, connection, routine, friendship, companionship, love, intimacy, hope, identity, and so forth.

5. Grieve
Sadness is part of the grieving process. Be gentle on yourself. Give yourself permission to feel all of the pain associated with the loss and experience leading up to the loss.

6. Grow
What can you learn from this experience? What mistakes were made? You are human and therefore imperfect, and therefore you will make mistakes. Forgive yourself.

7. Take control
You’ve accepted the sadness and loss; you’ve allowed yourself to feel the pain and loss; you’ve learned from mistakes and you have forgiven yourself (and others); now take positive, actionable steps to create the life you want. Begin to connect with people; stop hiding and isolating. End the self-pity or self-loathing and remember you still have a lot of love to share, give and demonstrate. Your love is valuable; put it into action; open your heart again.

For further help in overcoming the confusion, frustration and sense of loss, use my program “Get Over Your Ex Now!” Learn about yourself and what happened and how to move easily through the grieving process and, experience love and joy again!

If you need extra help to release the sadness, pain or judgment, book a one-on-one session with me.

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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

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