Theresa Byrne shows you how to move past breakup anger and get on with your life.
When we date, we all start with hope.
We hope for an amazing relationship. We hope for a future filled with the best of both of us. We imagine all the fun and exciting things we’ll do. We hope things will work out and they’ll be our Plus One. We hope we’ve made a great choice and this is a relationship we can grow together in for the long haul. Possibly even leading to marriage, if that’s on the table. (And if it’s not a relationship that’s destined for marriage, then we hope for an amazing relationship all the same.)
There are many stages/types of relationships: there’s the Texting/Flirt stage. The Hook-Up; the “We’re Just Dating”/”One of Several” stage; the ‘Secretly’ Dating where you tell no one stage, the New Relationship, the Monogamous/Exclusive Relationship, the Boyfriend/Girlfriend, and the Partnership Track (living together, promised (is that still a thing?), engaged to be engaged, etc).
But what happens if/when it doesn’t work out?
What happens when somewhere along the line things don’t seem to be what they once were? Maybe one or both of you change. Or maybe they weren’t who you thought you were (the ever popular Bait and Switch routine). What happens when the person you’re dating is no longer the person you want to be with or vice versa? Each of us have some non negotiables in dating and all the hope in the world isn’t going to change that. We all have what I call some “Make or Breaks”—our own personal bottom line relationship must-haves or can’t haves.
What happens when one or both of you realize you no longer want to be in this relationship? Or that the relationship has run its course? Or that you’re actually not better together, as you had originally hoped? Or even worse, you realize that you bring out some pretty awful parts of each other and it’s no longer a good relationship? And that can happen at any of those relationship stages.
Then comes the next stage: The Breakup.
Breakups happen. Breakups suck. And they have their very own stages. Even the most self-evolved human beings can suck at breakups. Even Nobel Laureates have probably smashed things, drunk-dialed their exes, or stalked their social media. I don’t have proof, I’m just theorizing that it could happen. Don’t be that ex.
In fact, just the opposite. In the long run they can be good things. They can be a chance at a re-evaluation. An opportunity to look at who we want to be, or who we want to call into our lives as a partner (after some reflective time—I’d never suggest using a new relationship to get over another one! That, dear one, is a recipe for disaster!).
Breakups can give us a chance to look at the qualities about our ex that we did liked, and say “yes, more of that, please” and the qualities we didn’t like so we don’t have to go down that road again.
I believe it’s our fighting the breakups themselves that make them worse!
There are several stages of breakups and depending on what your google search unearths you may find several lists you like. They all have one stage in common: anger. It’s a breakup stage we all get to experience. Your ex will piss you off. It will happen. Know this. Be alerted.
And I’m asking you not to let it win. Do not let anger win. Anger can turn a perfectly sane person Crazy Pants.
When we go through a breakup, even an amicable one where both people agree that “things just aren’t working out” or something couldn’t be changed and no one is to “blame”: anger will eventually show up.
Mark my words, there’s no way to go through a breakup without it. It’s part of the healing, I call it the “fire that burns the wound clean.”
I’m asking you: do not let that fire make you do things you will later regret. Do not send nasty emails. Do not slander your ex to their friends, or anyone else that will listen. Do not start calling them names. Do not call or text them repeatedly, especially if they don’t respond. Do not start throwing sand. Do not start yelling, or screaming, or striking out because you’re hurt. Do not cause harm. Do not try to convince your ex (or their family/friends) what a horrible person they are. Do not try to get your ex to understand how they are awful human being by showing them all the proof you have. Do not try to hurt them because they’ve hurt you.
Anger is a natural human emotion, and it’s also a reaction when we feel when we believe our power has been taken away against our will. Any time our boundaries have been breached without our permission or we’ve been pushed up against: we get angry. It’s got energy and it’s a defense, but it can make us go a little nutty and it can move us to the offensive. If we let it. If we let anger win.
We get angry for lots of reasons, and it’s one of the most misunderstood emotions in our society, which is why I teach about it. In a breakup we can get angry because the other person has disappointed us, disrespected us, disempowered us, or shown us a perceived slight or injustice of some sort.
NEWSFLASH: Or we might just be mad because we’re going through a breakup.
It will show up, as part of the process; you will get angry.
Either your ex will do something you deem as ‘wrong’ (they start dating too soon/Facebook friend questionable others/go on vacation/_____ fill in the blank), or they won’t do something ‘right’ (they forget to call you back/don’t appear remorseful about the breakup/seem too happy).
The thing they do/did almost doesn’t matter; you’ll be convinced your anger is righteous. You’ll get proof, you’ll tell others who will agree with you, and you’ll build a case. But you’re not in a trial.
You’re angry. You have a right to feel angry. It’s part of the energy you need to move forward. But …
But … You do not have a right to cause harm to someone else, and that’s what I’m asking you to consider. It is a part of the breakup process, and once again, be careful what you let your anger say and do. Learn the self-control. People fly into fits of rage and do crazy things. The police reports and violence statistics I see for defense classes are full of them. All people who never thought they’d be the type to fly off the handle.
When you or a friend goes through a breakup, I’m asking you to accept anger as a normal part of the process. And when that stage shows up, know that you are progressing normally. It’s a necessary part of the healing process, I believe it “cauterizes” the wound caused by a broken or hurting heart. It helps us put ourselves back together again. So we can love again someday.
Please do not let that anger (or rage) make you do things that you believe your ex (or their family and friends) deserve to hear, see, experience, understand, be convinced of, feel, know, or get.
I’ve come up with a list of some healthy alternative things you can do when anger shows up in a breakup instead of the things you feel like doing. Get a hold of your anger so it doesn’t get ahold of you.
Find a boxing gym. Hit stuff.
Try kickboxing and add kicking stuff.
Talk to your friends, ones that will let you vent. Let it out.
Find a therapist. Let them know you’re going through a breakup.
Find an anger coach. Find an Anger Management Educator at www.angercoach.com—(It’s where I got certified to teach and coach people through anger classes).
Lift weights. Things like pushing weights will help push the anger out, for this reason I call it “Push Therapy.” Exhale hard as you push the weight, it helps to dispel the anger.
Take walks. Run. Fish. Get outside. A lot.
Write letters to your ex about all the things that make you angry. Do not send the letters.
Shred them or burn them in a safe place.
Paint. Draw. Write about your experience. Get the feelings out.
Unfriend your ex. Now. Seriously. And you should probably unfriend their closest friends too. C’mon you know you’ll be obsessively stalking their pictures and posts. It’s not your path to healing.
Research.Find a topic you’ve always been interested in and research it. Get your head involved and get out of your adrenaline. (Do not research your ex or their friends, that’s just fuel for the obsessive little fire of anger).
Go through your home and purge. Clean. Use that energy of the anger to power you through projects you’ve been putting off.
Get out of town for a weekend. See new things. Go visit a friend. Get away from whatever is triggering your anger.
Do not drink alcohol in this stage. Drinking drops your guard and releases inhibition, and the last thing you need is something that makes impulsivity more probable. No, it’s not a good idea.
Let the anger run through you. It’s like adrenaline, in fact it’s made up of adrenaline since it’s the “fight” part of “fight or flight”. Find your own healthy ways to let it out. You have to learn how to breathe through it.
Meditate. Sounds nutty to sit and breathe when your system is hopped up on anger, but calming your system will help dissipate the anger and adrenaline.
Cry. I know it doesn’t sound like the world’s best solution but at the bottom of anger is usually hurt. Look to see what hurts you about the situation, and how it’s triggering you to anger. Anger is a more powerful feeling than sadness, but they’re both part of the healing path.
Trust. What? Yep. Trust that you are healing and this is part of the path. Don’t fight it, but go through it. I think Yoda said it. “Through things is some times the only way through them.”
The final stage in any healing process is acceptance. I’d go one step further and say it’s actually integration. You will accept that life goes on, and you’ll integrate this experience as a part of yourself. And you’ll be better because of it. You’ll love deeper next time, and you’ll know what you’re looking for in a date … or a partner.