There’s a lot we can learn from relationships blunders. Failed relationships tell us a hell of a lot — if you know where and what to look for that is.
Continuous breakups finally led me to have one of the most important conversations with myself. It consisted of two fundamental questions — and neither had a straight forward answer. With enough reflection, these two questions eventually concluded.
To give this a bit of context before the juiciness of the story. I’ll ask you the same questions that I asked myself. In your last breakup:
- Do you think you had a healthy or unhealthy emotional attachment towards your partner?
- And do you feel like you went through a healthy grieving process in the aftermath?
Use the following two pointers as guidelines…
This will lead to a process which is called healthy grief. Commonly it entails (not all may apply); outrage, sadness, blame, and then liberation. The key is “liberation” having the ability to free yourself from negative emotions in the aftermath of a breakup. But before you can experience liberation, you need to accept emotions as they arise. As well as the flourishing sensations that may be awaiting in the future.
In healthy grief, you understand that emotions make us human. You realize that it’s abnormal not to experience negative feelings during this affair. This automatically manifests a healthy relationship between you and your emotions. You’re able to see the bigger picture. Instead of being caught up in the amid of them.
Acknowledgment coupled with acceptance is a perfect recipe for a healthy grieving process — and it enables the aftermath of the breakup to be a smoother ride.
An unhealthy attachment is always followed by unhealthy grief. It looks something a little bit like; feeling like you’ll never move on, your thoughts are fueled by the loss. This is when the “unhealthy attachment” becomes more clear, it’s illustrated with an obsessive desire to regain connection with your ex. There is no detachment between you and your emotions. Which creates a whirlwind of issues. Irrational behavior is probably the most transparent.
Following, are self-destructive behaviors and unusual bad habits. A common reaction is the “rebound effect”. This is the habit of jumping straight into another relationship to mask your grief. This becomes a perpetual cycle.
What does this mean?
If you fall under “unhealthy attachment” your not ready for another relationship. YET
An unhealthy attachment is an indication that self-work needs to be done. I know this because I was guilty of going through unhealthy grief too.
I was overly consumed with repetitive thoughts which struck a continuum of emotions — the start of the perpetual cycle. I had very little awareness of how I was feeling, and self-compassion, well what’s that?
All my energy went into trying to rekindle what had been lost. To fill the void I was feeling. My lifestyle habits changed (not for the better). I invoked in the “rebound effect” trying to cover up the core issue — a lack of stability and independence.
“Why am I experiencing this unhealthy process?”
Months went by until I started to notice the cycle I got myself in. It eventually took a drunken chat with a friend in our little lad pad for me to realize that I was stuck, I started to become aware of this oblivion I was in.
I needed to escape the continuous lifestyle I was leading. I faced-up to the problem, I had 3 months of solitary periods, invoked in self-awareness, and did the self-work.
There is a reason why some people have an unhealthy grieving affair. It has less to do with the relationship than you may think, and more to do with the bigger picture. To elaborate, it has more to do with what’s going on outside of the relationship. This has 2 segments; first, their ability to be independent, secondly, their levels of stability. (Oh and you could throw their level of emotional maturity into the mix)
When people (I was guilty too) struggle with independence, stability, or lack emotional maturity they become more susceptible to latch onto any accessible support. They seek attention, borderline neediness. This only masks the issue and the impact of this is catastrophic.
Latching on to others doesn’t make the underline issue go away, it’ll still be there waiting to flair up. A perfect example of pushing the crumbs under the carpet. The problem only becomes a more adverse problem further down the line.
Also, impulsively feeling the need to latch onto somebody doesn’t allow time for the initial wound to heal — from previous breakups or other traumas. This ignites problems in future relationships.
If somebody is unable to be emotionally independent or struggle with stability, then chances are their relationships are built on weak foundations. Instead of constructed on compatibility and chemistry it’s structured by fear of independence and ignorance of self-work.
Desperately seeking a companion, with intentions to cure the feeling of vulnerability of being alone, is one of the main causes of an unhealthy attachment. You latch on to them not out of love, but out of neediness.
This is why people allow warning signs to go over their heads, ignoring incongruous behaviors. Compatibility goes out of the window. This is another reason why people settle for less than they deserve — but thats got enough depth for another story.
The perpetual cycle continues
Introspection was calling me. And this same goes for other unhealthy attachers.
If I couldn’t break the cycle of “unhealthy attachment” then all future relationships would be susceptible to the same unhappy fate.
If I wanted to give love a fair shot, I knew I would have to invoke in a personal development journey. A journey to improve independency, stability, and emotional maturity.
I needed to break my perpetual cycle:
Breakups. Irrational behavior. Unhealthy attachment. Weak relationships. Breakups. Repeat.
After a journey of personal development and solidarity, I am a stronger man. Also, future relationships have stronger underpins. In turn, the doors have opened for compatibility and chemistry. Oh and healthy attachments of course!
Relationships are now allowed to blossom.
Before you jump into the game of love again.
Self-reflection is required(part of your development journey) It encompasses; introspection (awareness of your emotions and your needs). And a time frame for a healthy grieving process.
This is something that I’ve encountered. Not only in deep self-reflection, thanks to meditation. But by educating myself with books, articles. Also, by listening to the first-hand experience from friends and family.
Before you jump into the game of love again, you need clarity on where things went wrong in past relationships. You need to analyze your behaviors, habits, and feelings. But do this in a self-compassionate manner.
Once you’ve had time to self-reflect, you gain a good knowledge of what you need from your next partner. You start to realize who’s right for you and who isn’t. You start to build a relationship with compatibility and chemistry.
Now your giving love a fair shot.
We don’t falsely attach ourselves to other people when we have the confidence to be happy independently.
You automatically inhibit any burdens that you cascaded onto your partner. Also, when you’re more independent you know longer seek anybody else to fill the void — from being alone. Or the vulnerability you once felt.
Becoming more independent, as well as improving stability and your emotional maturity is not something that will happen overnight ( I can promise you that) but like anything, with a repetitive change in behaviors and habits, it’s something that can be achieved.
The more you become fixed upon this journey of self-development, ironically you build a new form of attachment. A healthy attachment— not only in relationships. But to the idea that you’re responsible for your own life.
You start to realize you’re accountable for you.
Self-work will manifest a belief deep in your core that you are adequate enough to defend yourself. You become dependant on yourself, not partners.
Now you’ve ended the perpetual cycle.
If you find yourself fitting under the umbrella of “unhealthy attachment” then maybe like me you need a little introspection. Hey, self-development isn’t easy or comforting, but nothing worthwhile is, right?
Suggesting that you need self-work could come across cynical, but I aim to be supportive. Call it constructive criticism.
I don’t know you, but I guess if you’ve got to this stage of the article, then I assume you’ve experienced an unhealthy grieving process yourself? Maybe you’re going through a perpetual cycle right now?
Or I could be wrong… you may just be curious.
If I’ve learned one thing; everybody needs to feel confident enough to rely on themselves before entering a relationship. If not, we go searching for somebody else to take the ropes.
This isn’t a recipe for a fulfilling healthy relationship. We become dependant on our partners. This ignites an unhealthy attachment.
Previously published on medium
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