Why Getting Support After a Breakup is So Important...and How to Get What You Need
By Susie and Otto Collins
"Why won't they leave me alone!" Kristin shouts after hanging up the phone.
Yet another one of her well-meaning friends and family members just called. They all know that Kristin's live-in boyfriend broke up with her a few days ago.
They all know that he not only told her that he
doesn't love her anymore, he left her for another woman whom he's been secretly having an affair with for months now.
Kristin is miserable. What makes her feel even more miserable is when someone calls and gives her unsolicited advice.
Some tell her that she'll "feel better with time." Others advise her to "get out there and start dating again." Yet others feel the need to share about their own relationship traumas "just so she doesn't feel like she's the only one."
What Kristin wants is to be left alone. Actually, she doesn't really want to be alone, but she doesn't want the kind of "support" that they are giving.
If you've been through a relationship breakup or a divorce, you may be dealing with this too. You might feel so emotionally broken that you can't face up to another conversation about your breakup and how
You may be longing for well-intentioned friends and
family members to just go away...but you also want to feel supported, really supported.
Support can come in all kinds of forms. It can be emotional, physical, financial and more. Even within these categories of support, there are so many varieties that it's difficult to list them all.
We urge you to really listen to what you want and need right now.
Think about what is stressing you out the most in the moment and then ask yourself if there is a specific way another person could help you-- temporarily or for a longer period of time.
For example, if you have children, perhaps some assistance with child care would allow you to do something soothing and kind for yourself.
Even if you don't leave the house, having someone come over and watch your kids while you take a long bubble bath, write in your journal or sit by yourself and cry can make a big difference in your ability to heal after the breakup.
Be aware that the kind of support you need may change over time. Keep checking in with yourself and then honor what you hear.
Give yourself permission to receive support.
Too many of us associate asking for and receiving help with a sort of weakness. You may have been brought up to be self-sufficient and independent. Relying on another person, even if it's only temporarily, may be difficult for you.
Recognize your resistance to being supported in some way and then question the beliefs that go along with it.
Remind yourself of how much more effective you will be at doing the things you need to do-- caring for your children, doing your paid job and tending to your healing-- when you are bolstered by the kind of support you really could use.
Make clear requests to those who want to help you.
If people reach out to you after your breakup with offers to "be there" for you, take them up on their offer. Be specific with them about exactly how they can help you.
If you are hearing a lot of unsolicited advice, a first step might be to ask the person to please stop. You can politely steer the conversation to a different topic.
You can ask him or her to give you some time by yourself-- you will call back later. You can also
ask for a hug or for him or her to be a sounding board and not offer advice.
If you find yourself worrying about imposing or troubling another person with your request, be honest about this. Tell the other person that you will be okay and can find another way to meet your need if he or she is unable to help you.
Next, trust that the person will answer you truthfully about whether or not he or she is able to support you in this way.
If the answer is "No," don't take it personally. There is possibly some other way you can get the support you need. It could be a different form of support that this person CAN give you or it could be a different
person who can fulfill this need you have at the moment.
The point here is to stay open. Stay open to support and stay open to the person and need you are trying to get assistance with.
Know that getting help with the needs you have is a wonderful way to support yourself. This will go a long way in furthering your healing.
If you'd like more advice to help you heal your broken heart, click here for our FREE mini-course.