Letting go of the pain, sadness, grief and the many challenging emotions involved in ending a relationship is always difficult.
The proverb “Time heals all wounds” is categorically untrue. Time does not heal all wounds. If work isn’t done on healing the wounds associated with divorce scarring will result. I often hear clients say: “I thought I was over my grief and then out of nowhere I just broke down again. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get past this divorce?”
The reality is that until the feelings, issues or conflicts the end of a relationship brings are truly processed, attempts to suppress, repress, or depress them will force them to remain with us and take on a life of their own—often based in unreality.
Letting Go of the Shadow
Carl Jung termed this the “shadow”. In simple terms, our shadow is defined as the place in our subconscious where we suppress or bury experiences in life we don’t have the ability to cope with. You know those times, right? When we stuff feelings because we don’t know how to resolve a problem, don’t want to feel pain, or feel overwhelmed by life choices.
Everyone has a favorite way of trying to avoid feelings: Numbing. Numbing can be in the form of overworking, over exercising, overeating, TV binging, video games, gambling, over use of social media, or even isolating. Numbing is an effort not to feel emotions. We typically don’t think of these numbing choices as addictions, but anything we do over and over and over again can become an addiction. Addictions go far beyond drugs and alcohol and encompass a wide range of numbing techniques.
Other people who are struggling are able to right themselves without choosing numbing or addictions. This is done by seeking support from friends, getting counseling, joining a support group, journaling and a variety of activities which help them heal and regain a sense of well-being.
Unresolved feelings or issues don’t just go away. I agree with Carl Jung’s belief that whatever we don’t deal with will surface in various ways and when that happens we don’t even realize our reaction is actually due to a subconscious unresolved emotion rather than the actual matter at hand. Whenever we are reacting harshly to something happening in the present moment, the reaction stems from unresolved past issues repressed in our physical, emotional or psychological system.
Letting Go of Victim Consciousness
Whenever we blame our ex for anything; anything at all—we’ve fallen into “victim” consciousness.
When a relationship ends, there is often a tendency to blame the partner for the ending. This is true no matter who leaves the relationship. As long as we remain in the place of victim using blame, resentment, judgment, vengeance, or try to shame or guilt our former partner, we give away our power. If we are in victim consciousness we prolong our suffering, avoid dealing with the real pain and prolong the healing process.
When we deny the fact that it is over, or that the relationship cannot be saved, or if we find ourselves saying if this or if that—we have succumbed to victim consciousness. When we do not want to face the future, or deal with loneliness or fear, or take responsibility for our own actions or circumstances and instead choose to play the poor-me-pity-party indefinitely, we’ve fallen into victim consciousness.
In the book Rebuilding: When your Relationship Ends Dr. Bruce Fisher refers to the letting go process as disentanglement. Emotional entanglement is difficult to deal with. But as long as we deny, refuse to accept the ending, won’t let go of the ex, obsess about what they are doing, get upset if they are moving on with their lives, we won’t be able to heal. Letting go of the past is necessary to rebuild a new life.
The process of letting go and moving on requires one to take an in-depth look at the past to determine how our psychological survival strategy was created. Once identified, we can work to change those false and self-limiting beliefs and behaviors which are ineffective in building relationships, keep us in anxiety or fear, and result in conflicts.
Everyone wants to heal from the pain of a relationship ending. Transforming that which is buried, denied or ignored will allow us to transcend those parts of ourselves that no longer serve us.
What’s the next step for letting go?
As a divorce coach, it’s my goal to walk with you through the challenging time of a divorce or a relationship ending.Our trained divorce coaches at www.AfterDivorceSupport.com will work through the process of letting go with you. Learn more about our services here.