Home > abandonment, Outer Child > Part II: Trying to Get Over Someone

Part II: Trying to Get Over Someone

Getting over someone: The task can be so arduous that it needs to become an ongoing project. And you can’t expect results right away. You have to be goal-directed, determined, and unbelievably patient.

If you learn now to work WITH rather than AGAINST your feelings, you will come out of it sooner rather than later, and you will be in better shape than ever before in your life.

To deal with your feelings, you must first get out of “protest mode.” It’s the protest (railing against something) that prolongs the pain and prevents the growth from setting in. Most of the pain is protest. Most of the agony is wishing it weren’t so, longing for the person, being angry that it happened, wanting your old life back, etc. – in other words, protest.

The reason we stay in this protest is that we irrationally believe that if we rail against it – refuse to accept the awful reality (whatever it is) – we can somehow make it change. We know better intellectually, but unconsciously we are trying to make it “go away.” It’s a primitive inner-brain thing – an example of magical thinking.

Protest is what we do when the person we love has died. At first we just can’t accept the fact that the person is GONE, even though we know intellectually that he or she can’t come back. Eventually we come out of protest and face the awful silence of reality. But only then can we move on.

Some people are more prone to protest than others. They have a lot of fight in them. It has to do with control. There’s a control freak in all of us, but those who have deeper “control issues” believe they have control over things they really don’t. By maintaining the illusion of “control,” they think they can force bad things not to happen to them.

In fact, some of your friends are in protest when they tell you “Just let go and move forward.” They are trying to convince themselves that if this ever happened to them (god forbid) they would be able to snap their fingers and make the pain go away.

Getting over someone is much more difficult than most friends or even therapists tend to acknowledge. Accepting the reality of a break-up, especially where there is rejection involved, takes much more time than people allow. And people who need to feel a sense of control, will tend to stay in protest longer. Protest (crying about something, analyzing it to death, being angry about it, etc.) becomes a valiant but vain effort to make an unwanted reality to go away – that inner brain’s wishful thinking.

So many of us squander all of our energy trying to change the unchangeable (even though we are doing it unconsciously).

So if you’ve been trying to get over someone and it seems to be taking too long, consider that you are in protest and vow to come out of it. (Of course, going through abandonment feels as if you’re sitting on a hot stove, so any length of time seems too long. Also, all of that simplistic advice from your friends implies that you SHOULD be able to get over it sooner (they are projecting their own “control issues” onto you).)

The antidote to protest is acceptance. The longer you rail against the reality you are faced with, the longer you delay the process of accepting reality and making the best of it – in other words, moving forward.

Acceptance is harder with abandonment because the person is still alive and this makes it more difficult to give up the ghost.

So, since hope springs eternal, the best way to accept the break up (to come out of protest) is to accept that it is over FOR NOW. This reality must be accepted as it is, soberly and without drama.

Acceptance means that you must make the best of your situation as it is, rather than wishing it were another way. Making the best? Okay, a subject for lengthy discussion, but briefly – it involves being with your feelings, tending to yourself with great empathy, love, and patience, and doing constructive things for yourself that will enhance your life.

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  1. Dena
    August 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Just wanted to say how very moving and yet very true this article is.The words are just honest and true. Thank for writing something so useful and helpful.

  2. Lars
    August 23, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Thanks for putting this out there. It really helps to read and remind yourself that there is solid ground on the horizon, it might be a while before you can stand on it, but it is there, and one is getting closer every day.

  3. Ellen Lee
    September 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Oh my, I think you wrote this just for me (LOL) I feel very connected to this particular article. There is an internal fight going on in me. It is so hard to accept all that is gone. All that will never be. It is hard to want what will come next. And after dealing with some aspects of my new singleness, my old slightly damaged marriage doesn’t seem so awful How screwy is that! But I have no choice but to go forward. So I decided that London for my birthday is a great way to celebrate me. I will be in Stonehedge for my b’day. (Now that’s constructive and enhancing.)

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