I have been an avid reader since I was 18 years old and I have found that I love nonfiction books too. I went through a difficult breakup when I was 22 years old and there was one book that helped me get through that time in my life. I want to share this book with all of you, because it is the one that helped me wake up every morning and got me out the door to work.
At first there were days where I would count the hours until I could go back to bed, because it was the only way that I could stop the pain I was feeling. Naps were another time that I could forget the pain, so I tried to nap as often as possible. This breakup was a dark period of time for me and this book helped me heal and become a stronger person.
The Book About How To Survive Your Breakup “Getting Past Your Breakup by Susan Elliot”
There are three parts to this book that include:
1. Honoring your emotions and having “no contact” with your ex
2. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally
3. Dealing with any challenges you may have
The three things that I love about this book are:
1. This book is full of action steps that you can take. I am an action oriented person and I love the idea that I can do something in order to accomplish my goal of “moving on”.
2. The author went through a similar traumatic experience in her own life and became a grief counselor in order to help others.
3. There is an online community for people who are going through the same pain as you that you can find at www.gettingpastyourbreakup.com. This book was the result of everything that was happening in the forum on this website.
How You Will Feel After Your Breakup
Since Susan is a grief counselor, she was able to point out that when you go through a breakup it is very similar to losing a loved one. You are still grieving even though this loved one did not pass. Everyone needs to honor their feelings, especially when they have a significant loss. Do not let anyone else tell you how you should feel. It doesn’t matter if the relationship was 3 months or two years these feelings are yours and yours alone. You are the only one who knows what the relationship meant to you.
If you feel that you need to eat ice cream or French fries all day, then that is what you should do. Allow yourself the time to cry for hours and stay in bed. Give yourself at least 14 days to grieve before you begin the next step. If you do not think you can continue to the next step, then you might want to consider counseling.
Once I decided to call my heartache “grief”, I was able to feel the hurt that was inside me. I found that I was more accepting of the pain when I was feeling “grief” instead of “heartbreak”.
It doesn’t matter if the relationship was 3 months or two years these feelings are yours and yours alone.
Surviving the Process
In the book, Susan points out that grief is a cyclical process and not a linear process. The stages bounce back and forth and you will not go from one stage to the next easily. Each day will be different and today you might be in step 3 and then tomorrow you will be back at step 1. This is very normal and it does not mean you are failing during this process. You do not need to start all over again. Acknowledge that this is part of the process and that this is what is supposed to be happening.
Knowing this made me a stronger person, much stronger than I was before. Before I would become very discouraged if I found myself back at step 1, because I did not know if could get to step 2 yet again. Once I read about the cyclical process, I was able to continue on and get through each day no matter what the day was like.
Another important step in this process is to have no contact with your ex, which Susan calls “NC”. There are 7 excuses that people give as to why they need to contact their ex and Susan actually shows you how to get past these excuses. The online support group at www.gettingpastyourbreakup.com is run by Susan and the members all agree that the no contact step has helped them heal and move on with their lives. The members in this community all support each other and share stories in order to let other members know that they are not alone.
Knowing this made me a stronger person, much stronger than I was before.
Action Steps And How To Survive A Breakup
There are a few action steps that you can do that will help you heal. Everyone can start journaling every day, write a gratitude list, write affirmations and repeat them whenever they are needed, have a date night with yourself each week, write down new goals and how you will achieve them and start a relationship inventory.
The most important part of an action step is my absolute favorite and it includes finding new interests and hobbies. There is a space inside you that needs to be filled and you get to choose whether or not you want to fill that void with something positive or another bad relationship.
“I don’t know when it clicked, but it did. For months I cried and walked the floor. I had night phobias and no confidence. But I wrote in my journal, worked on my self-esteem, and learned to be good to myself. I found creative things to do with new and interesting people. All along I thought I was just ‘keeping busy’, but found that I was actually, unwillingly, building the life I’ve always wanted. The breakup was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
These action steps are my favorite, because they helped me become the person that I am today. Throughout my healing process, I kept busy by doing lots of things, as you probably know if you have read any of my other blog posts. I have continued to try new hobbies and interests as they have become available to me. No, I did not enjoy everything that I tried, but the point is that I did try them. However, I did find a few things that I fell in love with and I met some really nice people in the process.
The challenges you might face are covered at the end of the book. A few challenges are helping the children that are involved, how to create boundaries, how to say no and how to avoid toxic friendships. Sometimes creating boundaries and saying no is difficult for people. It is also difficult to put yourself first, because you don’t want to seem “selfish”.
The truth is that you have to be the one who lives with yourself, so you might as well know how to love yourself. Susan says that we need to “embrace the silence” in our lives. If you cannot live with yourself, then how do you think someone else can live with you?
Take good care of yourself, before you start to take care of someone else. I’m not saying that you should be neglecting someone else in your life, but you should be good to yourself and then take care of everyone else.
While there are guidelines, like the ones above, on what you should do after a breakup in order to heal, you are the only one that can decide what is best for you. Just be aware that there are many people who have been through something similar and that they are willing to help you in any way that they can. This book would be a good start, if you are struggling to find peace in your breakup.
Curled Up with a Good Book
“Elliott delivers the goods with a book that can help anyone get past a broken heart, and be stronger for it…The book provides solid, usable information told with compassionate understanding that really jumpstarts a heart that is on standby…The tools are priceless, and the inspiration to come out on top is what really makes this book stand out in the ocean of other self-help titles out there.”
ForeWord This Week, 4/22/09
“Each of the book’s steps has been thoughtfully developed from the author’s personal experience and her training and experience as a grief counselor.”
“This book identifies the frequent mistakes people make during the early days of a breakup and explains how to avoid them. [Elliott] shows how to use the pain to grow, reassess your goals, and create a healthier life.”
If He’s Just Not That into You told a woman how to spot a man who’s not really interested in a relationship with her—and how to deal with it proactively—this follow-up is for those, male and female, who’ve been blindsided by a breakup after thinking Everything Is Fine. Speaking less this time from a guy’s perspective and more as someone who has been dumped and survived, Behrendt tackles the often inevitable symptoms of a broken attachment: the obsessive thinking (and calling and e-mailing), the crying, the debilitating depression (and its effects on one’s job performance), the crazy acting-out, the food and spending issues, the friend burnout.
It’s a classic single-woman scenario: you really like this guy, but he’s giving mixed messages. You make excuses, decide he’s confused, afraid of commitment. Behrendt, a former executive story editor for Sex and the City and a formerly single (now happily married) guy who knows all the excuses provides a simple answer: he’s just not that into you. Stop kidding yourself, let go and look for someone else who will be. After all, as Behrendt sensibly puts it, if a (sane) guy really likes you, there ain’t nothing that’s going to get in his way. If you’re not convinced yet, by all means read this smart, funny and surprisingly upbeat little book, full of q s and a s covering every excuse woman has ever made to avoid admitting to herself that a man just wasn’t that smitten with her.