A lonely evening, a melancholy mood, a glass of wine – and the hands are already typing a message to the ex. The one from whom you left with thoughts never to get into such a relationship again.
There was, of course, good in them, and for some reason now it is remembered much more vividly than his offensive attacks, stinging remarks, periods of coldness and flirting with your girlfriend. And this is the very moment when you have to say “stop” to yourself. Use common sense and understand what exactly is pushing you into the unsafe arms of your ex.
Don’t let your brain confuse you
To begin with, it is worth noting that the brain tends to simultaneously focus on the bad, and keep the good in long-term memory. This post-optimism can play a cruel joke – so it’s time to remember what went wrong in the relationship and why you left. Surely there were good reasons.
In addition, the brain, according to scientists, is literally “programmed” to seek and maintain closeness with others. Dr. Matthew Lieberman, an expert in neuropsychology, is convinced that the ability to form and maintain social connections is the most important indicator of happiness, emotional health and well-being for people of all genders and ages.
But toxic relationships are by no means healthy and happy. And what we need is secure connections, in which there is a place for mutual respect and care. So, if you’ve already reminded yourself why you think your ex is toxic, it’s worth concluding that returning to him will not give you what you really need. No warmth, no love, no acceptance.
Everyone is sad and lonely. In this state, we are vulnerable and can easily take the wrong step. But it will only lead to new problems. Support, compassion, and kindness are not only found in love relationships.
If your personal life is still on pause, it is worth remembering that you probably have family and friends. And if the brain requires the “connection” of significant contacts for happiness, then it’s time to take care of yourself and establish these contacts. This will make you feel more resilient, emotionally stronger, and keep you from falling back into toxic relationships.
Here are 6 points to support yourself at a crucial moment.
- Turn off the news. Stop feeding your anxiety and depressed moods with negative messages. If necessary, set aside time in the morning to learn about major events. But do not dive into savoring creepy details and pessimistic predictions – do not increase stress, it is already enough.
- Look inside yourself. What are you experiencing? Sadness, anxiety, loneliness, or maybe fear or anger? All emotions have a right to exist. And if they already exist, it is important to notice and recognize them, not masking the standard “I’m fine”.
- Remember that memory keeps good. This property of the mind is to forget offenses and mistakes, to keep romantic evenings, travels, feelings. We also need closeness. But the sudden longing for the ex’s hug is most likely just a need for a hug, not the ex. Better hug your mom, girlfriend or dog.
- Expand your social circle. Think of your school friend, whom you rarely meet, but each time you communicate as if you saw each other yesterday. Call your family – those you enjoy chatting with. Write to a colleague from a past job who had so much fun dining out with. Go to a neighbor with a box of chocolates. If you think about it, most of them are surrounded by people with whom you can spend time pleasantly.
- Make yourself happy. In times of sadness, it’s easy to forget what gives us pleasure. Have a list prepared in advance for such a case. What can be in it? A kind book by Fannie Flagg? Favorite French comedy? Homemade cupcake recipe? Or maybe while no one sees, dancing to stupid music or improvised home karaoke? It would be great to feel connected to the body – doing stretching, running, finding an online workout, or just standing in the shower, focusing on the sensations of the skin under the streams of warm water.
- Practice gratitude. Perhaps this is the simplest and most effective practice for raising your mood. The secret is to apply it regularly, you can even put a daily “reminder” on your phone, and also find something new every time. For example, today you are grateful for the sunny day. Tomorrow – because you have a permanent job. The day after tomorrow – for having a wonderful dream. We are used to taking things for granted, but the practice of gratitude helps us appreciate what we have and notice the good.
You can also contact a specialist. Sometimes psychotherapy with a careful and competent professional can help you understand yourself and change the pattern of choosing “inappropriate” partners. Or feel the resources within yourself to cope with bouts of loneliness and melancholy. Or find new interests that will captivate you and give you joy and pleasure. In addition, it is with a good therapist that you can establish meaningful, trusting and respectful contact that will help you find support in a sad moment.