Being ourselves means sometimes having to find the courage to stand alone," - Brene Brown
"Why are you leaving? You made a commitment."
"You should apologize to him," said her mother.
"Just wait it out. It'll get better," her friend said.
"What'd you do to make him cheat on you?" said her coworker.
Getting out of a long-term relationship, going through separation, or initiating/finalizing a divorce are life changes that some deem worse than death. The grief that comes with seeing someone you've loved, given your life to, had children with, or made a commitment or even knowing that they are around in the world can be devastating, especially if you didn't initiate it.
For those who do initiate the break-up or divorce, it can be as equally devastating, simply for the fact that they are grieving the loss of a dream. Most humans who think they will get married don't think, "Yeah, I'm going to get married and maybe it'll work out or maybe it won't." You don't think it will end. You think it's going to be forever.
Remember that grief is a continuing process. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but if you find yourself having difficulty adjusting to where it's impeding your functioning, seeking a therapist may be helpful.
Robin Helget, LSCSW
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” -Viktor Frankl
I’ve spent many hours that likely accumulate to over tens of days thinking about how I could have done something differently or what I will do in that situation next time. These hours are an accumulation of zoning out during the day to spending nights wide awake. Many of these hours were spent thinking, trying to control or trying to change situations that were no way in my control.
I so desperately wanted this situation to be different. Can you relate? DId you want to do everything in your power to change the outcome, to re-open the closed door, to make him stay? Did you spend hours thinking about what you can do only to wind up sleep-deprived and more frustrated? This is often what happens when we try to control situations that are not meant to be controlled- they are meant to just happen.
I wanted it to be different, but it never was.
SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED
One day, I remember being tired. Exhausted, really. Tired of wishing for things to be different. Tired of wanting him to put in more effort, to think differently. Tired of wanting the weight to just fall off. Tired of getting angry over the littlest things. I was tired. I was so tired of my own self-loathing, situation I was currently in, and self-pity that I knew what I had to do. The only question I had was why it took me so long to understand what the solution was. Me.
I couldn’t change the past. I was not doing well at predicting the future and was really anxious the more I thought about it. Then, I knew it would be up to me.
If you’ve felt similar or currently find your headspace somewhere similar, know this: It’s going to be up to you. Many times we can’t change our circumstances, but we can change ourselves. We can change our perspectives. We can learn new skills. We can WANT to learn so that it withholds the values that mean so much to us.
If I don’t? If you don’t decide to change something within yourself and continue to spin your wheels rehashing that same thing over and over in your head with no willingness to do anything about it, then you’re there. You’re going to be stuck there until you decide to do something different. If you wait for someone else or wait for your situation to change, you’re going to be there: waiting...for a very long time.
Viktor Frankl, a survivor of the Holocaust, wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, reflecting on his experience through physical and psychological torture. He couldn’t change his circumstances. He was in the worst place you could imagine, constantly being beaten, bones sticking out of his skin and being forced to walk on bloody and blistered feet. He had no food, little water, and was walked in the sewer of friends he watched die in front of him. He knew he had little power to do something about it, but he did. He changed his perspective in his delirious head. Amongst the horrors in the concentration camp, Frankl actively chose to look for the meaning. He chose to focus on the image and the memories of his family and wife. To relive those experiences in his head. He couldn’t change his circumstances, but he could change what he contributed to his suffering. He decided to not be a participant in it. Instead, he decided to change himself.
Robin Helget, LMSW
Millennial Life Coach
Therapist. Millennial. Social Worker. Dog Mom. Friend. Sister. Empath. INFJ. Lover of ice cream.