• Jamie Simkins

Break Free of the Bottleneck! 7 Reasons Why You're Not Over Your Breakup Yet



Are you struggling to get over a breakup or "the one that got away?" There are 7 reasons that we get hung-up or stall out in our healing after a breakup. Take a look at the 7 areas below - do you see yourself in any of them?


1. EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT - feeling a sense of closeness to your ex


You can tell you still feel a sense of closeness or attachment to your ex if you believe you won’t ever feel the same connection with another person or you think sex will never be as good with someone else.


Why it’s bad: If you still feel bonded to your ex, you’ll never get over them and never be able to move onto the “one wild and precious life” that awaits you.


Emotional attachment to an ex is linked to feelings of distress which studies have shown can be associated with depression.



2. PROXIMITY ATTEMPTS


This means you’re probably still in contact with your ex in some way - even if indirectly through social media monitoring, hanging onto their belongings, or pulling an Olivia Rodrigo and “driving alone past their street.”


I know it feels like a compulsion. You just can't seem to help yourself. You might feel addicted and having contact in some way helps soothe the pain for a moment. And you're exactly right - you actually ARE addicted! Neuroscience tells us that the breakup brain is similar to that of the addicted brain.


Reaching out or stalking their social media channels is like getting a hit of your drug, only it's the counterfeit street crack version. The high never lasts and the shame hangover is worse than the craving itself.


When that shame sets in, you feel bad about your inability to quit him and then you spiral into self-loathing and then panic that you'll never get over this and you feel desperate and alone and afraid which then drives you to reach out to them again and...the cycle continues.


3. HOPE FOR RECONCILIATION


You long to get back together with your ex and you can’t quite accept the breakup.


Oof. I’ve been there. I know that feeling. I know you might be thinking, “I just want them back.” But sometimes the story we tell ourselves about how much we need an ex back is really the story we tell ourselves about, well...ourselves. This pain you are feeling right now is indicating to you that what you need is you. Your broken heart needs tending by the only person who can REALLY make it better: you. Not your ex.


4. ANGER/REVENGE RUMINATION


If you struggle with feelings of anger or thoughts of revenge toward your ex, chances are you’re replaying certain memories over and over in your head. This is called rumination. Maybe you even wish you could make your ex pay in some way or wish you could force them to see things your way. Maybe sometimes your anger is even directed at yourself.


Why it’s bad: It’s normal to experience some anger after a breakup, but if you’re getting stuck in rumination-cycles, it can be harmful to your health. This is because your body doesn’t know the difference between events in real time and events in the past. That means, every time you THINK about that fight you had with the ex or ruminate on how they mistreated you, your body thinks it’s happening in real time and enacts the appropriate stress response. Basically, you’re stressing yourself out and over time this can have a negative effect on your health.


5. NO CLOSURE/ANALYZING WHAT HAPPENED


You feel like you have no clear answers for why the breakup occurred. You long for closure.


You probably see closure as a breakup cure-all…if you could just have one (or ‘just one more’) closure conversation with your ex then you could move on.


It’s human to want answers, but in this case obsessing over answers is actually delaying your recovery.


6. INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS/IMAGES


You’ve probably had the experience of going about your day and..bam! A memory of your ex pops into your head out of nowhere with no warning. You suddenly feel a flood of emotions and now you’re totally off your game. It’s unsettling how much these thoughts can derail you and you just wish they would STOP.


When they pop into your mind, they freak you out and upset you because they’re so involuntary. Even the positive memories catch you off guard and leave you feeling distressed.



7. UNHEALTHY AVOIDANCE


This means you’re going to pretty extreme measures to avoid all reminders of your ex. You can’t listen to music or watch certain movies or go to certain places because they all remind you of your ex and the pain - so you go out of your way to avoid them. Maybe you’re numbing out with substances or rebound hookups.


You probably believe if you let yourself feel the feelings that you’ll never recover. You’re overwhelmed by all of the possible reminders, so instead of coping you just shut down and shut out.



Did any of these hang-ups resonate with you? Where do you see yourself getting hung up? The good news is there are ways to get unstuck. You don’t have to be a slave to your hangups. Break free of the bottlenecks - decide today that you will accept your breakup and move on once and for all. That is the first step. If you’re struggling with the how - a therapist or coach can be a crucial tool in your recovery. It’s helpful to work with someone who understands the neuroscience of breakup recovery. Click here to schedule a consultation to see if I might be a good fit for you - and if not, I will help you find someone who is.


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