What nobody tells you when you have been left

(Link al post en español) - Thanks so much Dr. Francisco Acosta and Paulina Stepien.
(Link zur deutschen Version).

They have abandoned you. Don't love you anymore, things have changed, there's someone else... Whatever, it's over. All of a sudden, your love (which previously was just "good") turns into a passionate and absolute one, in a degree only comparable to the pain you feel because of not having them at your side anymore. Suddenly this person becomes "perfect", you cannot live without them. Looking ahead is painful, especially when you cannot see anybody else with you (or even worse, when you imagine them with someone else). Looking back hurts too, remembering moments which will never repeat, and tending to think about them as if they were perfect.

In addition, things get worse when you realize you are completely surrounded by little things that bring you memories, or simply make you think about what hurts the most. You listen to a song they used to like, or the lyrics tell you something you'd like to tell them; you watch a movie, read a book, and every single romantic scene breaks your heart; you walk in the street and see a happy couple, and think "what do they have that I don't?".

And the near future doesn't look good either: you don't like anyone (anyone but that person) or they don't like you... Maybe you shoo them away -pain can be "smelled"-, or maybe your own negativity makes you lose the opportunities you could have. Anyway, even if you succeed with someone else, that won't be the person you would wish to be with.

But maybe the worst of all is when you pester others with your troubles, and they go with that bullshit: "there are plenty more fish in the sea", "you'll find someone better", "they doesn't deserve you" your perfect person is out there waiting for you" and all those well-meaning but useless clichés. You don't care about who is out there, you miss the one you have lost; you don't care how many people are waiting for you, if the only person you love is not one of them; you don't care that you are very valuable, you feel worthless since that special person doesn't value you. Nothing makes sense, nothing is worthwhile without them.

Your loved ones try to help you with positive feelings, they feel the empathy of someone who went through something similar in the past. So they tell you all that is in good faith, and maybe they are not even aware that they are lying to you. The idea is to soften things until they get better, and maybe if you are mislead you'll be able to hold the pieces together until they start patching up themselves up again. But you know all that doesn't relieve your pain: burying it deep just makes you need more time to take it away, and if you don't vomit out the poison you'll maybe never completely remove it. Like that we will begin to speak clearly.

You'll make it, but there's hell ahead

First of all, you are not the first person on this planet to go though something like this, nor the last. It's not something that happens to everyone, but most of us know what heartbreak is. Some of us have even spent a long time (days, weeks months, some even years) pushing our resistance for suffering to the limit. Speaking for myself, everything is etched in my mind: exact dates, all those days I woke up in the morning surprised that I hadn't died (seriously) and thinking a human being couldn't survive that for one single day more. Simply impossible. And then, waking up the next morning, I said to myself "it's amazing, I'm not dead yet; but I won't survive until tomorrow like this. Impossible". I was convinced I wouldn't make it, but I did. And so will you.

Because I have good and bad news for you: getting well is possible, even recovering completely; but the way ahead is hell. If you think you've suffered until now, be aware that things will probably get much, much worse.

Now your perceptions are distorted by the inner emptiness and the pain, you can't trust what your head says and a lot less your heart. One day before that person abandoned you they weren't as amazing, marvellous, extraordinary, superhuman and magic as it seemed to you after that. Have they suddenly become that "extraterrestrial"? By no means. The truth is, they were just as you saw them when you were together and you perfectly knew them. "Nice", "good", "great", whatever, but just that. The superhuman part is an illusion created by your own needs and you know it.

In fact you don't miss this person as much as you think. A part of it is that you miss the feeling to be loved, the feeling to have "someone". This emptiness of lost is what actually hurts (who was before in that place is not the main point here). But our natural impulsive instinct is associating "emptiness" to "the person who until yesterday was there".

This is our mind's trap, we remember where to seek our needs' supply and that's where our nature takes us first. But don't fool yourself: you don't love that person more than you love them yesterday when you both were "good". You don't really miss them, it's not losing them that hurts; it's the lost itself, especially if you believe they could still love you because they already did it before.

Let's talk about those two happy lovers you see on the street. Maybe it's not the first time you see them; maybe you saw them time ago, when you were happily walking with your loved one... That day they were alone, you didn't even realize they were there, but they looked at you both and thought exactly the same things about you that you think now about them. That's how the world works, we all go through very good and very bad moments in life and everyone around you will have marvellous days and little disasters same as you. Remember it next time.

Ok, what's next?

"Your perfect person is waiting for you". Well, maybe or maybe not. Maybe some will show up in the future, or maybe not; if they come, maybe they'll be similar to what you have known until know or maybe totally different. But all that is not important now: first you have to make it yourself, stick your broken parts together, get your self esteem and the control of your life back, regain your happiness, your integrity, your present and your future. No matter whether someone will come out or not. Right now you have a sickness called heartbreak which is devastating, destroys the heart and affects the whole person; so first of all you need to heal and totally recover. Once you don't need anyone who come covering your needs, we'll see whether you bump into someone good enough for your requirements -and you for theirs- or not.

But there are other more urgent things by now. Heartbreak is like any physical illness, you need to follow a sometimes not pleasant treatment: now your process requires some work that will make everything shorter and enormously increase your opportunities to get successfully out of all this. You'll keep just a clean scare, you'll remember what you went through as a part of your past experience and lessons, but the pain will have no future influence in your life. The path is clear but hard: there will be a million times you won't want to follow it and do this work, so you will have to force yourself.

Forcing yourself on being happy

This is a matter of doing things you like, finding pleasant activities, doing that project you always wanted to start but never did by having no tiime or energy. It seems nonsense, but you need to have discipline in order to be happy; especially when all you wish right now is sinking even more. Go to the cinema, to the beach, to the park, start a course, learn something, read what you had half, do sports or play something funny... Whatever, do your personal list and stick to it, and don't let yourself even a moment to get down. If circumstances pull you down, at least you are doing everything to get up; if you find yourself bad and pain makes you step backwards, try to focus on what is up to you, and do what helps you to keep going on.

The same happens regarding "invasive thoughts". Admit what you had before is ended up; you won't be able to avoid sudden memories or thoughts, we are just humans and this things happen, but you do can fight before breaking down. Always work to keep those thoughts away (what that person thinks or would think about you, what they do, what they said, what others tell you about them) and keep working hard to focus on building your new life stage. This is especially difficult when you both have to be still in contact or have people in common, but anyway. I'm not saying you to became a robot and never fail, just to do everything possible to recover. Negative things may come from the outside, but more important than this, is that you begin to build positive ones from your inner self. Do all you can, and if you have "one of those days" just start again. Do what you have to do and be patient.

It's a constant fight, and even the good things will seem difficult... And many times you'll think you have made progress and then suddenly will feel totally down and destroyed again. One day you'll wake up full of energy, something will make you laugh, you'll start thinking you'll make it after all, and at any moment any little detail, a song, a comment, seeing that person or someone in common, whatever will knock you down. Don't worry: keep on with your recovery process. Little by little, very slowly, knocking you down will be more and more difficult and you will stand up faster and faster. You cannot expect more than this: it's the normal healing process.

During this time there are two circumstances especially important that may happen: first, you yourself wanting to show them you are recovering and even doing well; second, they show up again around you or maybe even want to restart the relationship.

In the first case: just forget about it. We have the temptation to show them (or the person in common) that we are ok, we feel better, we don't need them anymore... But that means looking backwards. This implies that you keep thinking "what they think about me"; make up your mind, you don't have to care about that anymore. You don't have to prove anything to anyone, even less to whom voluntarily decided to step out of your life; your private life and your feelings are not their business anymore since the moment your relationship ended up. During our recovery process every single sign of giving importance to this person (who we want to stop having influence in our life) is an obstacle in our way. The temptation is very strong and for a moment we may think it will make us feel good, but in fact it will be a step back: this means if you do it you'll be one step further from your freedom. Maybe you can't avoid thinking about it, but fight to always keep looking forwards. Remember this: "backwards" is not the right path to go forwards. Move to where the way out of this is.

In the second case: think twice before you decide about this. This situation may happen when the one who abandons sees the other one doing well without them; roles change and they start missing you -that's what they think, but actually not true-. The truth is that they don't love you more than before, they didn't magically start wanting you because somehow they have found out you are a different person than one day before breaking up. But what's going on then? They are now feeling emptiness too and it happens to them same as to you, their instinct makes them look for their "love food" where they had it before. Usually you learn loving someone by knowing them with the frequent contact, whereas what you feel when they are not there anymore is not actual love but just a need of love supply. There was a reason (or a person) for this person to decide they wanted to go their way without you; now the circumstances may have changed, but true love is something more than circumstances. Whatever you do in this case, if your ex is fooling theirselves at least don't you do the same. Keep calm.

So if they want to come back, the decision is just yours. But think you have to get your life back without depending on anyone else: get well, get recovered and free again and, once you are a "healthy" person and your mind is again clear, in case there's someone who meets your expectations and requirements go for it regardless they are anyone else or even your ex. But remember: nobody should be a medicie to heal your pain; that has to be entirely you yourself.

After all that long, hard way, with some ups and many downs, there will come a moment when you will finally be free. Since it's a gradual process probably you won't notice it at first, but some time after it happens you will be surprised when say to yourself "hey, there's some time since last day I felt bad". That will happen, and it will be the very best moment of your way: when you suddenly realize you had already won and you didn't even know it.

But will there be any remaining after-effects? Will you be able to start a new relationship as if nothing bad had happened before? Will you again have doubts or distrusts? Is it possible to get totally out of this? Really?

Getting fully recovered depends on you

Yes, you do can get again healthy and you can get truly out of this; but it depends much on you. This is much like having medical problem in which rehabilitation is the key to recover functionality again: staying at home doing nothing or doing the exercises lazily is easier, but if you do them -and they hurt- you will actually be able to get back to your 100%. Even more, because the new you will be much better, mature, stronger and -yes- able to enjoy life fearless and be happy.

Doing nothing, letting yourself go, swimming in your own pity, not accepting reality as it is, dreaming with an ideal person who will come to rescue you... All of them may well lead you to get cripled inside. But doing the right things, taking the situation as it really is, assuming you are just human and you'll ned to go through a bad "black" period before getting better, working everyday doing your best to get up again each time you fall... All of them will lead you to recover with only a scar to remind you the bad experience but just that.

And by the way, your recovery doesn't imply that you have a "vaccine" to avoind suffering forever or being abandoned again; nothing guarantees what will happen in the future. But you will have a much bigger inner strengh, you will be more self confident and brave, and you certainly will have more possibilities to get over any other disaster that may come across in your life. Knowing yourself deeper, being aware of your powers, will make you live better.

So, if you have been left alone and you are in the darkess, just start moving. Nobody says getting to the exit will be easy, you will get lost a thousand times when you thought you were on the right way; but the end of the tunnel is there and you have all you nead to reach it. A stage in your life is ended up and the next one is waiting for you: decide how you want it to be and start working to build it.

(Note about the book: it's available to download for free at the end of the original post, but at the moment only in spanish. As soon as there is any translation or update about it I'll let you know and will post here the new download links).