Thursday, November 20, 2008

Relationship Post #423456: Healing From Shit

Dear folks who've been dumped, been through a divorce, a breakup, or some other horrible relationship-ending explosion of shit,

How often have you heard this phrase: "Why can't you just get over it?"

If you're like me, or everybody else I know that's been through a divorce, or a breakup, or a death, or getting dumped outta a long-term relationship, the answer is "a fuck of a lot, all the time, from just about everybody you know."

It usually comes from someone with the best intentions -- like, you've just got done with time #2034 of bitching about the ex and you're either angry or sad or some wicked combination of the two, and somebody who hates seeing you like that lets fly with that phrase. It's out of concern, usually (usually -- I'd say that Trix's boss who said to her, snarkily, "it's been a month now, why can't you just get over it" was probably slightly less than concerned for her well being) and its certainly almost never meant maliciously but --

-- here's the thing. It's not like you can switch on a switch and "get over it." That's not the way it works.

As I've mentioned before, the breakup leaves everybody with a list of fucking outstanding issues. Since nobody ever follows my advice on "how to properly break up with people," most of the time they think the best thing to do is to be quote-unquote "honest" and tell the other person just exactly why they're breaking up with 'em, and those psychological scars, combined, mind you, with feelings of abandonment and fear and depression and two thousand other emotions that just come along with any breakup, no matter how big or small, run fucking DEEP.

And the way it works is: you have to work through every single one of them, one at a time, painfully, before you can heal. And just so everybody knows: that can take a really long time. How long? They say that you can't fully heal from a relationship until HALF AS MUCH TIME HAS PASSED AS THE RELATIONSHIP LASTS. Did you hear that? Half as much time as the relationship lasts.

Now, that's just a general rule of thumb. That's obviously not hard-and-fast by any means. Some people heal faster than others, obviously, and some people heal slower. There's people out there who've been through a divorce or death or breakup or whatever who never heal. And sometimes they heal outwardly but are still suffering like damn inwardly. Like: I "healed" from my breakup with The Ex Before Last, outwardly, really quickly. Like I was glad I was out of the relationship, really glad. But I spent three years -- THREE YEARS, and that's just about exactly half the length of the relationship -- having pretend arguments with her in my head. Going over ALL the hurt, all the bad feelings, all the stupid crap I went through bit by bit by bit until somehow, magically, I finally worked it out to my satisfaction.

That's how I do it. Pretend arguments in my head. Or "draft" emails that I never send, that's my current M.O. But other people do it differently.

And this where I get really condescending -- to the folks who say "why can't you get over it," you honestly can't know until you've been through it. You say to yourself "but I've been through all kinds of breakups!" Yes, maybe you have. But every breakup effects everybody differently. And the length of a relationship makes a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference. And how the breakup happened makes a huge difference too, like a really huge one. A mutual "parting of the ways" hurts far less than getting dumped for a supermodel or even a totally normal average person, y'know?

And even if the person you're concerned about is currently happy in a NEW relationship? Honestly, that doesn't make a bit of difference. Again, speaking of the Ex-Before-Last, I was VERY happy in a relationship the entire time I was carrying on arguments with my ex in my head. I know there's some of you out there who feel me -- yeah, you KNOW you should be focusing on the positive, you know you should have your head 100% in the relationship you're in 'cause it's awesome and rad and whatever else, but guess wha? You can't because there's still some healing to do, and it takes how long it takes.

(And furthermore: even if the person you're healing from SUCKS BALL-SACK? Doesn't matter one bit. Just doesn't. Because it isn't about the quality or quantity of the person. It's about PAIN and HEALING and SCARS and all that stuff cannot be rationalized away by saying "well, I'm better off now, aren't I?" Although it certainly HELPS to tell yourself that, sometimes, it is not a cure-all by any means).

So people? Be patient with the healing folks, okay? Honestly. It takes how long it takes. Sometimes it takes a scary amount of time. But it does happen.


LAP said...

It's not as simple a solution as "It won't heal if you pick it", because as much as you are wounded, sometimes it's like you've got a virus that can relapse when something as simple as even a nice memory might come up.
For me it's just the amount of time it takes to heal from the portions of the breakup that I am are mad and disappointed with myself is endless. That inner monologue and pretend dialogue is essential but it totally sucks.

Anonymous said...

or you could be like me and not deal at all with any of it, until about 3 years have passed and you know your totally safe and in a new good place and have some much needed distance and THEN you begin to let yourself dive in and process and mourn it all. i mean, theres no right way or time limit is there? there cant be. -kells

MissTrixi said...

Boy howdy! The 'Relationship Blog' - whoopee!

I have to say my "favorite"* phrase that I've heard a million and one times is 'Divorces happen'. It's often delivered to me with a shrug of the shoulders and sigh from someone that has NEVER BEEN THROUGH ONE. Indeed...Divorce's DO happen. So do car accidents. Sometimes there's a fender bender with little damage that both drivers work through and take care of quickly, and sometimes your car is totaled by some asshole doing meth who's pissed because he might have to go to traffic school because you were simply "in his way", but he tries to skip town because it's gone to trial and you are still stuck with the medical and repair bills to pay out of your pocket. Yes, 'car accidents happen'. Did I mention that said totaled car is a MINI Cooper?

My jonny rules when it comes to uber awesomeness and a big heart. But all that hot luvin and tenderness puts a band-aide on the gaping wound that my ex left. It's healed over alot, but it's deep, and healing - slowly. I'm in love, madly so, but I'm still trying to heal at the same time. People are a complicated mess. Our emotions have mulitple facets and we function in different ways. Once you walk in my shoes brother, and I mean get dumped by your spouse of many years, left behind crying and alone in the house you worked for and shared, get saddled with all of the bills, have to clean up (again ALONE) all of the belongings, reminders and keepsakes of your life together as you vacate the house that is now in foreclosure (and that is just a teeny tiny portion kids) THEN you can start to tell me how I should be healing.

None of this is to say that any of us that have been hurt are weak. Hell, I'm stronger than I've ever been in my whole fucking life, but we are still wounded nontheless. And try as *I* might to get over it, I won't speed the process along to please others. Hell, *I* want to quit hurting, but this is not something that can be dictated or regimented. I still shed tears, sometimes every day for a week. in my case, my tears are not about lost love ....not's about the loss of trust. I think that's what hurts anyone the most, and it brings home jonny's point about honesty. When you lose trust, when honesty is not there then there's nothing to hold onto but the pain. Trust and honesty comes from respect. Every person that has ever touched your life, especially those that have shared part of that life with you, *deserves* respect.

So my point is...what IS my point? point is...
'You are so right jonny!'

Oh..and "I loves ya babah!"

*the use of quotations at the beginning of this piece is to excentuate the lie that lies within


**soapbox gets gingerly set in the corner for future use**

Beques said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vfleblanc said...

It hurts so bad to be dumped when you feel you are doing all you can to make a relationship work. That causes a lot of pain and disillusionment and a real lack of trust. When that person also leaves you in a financial bind, it hurts even worse that they don't care. It would be easier to get over all of it, if you could realize it wasn't your failing that caused the situation as it turned out. It was another person's lack of regard, integrity, and just his and/or her inability to think of anyone but him or herself! The person at the receiving end of all of that human weakness should not have to then carry that pain in his heart, and it feels not fair at all. It takes time to get over it. It is like being raped on a less horrible level. It is one person causing another person psychic pain. It sucks and it does take time to heal. It is so fortunate that you two found each other and that you both know how it feels to be injured. It means you will be much kinder to each other, and that is a very good thing.

ashley said...

I usually make cd mixes and imagine myself having a zoey deschanel moment like in Almost Famous where she says, "this song explains why I'm leaving home," except mine is a little more like, "this song explains why I'm still not over it."

Thanks for your infinitie relationship wisdom, it's truly comforting.

Many hugs, kiss, and love to you and Trixi.

ashley said...


Geez. I need to lay off the pot. Wocka. wocka. wocka.

Molly P said...

Hugs, Jon and Trix. I know, I know, I know...We are all broken but all the more beautiful for it. Could we be so empathetic and loving without giant holes for it to flow through? Ugh. Divorce is so awful. For some people, it's something that "happens." But I will never understand those people; they will always be an alien species to me, just like the people who want to work for a giant corporation when they graduate. Just a different breed altogether.