Feeling into the pain of loss, rejection and grief can stop this stuckness
Life is dynamic. Change is part of life and the ebb and flow of relationships is no different from this. But it can be devastating to lose a relationship. It is a common enough feature of human nature to want to hold on, to cling to the past and imagine what might have been. (Entire books have been written on the phenomena of people going back in life to find an ex!) Some times this can cause us to remain stuck and prevent us from fully committing in a new relationship or it can simply be the pattern that develops as a way of thinking; a continued wishing for what we cannot have, a grass is always greener mentality. Intuitively we know this is not good for us but we still seem to be stuck in relentless regret and what ifs.
There are complex psychological reasons for staying stuck in an addictive pining for what is not real. After all, it is a fantasy to imagine what might be or what might have been because it is clearly not what is! Staying stuck there prevents us from being present to what is actually going on right now. It is a way of defending from feeling (perhaps fear of being hurt if you commit to a new relationship, perhaps feeling the full gamut of your abandonment wound or the pain of losing other things/people in life, or the pain of mourning a period in your life, say the loss of youth or child-bearing years). The list is endless. But the truth remains! When you choose to stay stuck in the past you also refuse to allow yourself to be real in the present. But I don’t feel like I have a choice, I hear you say.
We always have choice but sometimes we don’t feel like it. The relationship itself has been lost but it may also serve as a replacement loss, that is, it becomes the focus and other associated losses are not recognized and grieved. Therapy can be invaluable here in helping us see and understand ourselves more clearly and with more compassion.
It may help to ask how does it serve me to keep me thinking about this old relationship? What does it stop me from feeling/facing now in the present about my current relationship/life?
Feeling into the pain of loss, rejection and grief can stop this stuckness. As always, feeling the feelings is a way of moving through them. But if you are stuck here in the past, be sure to contact a therapist to get support to understand yourself and to find the way to greater freedom, peace and happiness in your life.
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