Breaking Up In Recovery

Ending relationships is a grieving process and can trigger many underlying issues. We are going to discuss ways in which we can deal with break-ups in a healthy manner while avoiding relapse. Rather than looking for answers to coping with a break-up after it happens, let’s first discuss what steps we can take prior to a break-up that will help solidify our sense of self so that if it does occur, we will be able to focus on grieving the relationship while not getting sideswiped by other issues that can bubble up from the depths during this period of mourning. Putting aside the issue of grieving over the lost relationship, we can identify some other emotional and psychological factors that can wreak havoc on an individual post-break-up. First and foremost is the issue of self-worth. Often times, we enter into a relationship and the other person bolsters up our sense of self-worth. We can all get into the habit of judging our worth based of the way we are reflected back to ourselves by our partner. While there are advantages to this such as gaining insights about ourselves that we might have not otherwise noticed, it can leave us susceptible to judging our self-worth based on another individual’s perception of us. The deeper we find ourselves in this predicament, the more difficult the break up will be due to the fact that we have left ourselves with no foundational structure to support the weight of our grief, and on top of that, the resulting lack of self-esteem now that the other person is not there to help us sustain it. The best way to ensure the most solid foundation is to work to raise our self-worth by engaging in actions that we deem valuable, righteous, and productive. If we start from the perspective of building up our internal structure, we will be more capable of maintaining a true sense of self and integrity.


Once we have built a solid structural foundation capable of withstanding the storms that life throws at us, we are able to truly grieve the loss of a very important person in our lives. As is true of the process of fostering greater levels of self-worth, the process of grief is never one without many painful periods of experience and emotions. This process is best approached with the patience to understand that the process will take as long as the process takes, and with the courage and willingness to allow ourselves to feel the pain in order to make it through to the other side.

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