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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why Not Pick Your Pain

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The end of a once-loving relationship usually carries emotional prices that both sides must pay. Whether you were "the dump-er," or someone who "got dumped" really doesn't matter. Love's end doesn't have the same conclusion or outcome as a tennis match or a ball game.

Declare yourself "the winner" all that you like. It's a lie. By default, both sides are most often the losers. There's a wide assortment of emotional prices to be paid, on both sides of the Lost Love Ledger:

Ostracize the Pariah. First, there's the simple fact that none of us lives in a bubble. All of our actions are subject to the review and judgment of others. So even if you left a former love who experiences more pain than you feel, you still may suffer when others you still care about express their disapproval of your behaviour by cutting you off.

Shame on You! You don't have to still hear the one you've left behind hurling insults at your back as you walk out the door. The echoes of those cries of outraged betrayal, abandonment and pain will haunt anyone who has a shred of common humanity left to them. Even if you really don't care any longer for the one you've left behind, you did care for them at one time. So if you're causing them to suffer now, you can't help but feel some sort of shame about the consequences of your actions. If you don't, you may be worse than a narcissist. You may be a bit pathological, or worse.

Lonely Street. There's almost never a "winner take all" end to an affair. That means that both the person who does the dumping and the one who gets dumped are likely to lose friendship at just the time when their pain makes them need such support. Loneliness will invariably follow in the wake of these events.

How Could He - Or She? The pain of lost love is usually accompanied by confusion ("how could this happen to me?"), outrage, a sense of betrayal, a desire for vengeance, a fearful need for escape, guilt, depression, even terror of threatening future events and potential crises, including enormous health risks or even worse.

I'm No Good. The most insidious damage caused by love's end can come in the form of losing the capacity to properly and appropriately maintain one's love for one's self. It's deeper than just losing "self-esteem" or personal approval. Real dangers can arise for those who suffer parting with a loved one by retreating into a self-hating despair. These losses can lead to a wide variety of self-destructive behaviours, from addiction to substances or to meaningless sexual encounters, or even to suicide.

No Silver Bullets. There's really no single way to prevent or overcome such negative feelings when you find yourself on either side of the Lost Love Ledger. The longer the relationship had lasted, the more you had invested in seeing it through, the more severe will be the risk of suffering more extreme forms of these feelings. The best thing you can do for yourself is to seek out good advice, good friends and loved ones, and to simply endure long enough for your pain to fade and for new joys to arise from new values that have entered or have grown in your life.
Take heart, and be hopeful. "This too shall pass away."

Best wishes for your rapid recovery.

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