Getting Back With An Ex

Getting Back With An Ex

Getting Back With An Ex

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Getting Back With An Ex

If you’ve ever wondered about getting back with an Ex, you’re in good company. It’s very common to fantasize about reconnecting with an Ex. You might be looking for signs that you and your Ex will get back together, finding reasons to see them (do you really need that old toothbrush you left at their place?), or might be trying to figure out if you can be friends with your Ex. 

Attachment Bonds Endure

Even if, in your heart of hearts, you know that the relationship had issues (or was even toxic) it’s very hard to break your attachment bond. We don’t flip off our feelings for someone like turning out a light. What does it mean that you still have feelings for your Ex? Or that you want to stay friends with your Ex? Is that a sign that you should get back together? 

Stages of Healing After a Breakup

I’ve worked with many people as a divorce counselor and breakup therapist through their journey of healing from a broken heart, and heck, I’ve even written a book about it. (Here’s the link to Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love, if you’re interested.) Because of this, I know that one of the stages of healing after a breakup is missing your Ex, thinking about your Ex all the time, wondering if you’ll get back together, and trying to maintain your attachment to them — even if it’s just “being friends.” Nearly everyone goes through this, whether or not the relationship is salvageable (or even healthy).

These feelings are confusing, and it can be difficult to know what to do. And, frankly, they can cause problems.

This swirl of painful feelings can lead people to cling to an Ex under the guise of “just being friends” (or worse, “friends with benefits”) which makes it difficult for them to heal, grow and move on emotionally. Similarly, I’ve seen couples spend way too long breaking up and getting back together, over and over, until someone wisely calls it quits for the last time. 

But (and here’s the extremely confusing part) sometimes couples DO successfully get back together after taking a break and can go on to have a positive new chapter in their relationship with each other. In these cases, the separation was a catalyst of personal growth for both of them. It helped them make positive changes in themselves, which allowed them to have a better relationship with each other. 

It’s also true that some former partners CAN go on to have grand friendships with each other that they describe as being even better and more fulfilling than their romantic relationship ever was. 

Can You Get Back With The Ex? Should You Be Friends With An Ex?

So how do you know whether or not you should trust those feelings that are making you wonder if you should get back with your Ex? Or stay friends with your Ex? And how do you know when those feelings are keeping you stuck in an unhealthy attachment, or leading you into another round of eventual broken-hearted misery?

That is the zillion dollar question, and that is why we’re devoting a whole episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast to helping you work through it. My guest today is expert breakup counselor and divorce therapist Kensington O., M.A., MFT-C. Kensington is an experienced breakup coach who, among other things, runs our online breakup support group here at Growing Self. 

She has worked with many people grappling with these questions and has helped them figure out whether to get back together, be friends, or just work through the grief of relationship loss and move on. Today she’s sharing her advice with you so that you can get clarity and direction too.

Expert Breakup Advice Podcast

Should you get back with the Ex? Is reconnecting with an Ex a good idea? Can you be friends with an Ex? That’s what we’re discussing! You can listen to this episode right here, or find it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Show-notes are below, and you can find a full transcript at the bottom of this post. 

What’s your story? Did you get back with an Ex? Or try to be friends with an Ex? If not, how did you get over your Ex and move on emotionally? Share your advice with our community, or ask Kensington and me a follow-up question in the comments section below.

Wishing you all the best, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Getting Back With An Ex

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Spread the Love, Happiness & Success

Please Rate, Review & Share the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

Spotify


Getting Back With An Ex: Episode Highlights

Questioning whether or not ending a relationship was the right choice is a natural stage of any breakup. As breakup recovery counselors and coaches, we see this all the time at Growing Self. Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love” explains that it’s normal to question whether ending the relationship was right, or whether or not you and your Ex can get back together or at least stay friends.

This uncertainty and confusion around your relationship with an Ex can be especially intense in the winter, particularly during the holidays. You may have holiday memories that trigger longing for your Ex. You may have less to do in the winter, you may spend more time alone, and your thoughts may turn to an old relationship.

These questions are hard to answer, and the mix of lingering feelings for your Ex can make them even harder. After a breakup, it’s normal to not be able to stop thinking about your Ex. You may wonder if all that mental energy means something is unresolved. 

To help you sort through the confusion, Dr. Bobby is joined by Kensington Osmond, a fellow MFT, divorce counselor, and breakup therapist at Growing Self.

Getting Back With An Ex

Kensington explains that losing an important relationship naturally triggers grief, and a normal part of the grieving process is questioning whether ending the relationship is really the right choice for you.

These feelings can be especially confusing when the relationship was toxic or just not entirely positive, as rationally, you likely know that the breakup was for the best. You can be addicted to a toxic relationship, or an unhealthy one and powerful attachment bonds will keep you missing your Ex, despite what you know rationally.

Dr. Bobby acknowledges that some “breakups” really do transform into breaks, and couples reconnect and resume their relationship, hopefully having learned new things about themselves and each other in the process.

The key to knowing whether to listen to these feelings telling you to reconnect with your Ex, or dismiss them, is assessing whether you’re simply grieving and missing the person, or whether there are compelling reasons that the relationship may actually be right for you. Think through why the relationship ended and whether anything can be improved or resolved, says Kensington.

Missing Your Ex When You Were the Dumper

Normally the partner who ended the relationship had some time to disconnect emotionally before the breakup, and weigh out the pros and cons of staying together or calling it quits in the relationship. The partner who didn’t choose the breakup may be forced to wrestle with letting go of that attachment when it wasn’t their choice.

Still, even if you were the one to end your relationship, it’s natural to miss your Ex and wonder whether you made the right choice, Kensington says.

Growing Self hosts a breakup recovery group for people working through the ends of their relationships, where other people grieving a breakup can offer empathy and support. Sometimes, these groups offer better support than family and friends, who may not understand how profoundly painful a breakup can be if they aren’t currently experiencing it themselves.

Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?

According to Dr. Bobby, the desire to remain friends with an Ex is often just the desire to not fully release the attachment. There may be a hidden agenda, or a clinging to the hope that if you remain friends, you’ll reconnect romantically at some point.

While there is no hard rule around being friends with an Ex, Kensington points out that it rarely works to shift from an intense romantic attachment to a friendship. The romantic element of a relationship needs time to fade away before a friendship can be formed.

Being Friends With an Ex

If you’re co-parenting or sharing a pet, you may have to be friends, or at least friendly, with an Ex. Or you may simply want to keep your Ex in your life as a friend. 

Whatever a friendship with an Ex means to you, it’s important to think through what those friendship boundaries would look like and how close you want the relationship to be, Kensington says. It’s also important to think about whether holding on to your Ex will keep you from forming new romantic connections with someone else. This may not be a tradeoff you would make intentionally, but not wanting to let go of the attachment could influence you more than you realize, she says.

How to Be Friends With an Ex

People want to stay friends for different reasons after a breakup. The dumper may feel less guilty if they offer to remain friends, for example. They may also simply be hoping that they can continue seeing their former partner, without the commitment of a relationship.

This leaves the grieving/still attached partner in a very vulnerable place, says Dr. Bobby, because they may be willing to accept this “friendship,” rather than let go, which could slow down their healing.

The key to navigating this, says Kensington, is developing self-compassion, which will allow you to advocate for yourself and set healthy boundaries with an Ex. If you can be kind to yourself and put your own well-being first, you can avoid connecting with your Ex in ways that won’t be healthy for you.

Kensington emphasizes that this is a journey, not a one-step process and that it takes time to release your attachment and establish a healthy friendship with an Ex if that is your goal.

Staying Friends With An Ex

Social media can be particularly triggering for people getting over an Ex. Seeing a post from a former lover can feel a lot like relapsing from addiction, according to Kensington. A picture of your Ex can put you back into a mindset that you’ve been working to escape. For that reason, consider unfollowing or even blocking your Ex, Kensington says.

Once your attachment system has died down a bit, it will be easier for you to assess from a rational place whether or not a friendship with your Ex is healthy for you. In the meantime, focus on letting go.

Reconnecting With Your Ex

There are certain situations when reconsidering a relationship is a perfectly reasonable choice, according to Kensington.

This may happen when the circumstances in you or your former partner’s life during your relationship prevented you from showing up in the way you wanted to show up. You or your partner may have since been able to do some growth work that could make another try worthwhile.

It’s important to remember you can only control your own growth work, and not your former partner’s, however. If they’re not interested in growing or changing, you can’t force them.

The key is thinking through these things intentionally together, and not just jumping back into bed on a whim.

Signs You and Your Ex Will Get Back Together

Before getting back with an Ex, look for real, tangible signs that something has changed for the positive, Kensington says. Think through the problems in your former relationship, and assess how they may have shifted since the breakup.

You may have a conversation with your Ex about what you’d like to be different in the relationship, and what has changed to bring that difference about.

Seeing real, intentional effort from your Ex (and yourself) to bring about positive change is a good sign your relationship may deserve a second try.

Back With Your Ex

If you do get back with your Ex, it’s important to take it slow, and really assess how the relationship feels this time around, as if it was a new relationship. There are stages to getting back together with an Ex — pay attention to where you and your partner are at. 

Look for red flags and green flags that the relationship is struggling, or going well. Follow up on the problems you’ve run into in the past, and how they may have changed since your first experience with this person, Kensington says.

One of the most important things you can do to improve your own relationships is learning about your attachment style, according to Kensington, and how it affects your relationships with others. This can change how you respond to your partners, and create healthier relationship patterns going forward.

People fall into a few different categories when it comes to attachment styles, with some of us having a deep, driving need for intimacy and closeness, and others feeling uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness. “Secure attachers” tend to be pretty comfortable with closeness, and to not feel too preoccupied about their relationships.

The ways we attach to our partners affect how we respond to them, and becoming aware of your own attachment style can help you step back and respond with intention, rather than simply reacting.

Building emotional intelligence is another great way to grow before re-entering an old relationship (or a new one). Close relationships require talking about feelings. Learning to be more in touch with your own and aware of those of others can make those conversations easier for you. It can also help you manage your feelings in a way that’s better for you and your partner.

Getting Back Together After a Breakup

Unless you’ve done some work on yourself, and your partner has as well, the relationship is unlikely to feel much different from the first time around, according to Dr. Bobby. Good intentions and big promises simply aren’t enough to change old patterns for the better, unfortunately.

When people breakup, get back together, and breakup again, it’s likely because they haven’t found the tools to change deeply ingrained patterns — either theirs or their partner’s — that keep the relationship from functioning in a healthy way.

The most important thing to remember if you’re going through a breakup and thinking about getting back together with an Ex, according to Kensington, is that you’re not alone. This is a very common response to releasing a powerful attachment bond, and it can feel very difficult and intense. Listen to podcasts like this one, read about breakup recovery, and join groups of people going through what you’re going through who can offer you real empathy and support as you heal.

[Intro song: Nothing to Hide by Allah-Las]

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby : Anyone going through a hard breakup, or divorce has gone through this horrible purgatory stage of ending a relationship where you're not together, but it is definitely not over emotionally. And this is such a confusing place, you might be questioning yourself—did you make the right choice? Thinking about maybe getting back together with an ex and trying to figure out if that's possible, or maybe just trying to figure out if you can be friends with your ex, and what that might look like. 

These boundaries can get very weird, and it's just an incredibly confusing time. And this is often true anytime a relationship ends, but in my experience, this ambivalence and desire for connection can be more powerful at certain times of year. For example, around the holidays, many people have memories about their relationship, miss their exes, a little more than usual, can be a triggering time. 

But I think even just in wintertime, in general, there's less going on, you're by yourself and your house more. It can really lead you to miss your ex and think about the relationship, and it's really a vulnerable time. You might be idealizing good parts of the relationship and more prone to thinking about trying to reconnect with your ex. And whether or not that's a good idea.

It can be so hard to figure out what your truth is, when you're dealing with these emotions. It can be hard to figure out your truth, that much harder even to figure out your boundaries, right? Can you be friends with your ex? Is reconnecting with your ex possible? If it is, is that a good idea for you? So many big questions. And it's such a hard space to be in. And I think anybody in this place needs some guidance and support. 

So today, that's what we're going to be talking about on our show. And to help you with this. I have asked my colleague Kensington to come on this episode with me and share her advice and perspective with you because she is a real expert on this subject. Thank you Kensington for joining me.

Kensington: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, Lisa.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. Well, I'm so glad we're talking about this, particularly with your expertise. I mean, of all, there are many people on our team, obviously here at Growing Self who do a lot of coaching with people going through divorce and breakup recovery kinds of work. But you also have a ton of experience — when you were getting your degree in marriage and family therapy at BYU, you ran a group for people working through breakups. Here at Growing Self, you lead our online breakup support group. And so every week, you're talking to people just in the trenches of this experience. And I know that you have so much insight to share, you've written blog posts at growingself.com on this topic. 

Maybe we can just open this up — I'd love to hear your thoughts about how, I guess, common it is for people like, particularly in those beginning stages of a breakup, to be grappling with these kinds of feelings and ambivalence about the relationship, even after it's officially over. Do you hear that a lot? 

Getting Back With an Ex

Kensington: Yeah, that's a great question, Lisa. And I would say almost everyone is grappling with that. I think, after someone who's been such a significant part of your life is no longer in your life in that same way, it's really normal to go through grief. Right? It's normal to miss that person and that friendship. And so I think it's really natural to be grappling with these kinds of questions.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. And that, I think, I think what's so confusing for people is that those kinds of feelings can come up, you know, that when, when an attachment bond is ruptured, we have these feelings, we have this grief, we miss people, whether or not it was a good relationship. 

Kensington: Absolutely, and I will say that's one of the things that I've seen my clients find the most confusing is that, they can look back and even if it was, worst case scenario, a really unhealthy toxic relationship. They'll still find themselves missing that person and, missing all of the good parts, but also missing just having someone around to share their life with. 

So, I think that it can be really confusing to hold both like, “I know this relationship wasn't right for me.” And also, “I really miss this person,” and holding both of those things at the same time.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, that it's like that head versus heart kind of split. Like, intellectually, I know that this person was not good for me, it wasn't going to end well, but I just can't help myself. I think about them all the time. They miss them. Yeah. Yeah. So, and I think I think the hard part, and the confounding part is that sometimes relationships do go through ups and downs and relationships. 

People take a break, and then do actually wind up reconnecting and getting back together again. And I think many times when people are having these feelings of like missing someone, they take that as, “because I feel this way, I should try to reconnect with my ex.”

Kensington: Yeah. And I think that, you know, I think that there are absolutely situations where you should think about maybe getting back together and explore that option. But I think that there's, there's other reasons at play, aside from just missing your partner, right? 

I think, kind of like we said, really, no matter, no matter how good or bad the relationship was, you're going to go through that grief process. And so the grief and the missing that person, on its own, maybe isn't a good enough reason to get back together with somebody. But, certainly sometimes there are good reasons to explore that possibility.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Well, if you could, let's just start right there. And I mean, now, this is a podcast episode, and I know that you spend many, many, many sessions and groups like helping people work, work through these and like, you know, find their own truth. But, but I am curious, like, just for the benefit of our listeners, what, what would let me ask a better question like, what, what would you advise? 

What kind of questions would you even ask somebody to sort of help them sort through that and figure out what to listen to somebody who, mixed bag of a relationship, but they still really miss this person. How do you help them get that clarity around? Are these just like normal feelings of missing somebody that everybody has, and you should still keep moving away? Or when is this a sign that you should? Maybe try to reconnect somehow?

Kensington: Yeah, that's a great question. And I think that one of the first, when I'm talking about this with clients, one of the first places where we start is—why did the relationship end? And I think, in that question, sometimes I'll get just kind of the official reason for the breakup from clients. 

But a lot of the time there's, there's more to the story than just whatever the official reason was that you share with family and friends that you decided on together. So really going through all of those reasons why your relationship really just wasn't working, and wasn't fulfilling, your needs and your partner's needs. 

I think that that's a really important place to explore, because it can help you figure out okay, are those things changeable, and resolvable? Or if they're not changeable and resolvable, are they things that maybe are okay to accept about the person and about the relationship.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Like, what was the relationship actually, like, for you? Yeah. And kind of digging into that a little bit to help people, just the experience the reality. Now, but there's, okay, let me ask you this. Because many times when a relationship ends, it's, it's kind of one person that's like, “I don't want to do this anymore.” 

That person has often had the opportunity to work through some things prior to that, like they've kind of been disconnecting for a while, whether or not their partner knew that — which is awful. But have you found it different for partners who were broken up with, and maybe even like, surprised that the relationship ended? Do they sort of miss the relationship in a different way, then people who were the ones who initiated the breakup or divorce, and who also can still really miss their partner and second guess themselves at how do you experience that differently?

Kensington: Yeah, that's a great question. And so I think that there are no hard and fast rules, but what I've seen most of the time is that, the partner who maybe initiated the end of the relationship, kind of like you've said they've, they've had some time to disconnect emotionally. Right. 

They've had the time to kind of weigh in their mind, “Okay, what am I going to be giving up? Am I sure I want to do this?” And so then the partner who, you know, wasn't their choice for the relationship and often gets stuck doing that kind of work after the relationship is already over. Yeah. So having to go back and figure out how to disconnect from an attachment that for them is still very real and very much there. 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: It's so hard. 

Kensington: Absolutely. Yeah.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. Because then, they, I think when somebody kind of like works through it, and sort of eases themselves out of a relationship emotionally, like before it officially ends, even though they can have some regrets. I want to just honor what a difficult situation that is for people who are going through that, just like ruptured attachment, and like just the panic. 

I mean, that like physiologically based like, attachment, withdrawal that goes along with that, and then also having to kind of sort through what their relationship was like for them, because you idealize a relationship when you're in that, that space.

Kensington: Yeah, no, it, it's so hard. And, not to, not to plug the group too much. But I think that's, that's what you know, is so I've seen be really helpful about the breakup group that I run is just helping people connect with others who are going through that attachment, withdrawal, and that really painful, painful place that sometimes your family or your friends just, they see all the reasons why the relationship wasn't working, but they're not going through that actual attachment withdrawal themselves.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. Okay, well, then, and I, we are not here to make an infomercial for the group for sure. But I am curious, what, how do you experience the way that group members respond to each other, that is different than what somebody is friends or family makes it. 

Because it's really easy, like when you're not in that place, and you see somebody who's like really suffering with this attachment, loss, and just the pain of that, but like, your friend can say that, “He was not nice to you. He was mean to you. I saw it, he cheated on you,” like, reminding friends have all these things, but the person is going through it is like, “You don't understand.” Right? 

So what, what do you see that's different with the people in the group? Like, did they also say now that, “He was actually really mean to you,” or are they like, what's the difference?

Kensington: Yeah, great question. So I think, really, what, what feels to me, like, the biggest difference is just empathy. Right? Because they're, they're able to still provide that feedback to each other around, like, what, “These are all the reasons why this relationship wasn't right for you, right? These are all the reasons why it needed to end.” But also have that really deep sense of empathy for, all of that is true. 

Also, this is really painful and really hard and you're not crazy or messed up or broken. For, for being in pain, about the loss of something that, that may be ultimately wasn't in your best interest.

Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, yeah, I could hear that, like coming from somebody who knows what that pain feels like and struggling with that own attachment. Like it just lands differently because of that empathy. That's, that's a good point. Okay, well, such a confusing time. 

But just, just to have that message that that that pain, that longing has, oftentimes is not an indicator of how healthy or good that relationship was, it means that you're going through that, that emotional separation thing, which is which is different. But now, let's let's talk about the other piece of this. Because while somebody is going through that emotional phase of like, missing someone, longing for contact, that's part of it. 

Sometimes what I have seen is like, people wanting to be friends with their ex, right? can sometimes be a manifestation of like, wanting to stay connected. It's almost like that, that bargaining phase like, “I'm maintaining my connection to this person.” And if the person is in a lot of pain and missing someone, sometimes it can be like, “Because if we're friends, I might have an opportunity. And if we're hanging out sooner or later, we're gonna fall into bed again.” 

So there's like a little bit of a hidden agenda there. So, the question for you is, in your experience, to what degree is that like, usually what's happening when somebody wants to be friends with their ex? Or have you also seen someone who is in that space of longing really shift into having an actual legitimate friendship with an ex? That's just maintaining good parts of the attachment, but releasing the attachment to the romantic relationship? 

Have you seen that work?

Kensington: Yeah, that's a great question. So I think, again, like for all of these questions, there's not like a hard and fast like, “Absolutely, yes” or “Absolutely, no.” But I will say, I think if you're still in that phase, where you feel this longing for closeness and attachment to somebody, it's really, really hard to then shift into that friends only mindset. It also kind of depends on what, what friends means to you. Right?

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Kensington just made air quotes, to those of you who are not watching the video right now. What “friends” mean. Yeah.

Kensington: Yeah. I think that there, obviously, there's situations where you're going to still need to be acquaintances, or friendly with your ex, right? 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Co-parenting. 

Kensington: Co-parenting, right? Or sharing a pet.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Working together.

Being Friends With an Ex

Kensington: Absolutely, yeah. And so, I think that it's, when I, when I hear my clients say they want to be friends with their ex, there's lots of questions that come up from me, but one of the first ones is, “Okay, well, what does? What does friendship mean to you? Like, what? You know, are you looking for a best friend where it's still, feels like the relationship? Just minus a few things? Or, are we talking more of like, being acquaintances, but being like, cordial and friendly when you see each other?”

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, yeah. Well, what I, what I think I'm hearing is that you're spending a lot of time helping people get real clear about what those boundaries are, and like, a different picture of, like, a very different kind of relationship.

Kensington: Absolutely. And I think,  it's also, it's also important for people to evaluate really like, why they want that connection with that person, right? Does it feel like there's, there's something that that person can still add to your life, and you can add to their life in some way, that's not going to limit you in terms of, moving on and creating romantic connections with people? 

Or, is it really like, if you're really honest with yourself, is it really about just trying to hold on to that attachment, that you're losing in any way that you can, even if it's not in your own best interest?

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: That's a great point. Is it? Is it a way of trying to prevent pain? Is it like methadone? 

Kensington: Right! Yeah, pretty much. 

How to Be Friends With Your Ex

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, yeah. Well, okay, a couple other other things related to this. One thing that I know both of us have experienced around this, is that it can be super hard for somebody who's like really, in that pain place, and like suffering, when their ex may want to be trying to air quote, be friends. 

But sometimes for different reasons. Like, in my experience, sometimes a person who has initiated a breakup will feel guilty about that. And like, “Oh, we can be friends.” And, or, and this is much less charitable. But I think it's also true that the person that initiated the break up, it's pretty sure that they don't want to like be in a capital R relationship like this is not my person, but it's Saturday and I don’t have anything better to do. 

So do you want to, like come over and hang out and like, kind of like meeting their own needs through this friendship, that the person on the other side who's going through this attachment withdrawal is super vulnerable? And like, it's hard to set boundaries? And like, can you speak a little bit to that and what you've seen because I think that that is just this layer of complexity, like somebody is minding their own business and then they get that text from their ex and they're like, “What's up? You want to come over?” 

You know, like that thing?

Kensington: Absolutely, no, that's, that's a great question. And I think that this is something that I see a lot. And this is, it's really hard when someone has decided, “You know what? The best thing for me right now is to not really have a connection with this person while I'm healing and trying to move on.” But then the other side is still reaching out to them and trying to maintain that connection. 

That's where I think you've got to get really clear about your boundaries and really be comfortable advocating for yourself. So, in my work with clients, going through the end of a relationship, we talk a lot about self-compassion. And one of the pieces of self-compassion is really learning to advocate for yourself. Almost being like your own big brother, big sister, parents, to really have your own back. 

I think that this is one of those situations. And it's not easy, and it helps if you can have supportive people to talk through this with but really important to have your own back. Yeah, and set some of those boundaries. But it is so, so hard, especially when you're still you're grappling with missing this attachment so much hard to say no to it.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Oh, that's great advice, Kensington, that to have your own, own back. But also, do just want to acknowledge how difficult it is to come to that clarity. Like for yourself to say, this is not good for me then. So I need to not do this with you. Because that emotional part is like, “Yes, this is exactly what I want to be doing.” That is I mean, and that doesn't happen overnight. That's a journey.

Kensington: Oh, no, yeah. And I think, with all of these things that we're talking about today, like I, I really never see anyone who like, we talk about it once, and then they do it perfectly from here on out. It's a process. And it's a journey. And that's part of why, you know, the self compassion piece is so important, because it's so crucial to be gentle with yourself as you're trying to navigate. 

You know, setting boundaries and creating new skills and doing what's best for you.

Staying Friends With an Ex

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, yeah. Well, and I'm just thinking too that I think people have to, like, go around that merry go round. Sometimes it's almost like, like drinking way too much and having a horrible hangover. And then okay, I can't do that anymore. And then you do it again, you're like, “Yeah, I can't do that anymore.” 

You have to sometimes that, that old idea that relapse is part of recovery is just like noticing how you feel after you have contact with this person. And on that note, okay, this is a question that comes up all the time, I'm sure comes up all the time for you. But that idea around staying connected on social media, because that's a different order of friendship, right, but can be incredibly difficult and triggering for people. 

So and that's, that's sort of a level of friendship in the sense of maintaining a connection. What have you seen as being the impact of that social media connection? Or? And how do you help people grapple with that very real aspect of our lives?

Kensington: Yeah, that's a great question. I think, first of all, yes, I see this all the time. And I think, again, there's no like, hard or fast rule about what you have to do. But what I've seen a lot of the time is that social media can almost act like, man, it's like really, when you're in recovery from a substance abuse, you know, disorder, right? And every so often, you get, like, sent like a little hit.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: The vodka ad.

Kensington: Yeah, absolutely. It's a similar situation, when you are just scrolling on social media, minding your own business, right? Like, trying to have your own back and like, do all these great things, and boom! All of a sudden, you see this picture of your ex doing something and it, it puts you into this headspace that you've been working so hard to get out of. 

I think that's one of the reasons by a lot of my clients will choose as a way to continue having your own back to either disconnect on social media from this person, or at the very least, maybe mute them, right, so maybe you're not unfollowing each other but you're not seeing their stuff anymore, or even blocking them. Right? 

That can sound extreme, but I think that it's really, it can be really, really helpful so that you're not constantly getting these extra triggers.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. And I think I think what I'm hearing you say, in between the lines, as we're talking about all of this, too, it's like that, perhaps part of getting that clarity around, that basic question, “Is it actually healthy for me to try to have a friendship with like, a real friendship with this person? Or is it healthy for me to try to reconnect with this person?” 

I think what I'm hearing you say it's like, you have to lower the the static, the noise, like the emotional storm and triggering in order to kind of connect with your authentic feelings to think about the relationship in a more — I hate to use this word, but I don't know what other words to use — like a rational sense. It's like, but all the social media stuff and the, like, it contributes to the emotional confusion that.

Kensington: Absolutely. Yes. Yeah, I think that there's just there. Anything you can do to minimize the triggers and the bombardment, that's going to just like really hurt and kind of, yeah, I guess trigger like this, this attachment pain over and over again. 

Anything you can do to limit that is going to help you just feel a little bit more clarity about, “Okay, how much of this is just me going through the attachment withdrawal process? And, and how much of this is maybe something else that I should work through?”

Reconnecting With an Ex

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. Well, let's talk about that piece. Yeah. So I think we've, we've been talking about how, when you're in pain, that is the hope that is the fantasy that, “This is all a terrible mistake, they're going to realize they love me, and everything's gonna be different, we're gonna get back together.” Like, that's, that's the fantasy that pain is telling us, right? 

That needs to be worked through, or, but there are also cases where people work through and really in a healthy, sort of rational way, reconsider their relationship. And there are actually opportunities to try again. Can you talk us through what you've seen that look like, when it is actually legitimately healthy and positive for everybody involved? Like, why would, why would a breakup even occur in the first place? If that were true? 

Kensington: Yeah, great, great question, Lisa. So I think, one thing that I've seen a lot of the time is that a breakup will occur when, when both people are just really not in a place to be the their best selves, right. And then, after taking some time apart, and both going to therapy or doing other kinds of personal growth activities, really become in a better place and more able to step into their best selves and be their best self for a new relationship.

Then, it can be a great idea to reconsider getting back together with somebody. So that's, that's one situation where I've seen that really work that I would say, like, the biggest caveat is that some of this is out of your control. True, and you can only control yourself and the personal growth that you do. But ultimately, you deserve to be with a partner who is also working on themselves, and who wants to bring their best self to the relationship. 

If you see them working on themselves, again, whether that's through like, self help stuff, therapy, coaching, whatever it is, right? Those can all be great signs that they are taking personal growth seriously, and it could be a good idea to maybe just reconsider when reentering the relationship, if you like.

Stages of Getting Back Together With an Ex

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, well, that sounds like a process in itself. I mean, I'm sure you've worked with people who are reconsidering, but I mean, even just that word implies, like a lot of thoughtfulness. It's not like you, you go out, you go out for drinks and your hookup and now you're back together again. So not that. What does this reconsidering involve, from your perspective, when people are really being intentional about it?

Kensington: Yeah, I think it you know, it involves, obviously, like a lot of personal growth on the side of each person, but a lot of conversations with each other. So spending time together kind of testing the waters to see if, if things really could be different, maybe going and talking with a relationship counselor together. But really taking it slow, I think is one of the biggest things here, right? 

Where we're not immediately just jumping back into bed together, right? But, but really trying to be mindful and intentional about, okay, these are the things that were our issues before. Like, this is what I've tried to do to work on these things. This is what you've tried to do to work on these things. But kind of test out some of these dynamics and see where we're at.

Signs You and Your Ex Will Get Back Together

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, yeah, I'm thinking right now, this wonderful article that you wrote for our blog, I think it was stages of getting back together, I believe was the title. And in it, I think you, you talked about what I thought was just such a great point, which was—what's going to be different this time around? And like, why would it be different, right? And that can be hard to figure out. 

Because I think sometimes people want things to be different in terms of the way they relate or communicate. And they also have intentions that it will be different. Yeah. But there's almost like, what, what would literally have changed that we make it be different? And so for somebody who's in that space, what would be your recommendations of like, things, things to look for, like, if say, communication was a problem, or emotional invalidation, or even trust can be an ongoing problem, right? 

What would be actual signs that something has changed, versus somebody telling you that they intend for it to be different? That's a big question. And I hope that's not too much.

Kensington: Great question. Yeah. I mean, I think that this is where, again, if you and this person have had some conversations and talks about, “I've changed in these ways, and this is my plan on how I want to do things differently.” This is where like, the taking it slow, and getting to know each other again, process becomes really important. 

If it's emotional invalidation, for example, that was really hard in the relationship trying to set time on a regular basis to even just talk about your day or talk about something hard that happened recently, and, and see, right? Like, does this conversation feel different from how you feel in the past? 

I think that those actually seeing some behavioral changes, and maybe it's not going to be perfect every time. But then, you know, like, like seeing some of those efforts to make those changes, I think, I think those can be really good.

Back With the Ex

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby : Yeah. Well, this, this is my own nerdy way of saying it, but you're talking about observational data. Yeah, like I like, okay, so we have like a pond, it's sort of covered with ice. And I'm going to walk out on this four inches with you and see if that holds. And if it does, then we'll go a little bit further. But you're saying that when going slow, it's how does this feel? Is this different? 

Can I trust, right, that this is going to be the relationship that I want it to be this time? But I also think too, that personal responsibility, like what, who am I as time around? Is that the right way to say it?

Kensington: Absolutely, yeah, I think that, you know, and it's almost like getting to know, and a new person where, you know, if you're entering a new relationship, you know, if you're trying to be intentional about it, and you're gonna take it slow, and get to know each other and, you know, be looking out for red flags, but also green flags and signs that things are going well.

I think it's the same when considering getting back together with an ex, right? I think, again, since we have a history, it's so tempting to just like, jump right back in and pick up where we left off. But if we want to create a new pattern, it can really require going slow and being deliberate, trying new patterns, seeing if they work, right? And looking for all of those signs that like you said this really would be different.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. Yeah, got it. Yeah. Well, it's just that, that same idea, that having an attachment bond to somebody is not the same thing as having a healthy relationship to somebody and that’s something that you need to create on a different level. 

So related to that, and again, this may be too hard of a question, because I'm sure it looks different with every client that you've ever had in some ways, but would, can you identify any sort of patterns or themes, like when you've worked with clients who have done work on themselves, and maybe after a separation, and then go back into a previous relationship, or even a new relationship for that matter. 

What have you noticed being the most important things for people to be gaining self awareness around in terms of their own patterns? Emotional intelligence, reactivity, ways of relating to other people that you've seen being key to having a different outcome when they go back in again, because the personal responsibility piece is so important, right? What have you seen?

Kensington: Absolutely. So I think one of the big pieces of self awareness that I've seen be really helpful for people is understanding their attachment style, and how that comes out when they relate to other people. And so I think, just understanding that, and then being cognizant of, “Okay, what's coming up for me in this interaction with this new person? And, how can I respond deliberately, instead of just reacting,” right? That can be  a great, like, really tangible place for people to start.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: If we could stay there for a minute, just just for the benefit of our listeners who may not be really, or maybe have heard the term attachment styles, but don't really know what that means. What can you say a little bit more about what, what you're talking about there?

Kensington: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, attachment theory, talks about really like, what we, what we need in a relationship in order to feel safe, and how we respond to closeness and other people. And so there's, and I'll let people do some of their own research. But there's, there's a few different main categories of attachment type. 

There's a secure attachment, which is what we're all working toward. There is an anxious attachment, which means that we tend to really desire that closeness with others and feel really nervous and be reactive, when we feel like we're not getting that from someone else. And a more avoidant attachment style, where kind of that vulnerability or closeness in a relationship feels really scary, and can react based off of that. 

That's, that's just like a very brief overview. But really, I've seen for people to understand what some of their tendencies are, with how they attach in romantic relationships. I've seen that be really transformational and how they, then attach to new partners moving forward.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Definitely, it's easy to say, “Okay, I know that I tend to feel really nervous when somebody isn't like, calling me every day or texting me at certain times. And then I tend to get angry and lash out,” and just like, knowing that, “Okay, this is what I do.” And then developing ways of managing those feelings can really change outcomes in a relationship and so that to have a different experience.

If you're getting back with an ex, that's going to be something important to think about inside of yourself, as well as maybe your exes and whether they've done work on that area. Are there other things or that you've seen being important for people?

Kensington: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, I was — the attachment styles is a big one. I think another one that I've seen be really important is just emotional intelligence. So being able — one of the really important pieces of a relationship is emotional intimacy and closeness, and that involves being able to talk about our feelings. 

Really, in order to talk about our feelings, we have to know what they are. And so gaining kind of this emotional intelligence piece around “Okay, what are the feelings that I'm experiencing on a regular basis? Where do I feel them in my body? How do I experience them? What are their names?” Right? That can be really, really important work to then be able to share that with other people.

But also create new patterns around okay, well, when anger comes up for me, I can know, because of X, Y, and Z, and here are some things that I know that I can do to help me with my anger, so that I'm expressing it in an appropriate way, instead of lashing out against my partner.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. Okay. So attachment styles, emotional intelligence work. I mean, that's a lot right there.

Kensington: Absolutely.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. Is there anything else? Are those the biggest ones? Would you say?

Kensington: I think the, I mean, some of the two main ones coming to mind for me, and I think that you could certainly spend several months or even years, right? Like working on those in yourself. But I think that, yeah, for most clients, those are two good places to start.

Getting Back Together After a Breakup

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah, definitely. Well, and this is so helpful, because this is a very, like, concrete, tangible thing. And I think my takeaway from this is that if you want to get back with an ex, and if it is going to be a positive and better experience for both of you, the work that you're describing needs to have happened or, or that there is a plan to maybe do some of that together, like through couples counseling. 

But unless there's that real reflection on your part, and your partner's part, it's probably not going to feel that different, even if you do get back together again, right?

Kensington: Absolutely. I think that, again, when two people get back together, and I heard this so many times, they have the best of intentions, and there's so many promises made around, “We're going to do things differently. And I'm not going to do this anymore.” And I think that those promises are wonderful. And, I believe that for most people, they're coming from a good place, and they're genuine. 

But if there's not some of that work, both like the insight based work, as well as the behavioral change, work to support those promises, even the most well-intentioned people are going to fall back into old patterns, not because they want to do that necessarily, but just because patterns are really hard to break out.

Breaking Up and Getting Back Together

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: They are, they're comfy, they're strong, they happen automatically, without anybody even noticing it takes a lot of intention to break out of them. Is that what you think is happening when you see, like partners, breaking up and then getting back together again, and breaking up? Is that what's going on? Is that people like want to be together, but they haven't done the work on these old patterns?

Kensington: Yeah, yeah, great question. So I think, yeah, nine times out of 10. I think that's what's going on. And, again, it's all good intentions, and people wanting to do better and be their best selves. But it's really hard to do that when there's some underlying things that haven't haven't been addressed, such as patterns or not knowing your attachment style.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: So much good stuff, Kensington. You share just so much fantastic information with us today. I'm so grateful. And I'm sure our listeners are to people who are struggling with just the enormity of all this. Any, any last words that you might have for them? I know you spend a lot of time with people who are in this emotional place, but what do you want them to know?

Kensington: Yeah, I think first, first and foremost, just know that you're not going crazy. And you're not alone! I think that going through the end of a relationship is such an isolating experience, and especially if the people who we're sharing with again, is, well-intentioned as they are, just either haven't been there, it's been a really long time since they've been there. 

There can be some pretty invalidating things that are set. And really if, if there's anything that I've seen from my work in this area is that, this intense missing of this person. Even if, again, even if, you know it wasn't a great relationship and it needed to end. You're, you're really not going crazy, like it's normal. It has an explanation, and I know that so many of your podcasts listen. In your book, EXaholics, you talked about the biological component of losing that attachment.

I think that understanding that is really helpful for people. So yeah, you're not alone. And, all of your feelings have a very rational explanation.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: Yeah. That's, that's such a nice note to end on that it's legitimate. It is normal. There's nothing wrong with you. Yeah, and that, that people do understand. Well, thank you again for sharing your understanding today, Kensington. This is wonderful.

Kensington: Thank you so much for having me, Lisa.

[Outro song: Nothing to Hide by Allah-Las]


How to Repair Your Self Esteem After a Breakup

How to Repair Your Self Esteem After a Breakup

How to Repair Your Self Esteem After a Breakup

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Has Your Breakup or Divorce Shattered Your Self Esteem?

Hands down, one of the most horrible parts about going through a bad breakup or divorce is the way it mangles your self-esteem. I know from so many years as a therapist and life coach, that many people experience post-divorce depression (or post-breakup depression). There are many parts to this experience: Grief and loss, or feeling overwhelmed by all the practical aspects of putting your life back together.

However, for most people, the most terrible depression after a breakup comes when it damages your self-esteem and makes you start to feel bad about yourself.

If you've been feeling down on yourself since your relationship ended I want you to know something right off the bat, feeling this way does not mean that you're actually “less than.”

I talk to a LOT of people about the most vulnerable parts of their life. I know for a fact that even the most gorgeous, amazing, successful people second-guess themselves after a divorce or breakup. Even the most naturally confident, strong, and reasonable among us — in the throes of a devastating break up — still have these types of horrible, torturous conversations with themselves in their darkest moments:

  • Anxious Thought: “Why did this relationship fail?” Self-Esteem Crushing Answer: Because of all your personal shortcomings and the mistakes you made in this marriage or relationship.
  • Anxious Thought: “Why doesn't the person I love more than anything want to be with me anymore?” Self Esteem Crushing Answer: Because you aren't interesting / fun / sexy / smart / successful enough.
  • Anxious Thought: “Why didn't my Ex care enough about me to treat me better while we were together?” Self Esteem Crushing Answer: Because you're just not that worthy or lovable.
  • Anxious Thought: “Why did my Ex cheat on me or get together with someone new?” Self Esteem Crushing Answer: Because that someone new is much more interesting, attractive, worthy of love and respect. Basically, they're just a better person than you.

If you're going through a bad breakup, chances are you're probably nodding to yourself as you see this self-destructive internal dialogue put to paper. You've probably been being tortured by these ideas too.

And it's making you feel terrible about yourself.

But, believe it or not, as bad as that is…. that's not even the most toxic, ruinous thing that can happen to your already fragile self-esteem in the aftermath of a traumatic break-up.

The most terrible thing is not when your Ex betrays you or mistreats you. It's not even when you blame yourself for why it didn't work out, or torture yourself with ongoing commentary about all of your shortcomings and failures.

The Most Destructive Part of a Breakup: Breaking Your Trust in Yourself

Yes, your self-esteem gets throttled when you feel rejected, or blame yourself for what went wrong. But it gets ground up into sausage and squished into the dirt when you betray or mistreat yourself in the aftermath of a terrible breakup:

  • When you fail to protect yourself from a toxic or abusive Ex.
  • When you do things that you're ashamed of… all in desperate efforts to even briefly escape the pain of heartbreak, and reconnect with your Ex.
  • When you keep contacting or spying on your Ex through social media, even when you know you shouldn't.
  • When you are still sleeping or hooking up with your Ex, even when you feel more devastated afterward.
  • When your mental and emotional energy is still completely focused on your Ex, and your mood for the entire day (not to mention your worth as a person) depends on what they are doing or not doing.
  • When you are compromising your ethics, morals, and self-respect in efforts to regain the love and approval of your Ex.

This darkness is not something that usually gets discussed openly. But it's very real and very destructive to your long term health, your happiness, and your self-worth. And as you know only too well if you're going through it, you need support and compassion on your path of healing and recovery.

I have spent years helping broken-hearted people with divorce and break-up recovery counseling and coaching, and poured through oceans of research to write my book, “Exaholics: Breaking your addiction to an Ex Love.” I've spent years helping my private clients heal their self-esteem in the aftermath of a bad breakup, and now we're addressing it today on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

On today's show, I'm going to help you understand how your self-esteem was damaged, and how to develop new compassion and empathy for yourself. We're also going to discuss the five steps to healing your self-esteem after a breakup so that you can start putting yourself back together again.

I hope that this helps support you on your journey of growth and healing.

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: In this podcast, we discuss a number of resources. Here are links to all the breakup recovery resources I shared:

My private Online Breakup Support Group on Facebook. (It's a hidden group, so you have to request access).
Exaholics.com
Online Breakup Recovery Program: www.breakup-recovery.com
Book: Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to An Ex Love

PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love, and book (poetry collection) The Hollow Of The Hand

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How To Repair Your Self Esteem After a Breakup

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

iTunes

Stitcher

Google Play

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

How to Let Go of Anger

How to Let Go of Anger

How to Let Go of Anger

Release Anger + Reclaim Yourself

[social_warfare]

 

How to Let Go of Anger

Not to long ago I was talking with one of my life coaching clients about a regrettable situation that he experienced with a family member. There was a bad argument that actually became physical, and an already strained relationship felt like it was broken beyond repair.

He was okay with that: This family member was so toxic that it was probably in the best interests of all to not attempt to mend that particular relationship, but rather focus on healthy boundaries.

In our coaching session we talked about the event itself, and we both agreed that he handled himself as well as possible under very difficult circumstances.

But, as is so often the case, even though the event itself was in the past, he still found himself having intrusive thoughts and feelings about it. Specifically, he felt angry. He felt angry at his family member for being so horrible. He felt angry that he'd been assaulted. He felt angry that this person had been so disrespectful and hurtful to other family members. He felt angry that a holiday gathering that should have been a happy time for his family had been spoiled.

His question to me, “How do I let go of anger?” was such a good one that I thought I'd share the answer(s) with you, too. Why? Because I bet that you, like so many of our life coaching and therapy clients here at Growing Self, might also be harboring some anger that it's high time to release.

Anger: When The Past Is Emotionally In The Present

There are many different types of anger that often impact our life coaching, therapy, and couples counseling clients here at Growing Self. All are different in some way, and similar in others. All are important, and deserve attention.

Anger After Being Mistreated

Many people harbor feelings of anger after being mistreated in the past. Perhaps they were wronged by a parent, or a sibling, or a friend, or a co-worker, or in a former relationship. They have the right to their pain, and often the anger itself is entirely legitimate and justifiable: They were treated badly and have a right to be angry.

The issue arises when they are feeling angry, now, in the present moment, months or years after the event occurred. The anger attached to the past event is still very much alive inside of them and impacting the way they feel, as well as their sleep or even their physical health.

Having unresolved anger from the past can also impact your current relationships. Until you've worked through your anger, it's likely that you will be triggered by situations in your current relationship and that can lead to problems. If you find yourself having feelings about things that seem out of proportion to what is actually happening, it may be helpful to do some exploration around whether you have lingering feelings of unresolved anger from past experiences.

Anger After Infidelity

It's extremely difficult for many people to release anger after infidelity or betrayal. One of the biggest hurdles to many of our marriage counseling or couples therapy clients who are trying to repair their relationships after an affair is helping them let go of anger after infidelity or betrayal.

Feeling so angry with your partner after a betrayal is very common, but unless you're getting support in how to work through that anger constructively, anger can also be extremely destructive to the relationship. While there is a place and time for anger, if you don't find a way to work through it, ongoing anger after an affair can sabotage your efforts to rebuild your relationship. 

Anger After a Divorce or Breakup

Similarly, many of our breakup recovery coaching clients are dealing with massive amounts of anger after a breakup or divorce. While it is absolutely normal to be angry after a divorce or breakup, anger is also one of those emotions that can keep you stuck in the past for much longer than is healthy for you.

Many people find that working through the anger about their breakup or divorce is an essential step in their healing process.

Feeling Angry With Yourself

It's also not uncommon for people to be carrying anger towards themselves. This is often (paradoxically) true for people who have done a lot of wonderful personal growth work and are very different people than they were years ago. As they evolve personally, they may become aware that they did things in the past that they would never do now — and they feel angry with themselves for it. Learning constructive ways to deal with feelings of regret, or forgiving yourself for behaving badly or betraying yourself in the past is often a crucial step towards ultimate growth and healing.

Why You Need to Let Go of Anger (Eventually)

If you've had bad things done to you, you will understandably feel angry. And sometimes, in certain circumstances, anger is actually a very healthy, helpful emotion. Anger protects you, it warns you, and it gives you the energy to defend yourself. But at some point, anger no longer serves its original purpose of protecting you.

However, unresolved anger simmers inside of you, creating a physiological stress response that over time, damages your body. Furthermore, unresolved anger leads to thoughts and emotions that constrict your ability to feel positive emotions. Worst of all, unresolved anger can trap you: Tarnishing the present moment, taking up all the space in your relationships, and coming out in ways that are destructive to you or others.

Letting Go of Anger

So on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I'm going to be sharing my best advice for how to let go of anger. We'll be discussing:

  • Different types of anger
  • How holding on to anger harms you, ultimately
  • Strategies to work through anger, productively
  • Ways to maintain a more positive emotional equilibrium
  • How to find forgiveness (and still have boundaries)

I hope this podcast helps you on your path of growth and healing.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

[social_warfare]

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Letting Go of Anger

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: The  Golden Dawn, “Let The Sunshine In”

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

iTunes

Stitcher

Google Play

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let's  Talk

blog_layout=”box_extended” show_comments=”off” show_load_more=”on” _builder_version=”3.24.1″ custom_ajax_pagination=”on” ajax_pagination_text_color=”#000000″ posts_number=”6″ include_categories=”2458″ ajax_pagination_text_shadow_horizontal_length=”ajax_pagination_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ ajax_pagination_text_shadow_horizontal_length_tablet=”0px” ajax_pagination_text_shadow_vertical_length=”ajax_pagination_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ ajax_pagination_text_shadow_vertical_length_tablet=”0px” ajax_pagination_text_shadow_blur_strength=”ajax_pagination_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ ajax_pagination_text_shadow_blur_strength_tablet=”1px” text_shadow_horizontal_length=”text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ text_shadow_horizontal_length_tablet=”0px” text_shadow_vertical_length=”text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ text_shadow_vertical_length_tablet=”0px” text_shadow_blur_strength=”text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ text_shadow_blur_strength_tablet=”1px” header_text_shadow_horizontal_length=”header_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ header_text_shadow_horizontal_length_tablet=”0px” header_text_shadow_vertical_length=”header_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ header_text_shadow_vertical_length_tablet=”0px” header_text_shadow_blur_strength=”header_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ header_text_shadow_blur_strength_tablet=”1px” body_text_shadow_horizontal_length=”body_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ body_text_shadow_horizontal_length_tablet=”0px” body_text_shadow_vertical_length=”body_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ body_text_shadow_vertical_length_tablet=”0px” body_text_shadow_blur_strength=”body_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ body_text_shadow_blur_strength_tablet=”1px” meta_text_shadow_horizontal_length=”meta_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ meta_text_shadow_horizontal_length_tablet=”0px” meta_text_shadow_vertical_length=”meta_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ meta_text_shadow_vertical_length_tablet=”0px” meta_text_shadow_blur_strength=”meta_text_shadow_style,%91object Object%93″ meta_text_shadow_blur_strength_tablet=”1px” box_shadow_horizontal_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_vertical_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_blur_tablet=”40px” box_shadow_spread_tablet=”0px” z_index_tablet=”500″ /]
Mindful Self Compassion

Mindful Self Compassion

Mindful Self Compassion

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Mindful Self Compassion

MINDFUL SELF COMPASSION: As you may know, in addition to my work here as a therapist, couples counselor and life coach, I love addressing listener questions on the Love Happiness and Success Podcast (not to mention the wonderful questions that you guys leave for me on our blog). A while ago, one brave listener reached out with a heartfelt email, sharing a bit about her life, and asking how to handle some really difficult things, like: “How do I forgive myself when I've hurt someone?” “How do I break my old patterns so that I don't do harmful things again?” “How do I stay emotionally available when I fear being hurt?” These are important questions that many people wrestle with, and I decided to tackle them on the show. We'll be discussing:

How to Forgive Yourself When You've Hurt Someone

While so many resources are there to help you if you've been hurt by someone else, or need to forgive someone who has betrayed you, or how to rebuild trust in a relationship, few resources exist to help those suffering with feelings of guilt, regret and remorse. This is unfortunate, because who among us hasn't done something they regret? The worst is when you've hurt someone you've loved, and maybe lost a relationship as a result of it. We'll discuss how to apply self-awareness and mindful self-compassion to this situation in order to find forgiveness for yourself, by putting your actions in context of both your life experience and your inner experience. We'll talk about how to practice self-compassion, and also some self-compassion exercises to help you develop this skill. Resources: Here's the link to the attachment styles article I mentoned. One of the other resources I discuss here is our “What's Holding You Back” quiz to help you gain self-awareness (here's the link if you want to check it out).

How Do I Break My Old Patterns?

The crux of any personal growth process is using your self-awareness and your feelings to get clearer about your values, help you guide your future behavior and future choices. But all we have is the present moment. We'll talk about how to combine compassion for yourself, empathy for others, and mindfulness skills to manage yourself in the moment so that you create better outcomes in the future. Resource: Mindfulness, For People Who Hate to Meditate

How Do I Stay Emotionally Available in Relationships?

When you're feeling fragile and emotionally reactive, it's hard to have healthy relationships. Instead, we usually fall into either losing ourselves and being dependent on another for our feelings of self-worth. (Which too often leads to emotional enmeshment and codependency). Or, we swing into self-protection, lashing out, shutting down, or breaking off relationships. The key to finding a middle path — connection, and confidence — is through loving yourself and strengthening yourself. Resource: Here's the link to the Self-Love article I mentioned. Also, an article about cultivating healthy vulnerability in relationships. At the heart of all the ideas, skills and strategies here for forgiving yourself, and using your mistakes as a launch pad for growth is the concept of mindful self-compassion. I hope you keep that idea with you, on your journey of growth and healing. Your fellow traveler, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Mindful Self Compassion: How to Forgive Yourself

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

iTunes

 

Stitcher

 

Google Play

 
Long-Distance Relationship Breakup

Long-Distance Relationship Breakup

Should We Breakup?

As a couples therapist and relationship coach who provides services online, I frequently work with couples who find themselves in long-distance relationships. Long-distance relationships are more popular than ever these days, especially as more and more people are finding love through apps or websites that expand their pool of potential partners beyond their own towns and cities. 

Lots of great articles and podcasts exist for people in long-distance relationships about how to improve their relationships or maintain their connections. However, today, I want to talk about a side of long-distance relationships that usually gets less attention–how to know when it’s time to let go, and how to move on once you’ve made that decision.

What’s The Real Problem–the Relationship Or The Distance?

When working with couples or individuals who are going through a hard time in their long-distance relationship, one of the most common questions I receive is whether the problems they are experiencing are just being caused by the distance or whether it’s the relationship itself that isn’t working. 

In my experience, the answer to this question is most often that the challenges at hand are from a combination of the two. For example, I often meet with couples who experience some communication difficulties when they’re together that then are exacerbated into something larger when they are long distance. 

In these kinds of situations, I recommend that couples work with an experienced couples therapist or relationship coach who can help them determine the root cause of their challenges and give them tools to help address them.

Here are a few of the questions that I usually walkthrough as I help my clients determine an answer to whether their challenges are being caused by being long distance or by deeper issues within the relationship:

  • What is your relationship like when you are physically together?
  • Have you been physically together for extended periods of time before?
  • Have you been physically together when real-life stressors are present? (Or in other words, not just on vacation?)
  • In thinking about your relationship’s challenging areas, what are those areas like when you are physically together?

A final point about this common question: If your relationship is likely to remain long-distance for months or years to come, differentiating between problems caused by the distance and problems caused by the relationship may not matter all that much.

When clients ask me this question in our work together, they’re often assuming that if the relationship is all good when they’re together and it’s really just the distance that’s causing difficulties, they can discount the problems caused by physical separation as somehow less real. However, if being long-distance is a standard part of your relationship, the problems that come along deserve serious consideration as you decide whether to continue in the relationship.

What If You Can’t Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work? 

There are lots of valid reasons why partners might choose to end a relationship, and when it comes to couples who are long-distance, physical separation also often plays a role. While there are absolutely couples who are able to have healthy and happy long-distance relationships, not being able to consistently share physical space with your partner can be a legitimate challenge.

One reason for this is that being in a long-distance relationship requires more intentionality to help each partner feel loved and cherished. When you live with or in the same city as your significant other, it’s relatively easy to share little moments that build your connection, such as doing small acts of service for each other or holding hands as you talk about your day. In a long-distance relationship, it often takes more planning and forethought to show these small gestures of love, which means that it’s easier for them to fall to the wayside.

If you come to the conclusion that a long-distance relationship and the intentionality necessary to maintain it is not right for you, but still want to maintain your relationship with your partner, it may be worth exploring if you or your partner relocating to either live together or in the same city is a feasible option.

What Are Some Of The Signs That It’s Time To Let Go Of A Long Distance Relationship?

How to know when it’s time to let go of a relationship, regardless of whether it’s long-distance or not, is one of the most common questions that I get asked by my clients. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that no one knows your relationship like you do, and only you and your partner can make the final decision of when to end things. With that in mind, here are some of the signs specific to long-distance couples that I often discuss with my clients about when it may be time to consider letting go of your relationship:

  • You realize that you or your partner has needs that are too difficult to meet when you are long-distance, and these unmet needs are leading to resentment.
  • You or your partner don’t have the energy or time to exercise the intentionality that’s necessary to have a healthy and thriving long-distance relationship.
  • You don’t want to be long-distance anymore, but there is no feasible way for you and your partner to live together or in the same city in the near future.

What Is The Best Way To Initiate A Long-Distance Breakup?

Just like with all breakups, showing your partner respect is a key part of ending your long-distance relationship. Here are a few things that are helpful to consider when trying to figure out the best way to break up with your long-distance partner: 

The Medium. A good rule of thumb when breaking up with your partner is to choose a medium as close as possible to speaking in person, like a video chat or a phone call. Because long-distance relationships often rely a lot on text messaging or email as a means of communication, it can be tempting to break up through these means of communication as well, especially if you’re a person who hates conflict. Resist that urge! 

Unless there were extenuating circumstances in the relationship that could endanger your emotional safety during a phone or video conversation (like emotional abuse or gaslighting), it’s always better to go with a phone or video call if possible. 

The Timing. Another important factor to consider when initiating a breakup with your long-distance partner is timing. Ideally, try to choose a time when you know they won’t be busy, like in the middle of their workday, or preoccupied, like right before an interview or large presentation.

A Head’s Up. It can be helpful to your partner (and help get the ball rolling in the actual breakup conversation) if you give them a head’s up about having something important to talk about with them when you schedule a time for your phone or video conversation. 

There’s no need to go into too much detail (after all, you don’t want to do the actual breaking up here), but simply letting them know that when you have this conversation, there’s something important you need to talk with them about regarding the relationship will give them some time to mentally prepare for what’s to come.

How Can I Begin To Heal From The End Of My Long-Distance Relationship?

In my work as a breakup recovery therapist and coach, one of the ways that I have seen a long-distance breakup be different from typical breakups is that, at first, your life may not seem to change all that much. 

In a typical relationship, a breakup often involves moving out from the living space you share with your partner or finding new things to do during your evenings and weekends. However, when your long-distance relationship ends, your living space will usually not change, and your day-to-day life will likely remain largely the same, minus some messages and calls from your ex.

Because long-distance breakups tend to change people’s daily lives less dramatically, it may take longer for the reality of your breakup and the typical grieving process to set in. Once it does, however, healing from the end of your relationship is much like healing from the end of any relationship. Grieving your relationship, experiencing a range of emotions, and eventually, growth, are all normal and to be expected. To learn about the stages of a breakup in more detail, I recommend checking out Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby’s podcast episode specifically on this topic: Long Distance Relationship Questions.

As you heal from the end of your relationship, should you feel that additional support beyond what your friends and family can provide would be helpful, I would also recommend meeting with a therapist or coach who specializes in breakup recovery for private meetings or group sessions (like my online Breakup Support Group). 

Gaining professional guidance can help you make sure that you are on the right path to healing, and, if you decide to attend a group, hearing from others in similar situations can help you to know that you’re not alone.

If you find yourself in a long-distance relationship that doesn’t seem to be working, I hope that some of the perspectives I’ve shared here can be helpful to you.

Warmly,
Kensington

Utah online marriage counseling Denver online breakup recovery group

With compassionate understanding and unique insights, Kensington O., M.S., LAMFT, MFTC helps you improve the most meaningful parts of your life, from your emotional well-being to your relationships.

Related Post


  • Fight Racism, Part 2: Becoming Antiracist
    Want to fight racism? Start by coming to terms with your own identity. Join us for a conversation about antiracism and becoming a true ally.
  • Keystone Habits: The Key To Changing Everything
    If you're ready for change, don't waste your time on resolutions. Instead, focus your energy on cultivating the one keystone habit that will transform everything. Learn how, on this episode of the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
  • How to Be a Force of Good in The World
    Do you want to help others? It’s easier than you think. On this episode of the podcast, I’m discussing the mindset that will help you be a force for good.
  • Sex After Infidelity
    Sex after infidelity can stir up a surprising swirl of complicated feelings for both partners. A sex therapist shares how to re-establish intimacy in the aftermath of an affair, on this episode of the podcast.
  • Getting Back With An Ex
    Considering getting back with an Ex? Thinking of being friends with an Ex? Learn when reconnecting with an Ex works (and when it doesn’t) on this episode of the podcast.
  • How to Deal with In-Laws
    In law problems? You’re not alone. Here’s advice for how to deal with in-laws, from Denver marriage and family therapist Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby.
  • How to Read People
    Do you wish you knew what’s really going on in your partner’s head or how your coworkers actually feel about you? This episode of the podcast is all about learning how to read people, so that you can pick up on the things that aren’t being said.
  • Emotional Flooding
    Emotional flooding makes you say things you regret, or withdraw and avoid. Both can be disastrous for a relationship. Learn how to manage emotional flooding on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast.
  • Self-Limiting Beliefs
    Are self-limiting beliefs holding you back? Learn how to identify and overcome your limiting beliefs on this episode.

Self-Care Tips for When You’re Going Through a Divorce

Self-Care Tips for When You're Going Through a Divorce

Take Care

The nature of the relationship between divorcing couples tends to fall anywhere on the range from amicable to highly contentious, but regardless of the dynamic, going through divorce is never easy. Self-care and social support are critically important areas for divorcing spouses to focus their attention on as they navigate such a challenging time. 

As a therapist and breakup recovery coach, I like to walk my clients through the process of building self-care routines that can help aid in the recovery and healing process after a breakup or divorce.

Creating a List of Self-Care Activities

In my work with breakup recovery clients, I like to encourage you to create a list of self-care activities (I also like to call these “feel good” activities) that are diverse enough that you are able to engage in at least one activity from that list every single day. 

The reason why it’s important to have a diverse list is so that you can set yourself up for self-care success. It’s so easy to push off self-care when you’re going through a divorce, especially if you have a family. But it’s imperative that you remember to set aside time for yourself. 

I ask that clients are thoughtful about including activities that are in-home and some that take place out of the home; ones that are free and others that cost money; some that are outside and some that take place indoors; activities that require other peoples’ involvement and others that are solo activities, and so on. 

It might sound impossible to engage in self-care on a daily basis, but when you make a self-care list that is as diverse as possible, you are able to come up with activities that are appropriate regardless of the time of day or how much free time is available. 

For example, activities such as taking a long shower or watching a TV show can be done from the comfort of your home. Actions such as listening to music by your favorite artist or engaging in breathing exercises can occur at work. Going on a trip or out to dinner with friends require more planning and money than some other activities, but might still be appropriate for your self-care list. 

Anything that brings you joy and makes you feel good belongs on this list. 

[For more on creating a self-care plan, see: A Self-Care Plan to Cultivate Calm]

Establishing & Building Your Social Support

Social support is extremely important when going through any challenging experience, including divorce. Seeking support from friends, family, and/or a therapist are all good options, as is joining online support groups for people experiencing divorce. 

While you may find that you’ve lost some friends due to people taking sides or maybe you’ve lost touch with friends during your marriage and find you don’t have as many as you’d like, focusing on maintaining and rebuilding important relationships is a great way to ensure you have the support necessary to navigate and recover from a divorce.

Your support system can help you maintain your self-care activities, check-in and offer support when you are experiencing a more difficult day, offer encouragement, offer distraction, and help you work through your healing journey.

If now is the time when you are realizing that your friendships could use a little growth work of their own, check out these articles for tips on building healthy relationships:
The Importance of Healthy Friendships 
Feeling Lonely? How to Find True Friendship in a Frantic World.

Practicing Self-Care for Big Emotions

Big emotions are bound to spike during the divorce process and that can make it difficult to communicate effectively. Some divorce methods, such as Collaborative Divorce, have a mental health professional involved to help address these kinds of situations in the moment, but in other situations, you may feel more alone in terms of managing your emotions. 

Remember, divorce is a process and while there may be an urgency felt to settle the issues as quickly as possible, you are better off taking time to cool down and revisit the contentious issue, rather than making decisions while emotions are ramped up. 

Self-soothing is extremely important when it comes to managing emotions. Self-talk, such as telling yourself that this difficult period will pass or that you’ve been through other hard times and survived, can be extremely helpful, as are breathing exercises, such as inhaling through your nose, pausing for a few seconds, and slowly exhaling through your mouth. 

These are self-care activities you can engage in on the spot or immediately after divorce-related conversations or milestones.  

Feeling big emotions is part of being human, and it's important that you allow yourself the space to work through them. Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart and It's Okay to Cry: How to Handle Big Emotions each share how to work through these big emotions while supporting yourself. 

Let's Talk. Schedule a Free Consultation Today.

Managing Anxiety Around Rebuilding Your Life

Anxiety about the unknown surrounding life post-divorce is completely normal. People tend to try to eliminate the “bad” emotions as quickly as possible because they can feel so uncomfortable, but they are absolutely normal responses, and the sooner we allow ourselves to acknowledge them and even indulge them, the sooner we’re able to move through them. 

Self-talk can really make or break things and you have a huge amount of power during this process by choosing what kinds of thoughts you’d like to feed yourself. The anxiety-ridden thoughts are probably going to come to mind more easily, so it can be helpful to create a list of positive changes that are occurring as a result of the divorce so you can revisit that list when you feel bogged down by the anxiety.

I am a firm believer that crisis points often lead to opportunity and that nothing is 100% good or 100% bad, so when you feel ready, as strange as it might sound, I encourage you to contemplate the silver lining and the new opportunities that could come your way as a result of the divorce and capture that list in the notepad in your phone so you can continue to add it it as new ideas come to mind. 

Working Through Divorce Stages of Grief

When going through a divorce, it can feel like everything is falling apart. Rest assured, this feeling is not permanent, but there is validity to it. Navigating the Post-Divorce Stages of Grief can feel really scary, unstable, and uncertain. I strongly encourage you to treat this end of the relationship as a death because when we allow ourselves to frame our experience in that way, we also tend to be more gentle on ourselves and give ourselves permission to grieve in many of the ways we would if we suffered an actual death. The reality is, the end of a marriage is a death, and it’s okay if you are struggling to take care of yourself. 

The best course of action is to do one small self-care activity each day and not think too far ahead because the recovery process can feel too daunting. If that means that today you were able to get up and take a shower but not muster much else, that’s okay. Acknowledge small efforts to yourself and you will find that the efforts eventually build and build until you’ve developed a new normal. 

Perhaps most importantly, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Friends and family are often waiting in the wings to step in and help, but might not know that you’re suffering unless you communicate that to them. Likewise, therapists are always available to help support you during these difficult times, so reach out!

If you are going through a divorce or breakup, I recommend the book, How to Survive the Loss of a Love to help you on your healing journey. 

Warmly,
Dr. Rachel

Dr. Rachel Merlin, DMFT, LMFT, M.S.Ed.

Dr. Rachel Merlin is a relationship coach and marriage and family therapist who assists couples and individuals in transforming their lives by creating more satisfying relationships.

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

Related Post

Do What You Love

Do What You Love

It’s one thing to find a job and another to find your passion. Today on the Love, Happiness and Success podcast, Dr. Lisa is talking all about how YOU can create a career doing what you love.

Getting Back With An Ex

Considering getting back with an Ex? Thinking of being friends with an Ex? Learn when reconnecting with an Ex works (and when it doesn’t) on this episode of the podcast.

How to Read People

Do you wish you knew what’s really going on in your partner’s head or how your coworkers actually feel about you? This episode of the podcast is all about learning how to read people, so that you can pick up on the things that aren’t being said.

Emotional Flooding

Emotional flooding makes you say things you regret, or withdraw and avoid. Both can be disastrous for a relationship. Learn how to manage emotional flooding on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast.

Mind-Body Connection

Your mind-body connection is powerful. Learn how to improve your mood, mental health, and physical wellness holistically on this episode of the podcast.

Loading...