This Is The Pain In Holding On


Letting go after a breakup can seem like an impossible task. The problem is that if you allow yourself to stay mired in grief, guilt, longing and resentment, you’ll only go on hurting yourself for way longer than your ex ever had the chance to hurt you.

If we want our ex back, we may feel superstitious, like by hanging onto our bad feelings we’re making it more likely that they’ll notice this AFFECTS US. We might unconsciously feel that by holding onto our negative feelings, somehow we’re magically introducing hope into a situation that feels hopeless.

If we don’t want them back, we might believe that we’ll prevent more hurt and pain in the future by reliving the negativity and promising ourselves “we’ll never do that again, here’s why s/he was awful,” but the exact opposite is true.

By self righteously hanging onto the pain, all we’re doing is making our lives harder in just about every way imaginable.

The more guilt, pain and hurt we lug around, the more we’ll enact it on the people around us and the more rotten we’ll feel, leading to more rotten relationships and negativity and… and… and… you guessed it, the cycle will continue.

And yet after a negative event like a breakup, there we are, insisting on reliving, reimagining, making resolutions about and generally wallowing in the what-ifs and remorse about the past.

We may say that we want a happy relationship with our ex or someone else, but we can’t get there from here.

It always amazes me how dead-set people are on the idea that with more effort, they’ll create what they want in a specific relationship when the opposite is actually true. The more needy, anxious effort someone expends, the more it drives the other person away because of the undercurrent of needy dependency.

To drive this point home, think about the situation in the reverse. If someone HAS TO have you, that might feel initially flattering, but after about 3 minutes, it’s slimy and off-putting. You feel responsible for carrying the burden of the other person’s heavy feelings.

Unless you’re in the same place of extreme neediness and/or feeling desperate for attention yourself— which is unlikely since it’s such a repellent state— you’re going to wonder if that person truly has to have you or if they’re just naturally unhinged and they could transfer their attentions to almost anyone if given the opportunity.

That’s why, even if you pray every night that your ex-love will come back, the attempt to gain control over the situation by stalwartly carrying the torch of negativity is so ill-conceived. Trying to force your ex to do anything by your misguided sheer power of your will gives off such an unattractive vibe that it further pushes them away.

You’re better off working through your negative emotions on your own rather than harboring them in a misguided attempt to somehow wrestle control over the situation via your sheer force of will.

Consider a time when you were the one to push the kill switch on a relationship. Were you attracted by your exe’s extreme pain? Did it make you feel like changing your mind?

You might have felt pity, guilt over breaking their heart, pain and shame over the failed relationship, but that probably pushed you further away from them and actually diminished your respect for them. Actually, the more intensely negative they acted, and the more they tried to “show you how they felt” the more it probably pushed you toward certainty about never wanting to see them again, right?

You might feel like time is of the essence, that they’ll find someone else, that if they “don’t know how you feel about them, they’ll be gone for good.”

All of these thought processes come from a place of lack— and for good reason— I get it. But if you buy into them, you’ll act desperate, needy and become even more unattractive to your ex than you already are.

They already know that you love them. They just don’t want you right now.

That’s why trying to get them to wake up and realize something about you in an effort to get your way right now is going to have the opposite effect and solidify their negative opinion of you.

Paradoxically, you must let go of it completely. It’s time to bring your attention squarely onto yourself and away from your ex, the breakup, and the life consequences of all of this, whether you want another shot with them or not.

It’s time to let go. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

This post originally appeared at Attract The One.

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