Counselling for Relationship Breakups & Coping with Separation
No matter what the nature of a relationship, be it marriage, civil partnership or simply your significant other, it is never an easy situation when you are facing a breakup, separation or divorce.
Whatever the reasons for the breakdown, the range of emotions you experience can be powerful and thus the situation can feel overwhelming and difficult to cope with. Consequently, the ending of the relationship can also start to feel as though your whole world is ending. Counselling for Coping with Relationship Breakups & Separation helps you to work through these emotions and to come to terms with your new and changed circumstances.
Emerging from the breakup with a more positive attitude
Though you may not feel that anything positive could come from the traumatic experience of divorce or separation, you can recover and even come back stronger after you have processed what has actually happened. Learning from your experience can make you wiser and leave you more positive about your future and new relationships. By working through your emotions following the breakup, Counselling can support you towards a happier and more positive future.
What Emotions can Breakups, Separation & Divorce Trigger?
Below are some of the reactions and situations that the ending of a relationship can bring about:
- Trauma – Break ups, separations and divorce are not to be underestimated. They can be experienced as a trauma and consequently your reactions to them are trauma reactions. Negative physical reactions around sleeping and eating can occur as can physical pains such as persistent headaches, sweating or constant stomach upsets. There are also a host of emotional responses that come with trauma reactions . . . from disorientation, hyper-alertness, mood swings, feelings of panic, isolating and detaching yourself, minimising the event. . . to name but a few.
“Even when you know the relationship needed to end, when it is the right thing and you feel happier, there is still grief for what is lost”
- Grief – The end of a relationship is the death of something and therefore one of the responses to it is one of grief. Grieving the relationship, the person you have lost, the person you thought you were with them, the future that now looks different . . . All these things are grieved by you. Even when you know the relationship needed to end, when it is the right thing and you feel happier, there is still grief for what is lost. This can feel strange, as if it’s wrong to grieve something you know you don’t want, but in fact this is normal . . . This can also be the case if the relationship was abusive or negative in any way . . . There has still been a loss and this loss needs to be processed along with everything else.
- Confusion – Separating from someone perhaps on a temporary basis, in a rush or as the result of a cumulation of events and feelings, can leave you feeling confused and ‘spinning’. What do I do? What is right/ What is wrong? How do I feel about this person?
“Grieving the relationship, the person you have lost, the person you thought you were with them, the future that now looks different . . .”
- ‘Stuckness’ – Although not a real word, this conjures the sense of what is a common feeling when it comes to relationships. In regards to a potential separation or potential ending of a relationship it can be because of feeling trapped, stuck, weighed down. Where is this going? Is it going anywhere? Things feel repetitive and ‘on a loop’. Or it can be a sense of feeling stuck ‘in yourself’ in regards to who you are and what you want . . . Because of not knowing how you feel about yourself, you therefore don’t know how you feel about the relationship.
- Rollercoaster of emotions – Anger, freedom, guilt, shame, failure, relief, joy . . . The ending of a relationship can bring about a huge range of feelings.
- Overwhelm – Separation and divorce tends to come with lawyers, solicitors, custody battles. You may feel a sense of being unable to cope and as though you are ‘reaching breaking point’ because of trying to deal not only with the emotional trauma of the break up but also with the practical and legal side of it all.
“separation and divorce can cause a feeling of powerlessness”
- Powerlessness – Male or female, and whether legal services are involved or not, separation and divorce can cause a feeling of powerlessness. It can leave you with a sense that you don’t have a voice, that you aren’t being heard. This can be in relation to the relationship itself, the person and the past, or it can be in relation to the way the ending is being handled and your feelings about it.
- Anxiety and / or Depression – Given all the above, anxiety and or depression can be strong feelings that arise. It is such a turbulent, confusing and stressful time that a sense of feeling hopeless and wanting to ‘give up’ in relation to it all is normal as can be feeling anxious, panicked and worried all the time in relation to what is going on.
How can counselling for relationship breakups help with separation and divorce?
Counselling is a space for you. It can be some, all, or none of the following, but it will be your time to work through the experience you have had in regards to the break up, separation or divorce that you are going or have gone through. Counselling for Relationship Breakups is a place:
- to understand, manage and learn to cope with your traumatic reactions to the split.
- of calm in the storm and whirlwind of lawyers, legal papers and courts, a space where you can come, gain a sense of objectivity and space from the event in order to find yourself and what you want amongst the chaos.
- to grieve, openly and without judgement, what the relationship meant to you.
- to explore and to discover who you are, what you want, what your experiences have been within the relationship and the factors that have lead you to this point.
- to understand where the sense of powerlessness has come from and to feel a sense of control over your situation once more.
- to unravel and pick apart the mixture of emotions that you are feeling.
Moving forward . . . with Counselling for Relationship Breakups
Counselling can offer the space to take a step back and gain some objectivity and space. In relation to divorce and separation it provides a “pause” at a point when everything feels overwhelming and in turmoil.
Consequently, it can help to begin to see a way out of the pain and difficult emotion, although this can feel impossible to believe whilst in the middle of separating. Counselling for Relationship Breakups becomes an opportunity not only to form an understanding of what has happened, but to begin to heal, by rediscovering and connecting with yourself again, answering the questions:
- Moving forward … What do you want?
- What feels important for you now?
- Moving forward … What would you like to change?
Working through a divorce can bring up surprising things; you learn about yourself and begin to sow seeds that, if you want them to, can grow into the changes and newness you want to implement in your life.
Take the first steps in moving forward following your divorce or separation, contact Rachel to discuss Counselling for coping with Relationship Breakups.