Self-Destructive After A Breakup

Everyone knows the breakup of a love relationship is painful. Even more painful when you’re the one that doesn’t want it to end. Some people get self-destructive after a breakup because they are in pain, and can’t or choose not to manage that pain in any other way. These are a few of the common ways to be self-destructive after a breakup.

Alcohol & Drugs: Some people figure the best thing to do when in pain is to take a pain killer. Alcohol and drugs are the most common form of pain killer available with or without a prescription. The idea is to go numb and take a breather from what’s hurting. Unfortunately, some people overdo it.

Besides the physical toxicity of too much alcohol or drugs, the destructiveness tends to come from the heightened potential for bad judgment. Because people who are drunk or high often do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do to ‘get away from themselves.’ Unfortunately sometimes the things they do are self-destructive.

Rebound into an Unhealthy Relationship: Another self-destructive move would be to jump into an unhealthy relationship as soon as possible after a breakup. The plan is to avoid the feelings of loss by rebounding into an unhealthy relationship.

The relationship is unhealthy because your hurt and there is a good chance the relationship you’re jumping into will hurt you more. Unfortunately, some people even take this a step further and punish themselves because of guilt feelings and self-blame by jumping into an unhealthy relationship they sort of know will hurt them further.

Self-Destructive Revenge: Besides the obvious self-destructiveness of getting back at someone who breaks up with you, another more subtle form of revenge is the taking your hurt out on your innocent next lover. This usually involves rebounding into another love relationship, getting your new lover to fall in love with you, then hurting him or her to get back at the lover who broke up with you. Very bad stuff indeed. It goes without saying that revenge in any form after a breakup is self-destructive simply because it’s the kind of experience that poisons everyone involved.

Indulging self-destructive feelings after a breakup also leads to a mistrust of future love. It’s as though the self-destructiveness, as a distorted expression of hurt, reinforces the thought and feeling that love hurts and it should be avoided to avoid further pain.

In this state of mind, the heart never heals. It’s amazing how long a human being can go in this emotional state. I’ve worked with people who painfully cried about a love-life disappointment and loss thirty years after it happened, as though it happened yesterday.

If you don’t heal your heart by dealing with your hurt as hurt, honesty and directly, it never heals. Your hurt feelings will take whatever distorted self-destructive form available but they will never heal. For some people, hurt and grief are so overwhelming they require support (social and/or professional) to help them manage these feelings.

Making this kind of investment in one’s love-life is always worth it. Think of of what’s at stake. Being able to love again in a healthy and open way, what’s that worth?

Comments? Welcome. Dr. T. Jordan




Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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