Big Breakup Mistake #1: Holding onto hatred.

It seems so right. I mean, he/she treated you like shit. You’re angry; you’re hurt; you hate them; you want revenge.  Chances are, you’ve been through a bad breakup (haven’t we all?) and had these exact same feelings. The last thing you want to admit is that this slime of a person, this scoundral, this louse is the same person you once loved. Yep, one in the same.

Your vindicative volcanic feelings are normal. When you’ve been hurt, and hurt badly, it’s natural to feel bitter and angry. It’s understandable to want revenge. Practically no one would blame you for this. So what’s wrong with it? Well, here’s a truism that says in a nutshell what’s wrong: holding onto hatred is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

The common misconception is that hating someone hurts them. Oh, it might for a while, but pretty soon, they go on with their life and forget all about you. So who’s hurt now? YOU! Why? Because you’re consumed with venom. Everytime you think of this person, you feel the same horrible feelings all over again. Did you know that your body actually has the same physiological response from your thoughts that it did when the actual event occurred? It’s true. And that’s not good news.

Oprah recalled a personal situation: she said that someone hurt her so badly that she vowed to get back at them by hating them forever. Every time she thought of them, she felt the same raw rage that she did when it happened. Some time later, she saw this person at some event sipping a glass of wine, laughing and looking as happy as a clam. And there she was filled with hatred; miserable inside. She got it. By holding onto her anger, she wasn’t hurting them, she was hurting herself.

Holding onto venom can make you sick–physically, emotionally, spiritually. You’re simply storing up blackness in your body, which robs you of your joy and prevents you from moving forward in your life.   You can’t move forward if you’re clinging to the past.  You’re glued to that negativity until you decide to let go of it.  How?  By forgiving.

Forgiveness is a process, so know that it will take time and effort to make it happen.  Use the consequences of not forgiving as a motivator.  Do you really want to make yourself sick?  Are you really this vindictive, hateful person that you’ve become? Do you really want to give your ex the power to make you into someone you don’t want to be? My guess is that you would say “no” to all of these things.

So, do yourself a favor and find a way to forgive.  Make it a goal; affirm it even if you don’t feel it; explore and take responsibility for your part in creating the relationship.  When you do that, it’s awfully hard to simply point the finger.  By the way, your ex need not be involved at all.  Forgiveness is about YOU doing your internal work.  And it’s YOU who will be rewarded for your effort.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about breakups and relationships in general. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, and buy it on Amazon in print or ebook, and Barnes & Noble in print.

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