After the Break-up: Holding Onto Hatred Hurts You!

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You’re going through a break-up.  You were treated very badly. Now 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 feelings. The last thing you want to admit is that this slime of a person, this scoundrel, this louse is the same person you once loved. Yep, one in the same.

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 it.  So what’s wrong with it?  Here’s what’s wrong: holding onto hatred is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

A 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. Every time 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 an event sipping wine, laughing and looking happy as a clam.  And there she was filled with hatred; miserable inside. She got it.  Holding onto her anger wasn’t hurting them, it was hurting her!

Holding onto venom can make you sick–physically, emotionally, spiritually. You’re stuck in mud, which robs you of your joy and prevents you from moving forward in your life.   You’re glued to that negativity until you decide to let it go.  How do you do that?  You forgive.

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  You need to understand that forgiveness is a process.  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 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 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.  Doing that makes it 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.  I think you’ll find it’s well worth 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 relationships. You can buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (Kindle), such as amazon.com.

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