Why do breakups feel so emotionally heavy, hard and sticky? In today's episode I'll explore three reasons why breakups hurt so bad. I'll challenge the societal norms that tie our self-worth and identity to our relationship status and teach you how to confront the narratives that amplify the pain during a divorce.
I'll also uncover the key difference between clean pain and dirty pain, helping you understand how clean pain paves the way for healing, while dirty pain only adds to unnecessary suffering.
I'll end the episode helping you understand how having a constantly dysregulated nervous system adds to the pain and heartache you're feeling as you go through a breakup.
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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.
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Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I'm Karin Nelson and you are listening to Becoming you Again, episode number 133. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome back to the podcast. My lovely ladies, I am so happy that you are here. I feel like it's been a very long time since I have recorded just kind of a regular podcast for you all, where I just kind of sit in my closet and I talk about things that are on my mind. Seems like a lot of my podcasts lately have been interviews, which is fine. I love the interviews. I love hearing from experts. I love hearing from women who are thriving after their divorce, to give you all some hope or whatever it is that you might be needing or seeking right now in your life. Maybe it's some validation, I don't know, but I'm just so happy to be able to provide that for you, but also to be able to just sit here and talk to you today. I had an amazing week. I got my haircut. I mean, I don't know if you're like me, but getting my haircut is like one of the highlights of my life. I love it so much. I've always loved it. I just love when I get my hair washed. It feels so good. I love somebody taking care of me and getting my haircut has always felt that way. But in particular, this salon that I go to now I don't even know if it's called a salon. It's like, well, it's actually called the Curl Lab and it's in Salt Lake. I've been going there for the last I don't know couple of haircuts. I think I talked about this on the podcast a while back, but I love it. It is literally the best haircuts I've ever had in my entire life. Clearly, from the title of the hair place, it's called the Curl Lab. They do specialize in curly hair, but you don't have to have curly hair to go there. My son goes there and he doesn't have curly hair at all, which is so crazy, because my daughter's hair is curly, but not curly like mine. We definitely have different kinds of curls and my son doesn't have curly hair at all, which is hilarious, but that is a totally different subject. But if you are in the Salt Lake area or the Davis County area, which is where I live, you need to go to the Curl Lab. It is literally the best. Alisia will take great care of you, but literally anyone else who works in the salon knows what they're doing and I just felt so beautiful, I felt pampered, I felt really seen, really taken care of, and if that has never been something that you have felt when it comes to your hair, then go here. Go here. So that is truly what made my week amazing. I was able to provide myself some self-care, some love and give myself something that I really really enjoy doing, even though I don't do it very often I do it like once every three to four months-ish but I love it and it is one of my favorite things. So what's one of your favorite things that you love to do for yourself, that you love to provide for yourself? I say, try and do that by the end of the month for yourself, just for you, no one else. Take care of you. You are worthy, you are important, you deserve it All right, so let's jump into today's podcast episode. Today, we are talking about why breakups and obviously divorce specifically, because this whole podcast is about divorce but why breakups are so hard. When we go through a divorce, it is so painful, there's so many negative emotions that are attached to divorce. Now, of course, I am speaking generally. This is not always the case. Sometimes some people are very excited, very happy that they are getting divorced, and that's not who I'm talking to today. Today I'm talking to the women who are really struggling with the negative emotions that feel so heavy and so present as they go through their divorce. Sometimes these emotions can keep us feeling stuck. They can keep us feeling uncertain about the future. They can keep us feeling incapable of making decisions outside relationships. They can keep us just really feeling like we are not going to be able to make it outside of the divorce, and it can feel very scary and very heavy. So today I really want to address why breakups feel so hard. So the first reason is because we, as women, are socialized to believe that our relationships are what give us our ultimate worth and value. Now, of course, this is just a narrative that we've been passed down through misogyny, through patriarchy, through generations of time women, men, all of it coming together. But when we buy into this narrative that when we're in a relationship, we're good enough and we've done something right and we're pretty enough and we were chosen and we were asked to get married, we were proposed to, and now we're in this relationship, and now that means that we're smart enough, we're good enough, we are worthy, we are valuable, and then God forbid we go through a breakup like a divorce, and then our status or our worth, in a sense, seems to drop down, seems to go down a peg. Now, remember, I am not saying that any of this is true. In fact, it actually is just a story that you have been fed your whole life. I have been fed it. Everyone who lives in the Western world, specifically, has been fed it. I can't speak outside of the Western world because this is where I live, this is where I've grown up, this is where I recognize this narrative that is not useful in any way. Your worth doesn't diminish when you are divorced, when you go through a breakup. Your worth is inherent. It is never changing, it is always 100%. But the narrative is something that you get to decide whether you want to continue to believe or not. But I do want to say that one of the reasons that divorce feels so very hard and so very heavy and so very painful is because you may be holding on to this social construct that your worth is going down because you're divorced. It definitely feels more painful to believe that you are not worthy. It definitely feels more painful to believe that you are not good enough. It definitely feels more painful to believe that you are not as valuable as you were when you were married or that you are damaged because you're no longer married, because you're no longer in a relationship. But those stories and those ideas, they are not yours. They were given to you before you even knew what was going on. And now that you have some awareness around that story, that's when you can start to unwind from that narrative. You do not have to carry that narrative around with you any longer. The next reason that breakups can feel so hard is because of a concept called clean pain and dirty pain. It's actually been quite a while since I've talked about this concept on the podcast, but I do think that it's worth returning to because I think it might be really useful for many of you. Clean pain is the kind of pain that we feel when we grieve, when we feel lost, when we feel sad about something. It's the kind of pain where we kind of recognize we don't really want to be happy about everything in life because there are things like war and human suffering and murder and rape and divorce and loss, death, things like that. Then, when we really think about it, those aren't things we want to be happy about, right, and so those types of things are things where we will feel clean pain, we will feel sad, we will feel lost, we will feel grief over those things, and that is the kind of pain that when we feel it and when we open up to it, it actually moves through us. It actually provides a sense of healing when we allow it to be there. Now, on the opposite side, we have dirty pain, and dirty pain is the unnecessary suffering that we create for ourselves as we're feeling the loss, the sadness, the grief, all of those things. We pile more pain on top of that called dirty pain. We pile things on like judgment of ourselves or other people. We pile things on like criticizing ourselves, telling ourselves how wrong we are, how stupid we are, how we did it all wrong, or things like shame, like it's all our fault. How could we possibly do that? Or it could go the opposite, where we're blaming someone but we are feeling that pain of the blame, the hate, the despising. Those kind of emotions are what create so much unnecessary suffering. Unnecessary suffering on top of the clean pain that we are already feeling. And when we sit in the dirty pain, it feels very hard, it feels very heavy, it is sticky. It's almost like we don't know what to do. We don't know how to get out of it. We keep spinning in our heads over it, we keep telling ourselves this story over and over and over again and we can't figure out how to get out of that extra heavy pain that we're feeling. But I want you to remember that being a human means that you're going to feel negative emotion. That is just a part of life. It truly is something that happens to every single one of us. There's no getting out of feeling negative emotion. And when we start to recognize this, we can start to recognize that when we feel negative emotion, truly nothing has gone wrong. There's nothing wrong with negative emotion. It's when we make it mean something is wrong with us or that we've done something wrong because we're feeling it, that's when it starts to feel so, so bad. However, when you start to recognize the difference between clean pain and dirty pain, that's when you can mitigate the intensity of the negative emotion by not piling on unnecessary suffering with dirty pain. And the last reason that breakups are so freaking hard is because when we go through a breakup, our primal emotional response kicks in and our brain sees the breakup as rejection, which I guess it is in a sense right. When you go through a breakup, you are being rejected or you are rejecting someone else, right. That's just kind of the nature of what a breakup a divorce even means. But if we think about rejection in terms of our primal ancestors' rejection, that to them meant certain death. It meant that if you were kicked out of the tribe for whatever reason, you were no longer in the group, which meant that your survival went way down. So our primitive brain sees this rejection and it starts to set off alarm bells like danger, danger, danger. This could mean death, this could mean we're going to die. And even though we logically, like with our prefrontal cortex, can slow down and we know that rejection Doesn't actually mean we're going to die, our brain, however, especially the primal part, the amygdala, it does not know the difference between emotional danger, which is what we feel when we feel rejected right, and actual physical danger, which is what our ancestors were feeling when they got kicked out of the tribe. Because they might have been, they might have had more of a chance of getting chased by some kind of predator or dying because of the environment. But once our brain kicks in with this danger warning, our central nervous system also reacts by becoming dysregulated, which then creates a heightened sense of fear, a heightened sense of anxiety, a heightened sense of discomfort, of unease, and If you don't know how to re-regulate your nervous system To bring calm and peace to your body, then it's a very difficult to bring your prefrontal cortex back online so that you can be able to reason, so that you can be able to offer Compassion to yourself and to other people when you're going through your divorce, so that you can make decisions that are in your best interest and really accept this idea that you're going to be okay after your divorce. Living in a body that has a constantly dysregulated nervous system is going to make your breakup or your divorce much harder to deal with, much more painful, and, by default, it's probably going to have you making decisions that are not in your best interest Moving forward. So I hope that these three things help you kind of recognize why breakups feel so hard, why the divorce feels so emotionally taxing, so emotionally heavy, so sticky. But I also hope that now that you have some awareness around this, you will be able to start to unwind the unnecessary pain, the heartache, the narratives that are keeping you stuck where you're at and instead help you step into greater healing, greater love for yourself as you grieve your breakup and really step into a place where you can move forward without carrying so much of that painful baggage along with you. Alright, my friends, that is what I have for you today. I love you so much. Thank you for being here. I will be back next week. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real-life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to KarinNelsonCoaching dot com. That's wwwKARINnelSONCoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give me a rating wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.