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When Love Becomes Self-Harm: Taking Action

Figuring out the intricacies of a relationship is difficult. Figuring out the intricacies of yourself is even more difficult. Most do not get to realize who they really are, they do not get to realize it in an external manner, meaning that they do not get to live the way they desire to do so. And most do not realize who they are in an internal manner, meaning that they do not know themselves; it may feel like the person looking back through the mirror is a stranger. There is a deep disconnect in society today, that it has always been the case is what I believe, and finding one’s center is often a task that is set aside for a more convenient time. And so, when someone falls into a relationship and is consumed by passion, affection, and love, finding center is completely forgotten. It is when the relationship falls apart that the person realizes just how off center he or she is, just how far away from their true selves they are.

Overcoming the pain that comes with a broken heart is not easy. It is easy to read about how to get over a relationship. It is easy to talk about it, to tell others what to do, but it is another thing to act upon that wisdom and knowledge. How you go about healing yourself has to be the way that you feel is natural and beneficial to yourself, not how you think it should be, or how others tell you it should be. (Read Action! to understand two different ways to move.)

So, how do you even begin to move on from a bad relationship? First, take note of where you are. This means that you need to analyze your surroundings, both internal and external. Take your bearings, look at where this relationship has taken you, how it has changed you. This is an internal action. This an inner analysis, a reflection, a meditation, and it may not be easy. Or, if that's to hard and painful, take not of your external surroundings. For example: Are you where you want to be? Have you ahcieved your material goals?

Again, this is something that often gets people tangled up; thinking that moving on will be easy, thinking that getting over something is going to be easy, or perhaps even worse, wanting it to be easy. It is worse to want it to be easy because then moving on becomes a task, an insurmountable task. This is when people tend to give up and go back to the relationship even if it hurts.

How do you take note of where you are? Personally, I prefer to write things out, but this is because I am a writer. You may not like to write. But then again, there are different types of writing. Journaling. Most think of journaling as being a teenager’s hobby where the pages are filled with angst and clichés, and doodles of broken hearts. A journal is what you make it, just like life is what you make it. To journal you don’t have to write long form entries. You can write whatever you want, somehow people do not realize this (Working as a tutor I have often had to explain this to my students who always look at me with stunned expressions.). So, keeping a journal, starting a journal, may be helpful. You can write lists, put your feelings into bullet points; it may help you feel more clear-headed. If having a journal or a diary is too uncomfortable, then just have a notebook or a notepad. Having a place to put your thoughts, ideas, and feelings is a great form of self-reflection. There is solace in knowing that no one will read what you put there. There is absolute freedom and permission to be who you are without apology in the pages of a book. At the other side of the spectrum, you may feel even better if you just put it all out there. Perhaps having a blog can be helpful. There are many ways to hide your identity when blogging while still be able lay yourself bare. Some find it liberating to just let it all out for the world to see and even more so when there is a positive response. So, if either of these methods are appealing to you, then don’t hesitate to try one. But, why writing? Writing requires your mind to focus. You have to analyze what is going out on the page. The more you do it and depending on the type of writing, the words just flow and somehow your mind just ticks into place. Usually what you need when dealing with heartache is clarity of mind. You need to step back from the heart and see what is really happening there.

Writing is not the only way to start analyzing yourself. Really what the goal of doing any form of reflection is to achieve a higher level of awareness. You can draw, you can color (new trend that’s been going around, but is just something we did as children being made accessible to adults again), you can play an instrument. There is a difference between listening to music and playing music. If you are listening to music and going through all of your feelings and all of those thoughts, you are being passive about your situation. This is not going to help you go anywhere even though you may feel better. You will relapse. It will not work without you taking action based on whatever clarity or revelation you gain through listening to music. Now, if you play music on an instrument or sing, it is far more effective because you have to act, you have to make the sounds, the harmonies, and so on. This is engaging, demanding, and focuses the mind. If you focus your mind on one thing for a certain amount of time, your mind will open up to everything else but in a relaxed manner. This is called meditation. Most think of meditation as being very difficult and needing to be in a certain position for hours on end. There are different types of meditation, some which you do on a regular basis without realizing it.

Inevitably, a partner changes your routine. Remember the routine you used to have before you met her, before you met him? How about you start going back to it? Something as simple and as mundane as a daily routine can help you feel more like yourself. Making those little changes, like the time you go to sleep or wake up, what you do when you shower, and so on, are things that can help you recover your sense of self. Do what feels natural to you. Think in terms of yourself, not in terms of what he or she may like.

Start by loving yourself enough to let go.


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