How to Survive a Breakup: 12 Ways to Stop Blaming Yourself and Gain From It

05/20/2015 04:41 pm ET | Updated May 20, 2016


No matter the circumstances, on some level we blame ourselves when a relationship ends. We take it as a personal failure. The sorrow of heartbreak is not just about loss, but about self doubt. When rejection is involved in the breakup, it triggers primal rage which we turn against ourselves, beating ourselves up. This intense self inflicted onslaught is part and parcel of the emotional crisis of abandonment and can leave lasting scars in our self esteem.

Insecurity is one of the issues people attack themselves for. Some feel their insecurity is what drove their partner away. They feel shame. They suddenly focus on all of their personal defects, believing that it was their lacking, inadequacies, faults, deficits, and negative behaviors that made them unworthy of someone's love. They feel as if they've been condemned to eternal aloneness as a punishment for these shortcomings.

People succumb to feeling unworthy, believing that the breakup is proof that they are not 'attachment worthy.' They must be lacking the personal power to hold someone's love. They must be inherently unlovable, lacking in some essential ingredient of personal value. Otherwise, why would someone have thrown them away?

Many blame the breakup on their neediness, shaming themselves for it. Now that that they are going through the phases of abandonment grief, feelings of neediness become overwhelming. The truth is that we all become emotionally needy during heartbreak. We are needy at other times, too - neediness is part of being human - but it becomes pronounced under certain conditions, such as when we are attempting a new relationship with someone we're not sure of, when the person we are attached to is pulling away, or when we are left alone.

When we experience unrequited love -- a lack of emotional reciprocity from the other person - it is natural to feel insecure and needy. It can cause us to aim our emotional suction cups toward our partner which only succeeds at creating greater distance. Even the most independent among us can exhibit reactive behaviors that are extreme and can make the other person run for cover.

Regardless of your circumstances of unrequited love, stop blaming and shaming yourself:

1. The first step is to accept your humanness -- neediness and insecurity are part of the human condition - and part of heartbreak.

2. To reverse the self damage, actively engage in radical self acceptance -- accept yourself unconditionally, warts and all.

3. Don't expect to be perfect. Perfectionism sets you up for self-disappointment -- an insidious form of self abandonment.

4. Stop looking to other people, including your ex, to validate your worth. You must do that yourself, especially at this painful time of heartbreak when the person you seek validation from has disposed of you. No one is responsible to make you secure, but YOU.

5. Accept that now is the time to institute self love. Don't expect this to happen buy osmosis. Vow to stop laying your needs for love and acceptance at your lover's feet, and take 100 percent responsibility to give yourself the love and esteem that you need (that's why they're called self love and self esteem).

6. Take advantage of this time of heightened insecurity to learn how to give yourself security. Realize that it's nobody else's job - especially now that your lover has abdicated this role in your life. Only you can do this.

7. To promote emotional self-reliance and comprehensive healing, implement the tools of abandonment recovery. They will help you take self loving actions that build toward an empowering new relationship with yourself.

8. Use the program tools to aim your emotional suction cups toward your own core needs to create a deep internal connection. This heightened attunement promotes profound personal change.

9. As you learn how to give yourself security and love, feel the satisfaction of finding your own two feet. Stand tall on them. Stretch. Validate your own separate functioning. You can survive on your own.

10. Write your ex a thank you note for motivating you to develop self assurance and unconditional self love.

11. Congratulate yourself for becoming emotionally self-reliant.

12. Do you have an 'Outer Child' that interferes I your relationships? Use the breakup as a chance to Tame Your Outer Child and rise to your higher self.