03/18/2015 01:43 pm ET Updated May 18, 2015

How to Overcome Heartbreak

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Heartbreak hurts so deeply because it pulls at that raw abandonment nerve we all share. It rips us open to the core, overwhelming us with powerful emotions -- loss, despair, panic, shame, hopelessness -- that seem all out of proportion to the actual event. Here are 12 facts to help you:

1. The intense emotional crisis of abandonment is real; it is normal, part of being human. And it is temporary. The painful feelings hearken all the way back to our lost childhoods. The regression into primal fear does not mean we're weak; it's an involuntary reaction to feeling left behind by someone we love.

2. Overcoming heartbreak begins with understanding the primal nature of the wound so that we can prepare for battle -- a battle to quash self hatred and undertake a determined campaign of self nurture- treating ourselves kindly and gently with exquisite self acceptance and care. Physician, heal thy wound.

3. The abandonment wound is cumulative, encompassing the losses, anxieties, hurts, disappointments, rejections, and self doubts we've been experiencing since childhood. The breakup reopens the primal pit, sending old unwelcome feelings into our current emotional crisis. We suddenly feel small, weak, and helpless all over again.

4. The incision of heartbreak causes us to experience a symbiotic regression where we feel we cannot possibly survive without this person's love. This is an illusion. We can survive the breakup and stand more firmly on our own two feet than before. Ultimately, we are strongest where the breaks are.

5. Abandonment's painful sore brings us in touch with intense neediness and fear to be sure, but there-in lies its cure. We now have an opportunity to cleanse the primal wound. Ripped open, we administer to unresolved needs and doubts we've been neglecting since childhood.

6. We're always hearing that we should 'love ourselves' but this platitude rings empty, like another easier-said than done nebulous prescription. We can't just will self-love into existence, or snap our fingers to make it happen. Even reciting affirmations in the mirror falls short. Self love - healing abandonment - involves doing.

7. Abandonment recovery means taking action - taking behavioral steps that administer to our most deeply felt needs. The actions work incrementally like physical therapy for the brain to reprogram old unwanted patterns and institute healthy new ones.

8. When we were children we didn't know how to give ourselves what we needed, but now as adults we learn how to be our own loving parent. We use specialized recovery tools to strengthen the Adult Self - a higher self that administers directly to our deepest and most important needs.

9. We become emotionally self-reliant, a task long overdue for most of us. But it doesn't happen by osmosis. It involves hands-on exercises that guide us step by step to perform loving actions that heal abandonment, overcome self sabotage, and achieve our ultimate goals. We grab abandonment by the tail and flip it, healing from the inside out.

10. The exercises strengthen the higher self and help us achieve our higher goals, finally able to act in our own best interests. At first we won't feel like taking positive actions, because our heart is momentarily broken and only beats for our lost love. But as a stronger Adult we take ourselves in hand and guide ourselves toward greater love and connection with self and others.

11. At the very time you feel your life is over, a new you is just beginning. The key is to use our times of emotional turmoil and uncertainty to treat ourselves with radical and unconditional self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, and self-compassion. Thus we inculcate a healthy new relationship with the Self and commence positive change.

12. It takes a leap of faith, but there are effective tools and people to connect with to help us transform emotional crisis into growth. We learn how to gain by abandonment rather than be diminished by it.