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Steps to Overcome the Critical Inner Voice How to Heal with Hypnotherapy

Moving on from a relationship is one of the most difficult transitions in a person’s life. And while each of us moves on in our way and on our own time, one truth is almost universal: we all face this challenge at some point in our lives. One thing that we are not is alone in our suffering. Recently, it was discovered that, on average, people spend about 18 months of their lives getting over breakups. The good news is that, although it takes time, people can move on. And when they do, they leave behind lessons, actual, tangible, lived-experience ways to heal. Because, eventually, we do heal.

Getting started:

Before we get into the tools and techniques I hope that anyone reading this would take a second to allow themselves to have a feeling for the fact that this is hard. No matter how many people have been down this road before us, this moment we’re living through is probably a painful place to be. One of the best ways to deal with the reality of that pain is to meet it with compassion. Neither denying the feeling nor allowing ourselves to ruminate on it offers us the freedom we need to move on. Instead, we can show ourselves the kindness and treatment that we would a friend – an acknowledgement of what we feel paired with the reality check that it will pass.

A note about timing

When people are struggling after a relationship ends, their first question is often “how long will this last?” Of course, there is no magic formula to answer this question. According to one study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, more than 70 per cent of participants took a little less than three months to move on or “see the positive aspects from their breakup” and to feel goal-oriented and like they’d experienced personal growth. Unsurprisingly, it’s around this same time (just over the three-month mark) that another survey said people start dating someone else in a real way, in which they’re focused on the new situation more than the old.

Of course, every person is unique, as are their relationships. The point of repeating these numbers is simply to emphasize that healing can take time. We should try to maintain a patient and gentle approach to this fact. Bad days are part of a longer journey, and it absolutely will get better. It may not feel like it, but time, truthfully, is on our side.

15-Steps for How to Move On:

Look at your life as a journey

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone who’s doing okay now has had moments when they thought they’d never be okay. A breakup may feel like the end of the world, but years from now, the struggle of today will feel like a lesson from the past. The more we can look at our lives as fluid and not fixed, the more we can see our experiences in perspective. The end of a relationship is not the end of our story. Whether we’re with someone or on our own, no one else can possess our story or our identity. We may leave a relationship feeling like we left part of ourselves behind, wondering how to move on without the other person, but the truth is we are still whole, still evolving, and still growing all the time.

Keeping the imagery of movement in our minds is a way of preventing ourselves from being caught in the whirlpool of an inner critic that tells us we will never be able to move on or feel like ourselves again.

Silence your inner critic

The “critical inner voice” is a term used to describe a negative thought process we all have that is like an internalized nemesis. This cruel “voice” criticizes, coaches, and even pities us (and others) in ways that undermine us when we’re up and kick us when we’re down. A lot of the pain and suffering we experience after a breakup is owed to this inner critic. Common post-breakup “voices” include:

  • “I told you she would leave you.”

  • “You have nothing now.”

  • “No one will ever love you.”

  • “You’ll always be alone.”

  • “You can’t trust people.”

  • “You should just forget about relationships.”

  • “Have a drink. It will make you feel better.”

  • “Just be alone. No one wants to see you right now.”

Getting caught up in this internal dialogue makes the process of figuring out how to move on much more difficult. However, we can get to know this voice as the enemy it is and learn to separate it from our real point of view by reading about the steps to overcome the critical inner voice.

Reflect realistically

There is always real loss that comes with breaking up, however, we also tend to look back on our relationships with a zoom lens on the good and blinders on the bad. “Reflect on the relationship for what it was. “Resist the common tendency to idealize the relationship. It’s very common to only recall and focus on the wonderful aspects of the relationship. This makes it even harder to accept the reality that it’s over and is the equivalent ofdenial’ in the stages of grief.” Remembering that there were struggles and issues in the relationship and real reasons why we are no longer together can help us feel more resilient and resolved toward moving on.

Let go of the fantasy

Idealizing our partner or a relationship isn’t just something that happens after we split up. Often, couples enter into a “fantasy bond,” an illusion of connection that replaces real relating and genuine acts of love and intimacy. Symptoms of a fantasy bond can include relating as a unit, valuing the form of being a couple over the substance of making contact, falling into a routine, lacking independence, engaging in less affection, and entering into dynamics of control and submission as opposed to equality. The quality of the relationship often deteriorates as real love is replaced with a fantasy bond. The couple may stay together based on a fantasy that their partner will somehow “save” them. Or, they may split up, because the elements that first drew them together are no longer operating.

When we’re in a fantasy bond and the relationship ends, it’s even harder to move on, because we don’t only mourn the loss of the person but the loss of the fantasy. This fantasy dynamic can also lead us to continue to look at the person we lost through an idealized lens. “When a fantasy bond is broken, we are more likely to mourn the end of our false sense of security than the end of real, loving relating. “When we break up with someone, and we are willing to let go of this illusion of connection, we might find that we are far less devastated by the separation.” Breaking the fantasy bond with a former partner is often key to moving on.

Feel the feelings

It’s normal to be emotionally raw after a breakup. Although these feelings can feel overwhelming, we should remember that emotion comes in waves. It arrives, peaks, and subsides. Accepting our feelings is part of the path to healing. We can acknowledge the sadness, anger, or fear that arises without handing these feelings over to our inner critic. Remember that our feelings are acceptable, but the thoughts around the feelings, like “you’ll never find anyone else” or “you can’t live without him or her” are not.

Talk about it

Some people believe the way to move on is to just shut down and not talk about it. “Even if it is difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will help you heal.” Sharing our experience with someone who’s been through it, someone who we trust and can offer sympathy, or someone who helps put us in a good mood is a smart (and unselfish) idea. People want to be there for one another. We may also benefit from seeking the help of a therapist and having a safe and specific outlet for what we’re going through emotionally.

Explore your attachment style

A recent study at Pace University showed that how people respond to breakups has a lot to do with their attachment style. The study found thatindividuals who reported higher self-esteem, less rejection sensitivity, and lower levels of attachment anxiety reported less adverse effects to break-up.” Learning about how our attachment style impacts our relationships may help us make sense of our own, intense reactions to splitting up. It can also guide us to understand how we operate and why we feel the ways we do in our relationships, in general. For example, perhaps we felt more insecure and clingier toward our partner based on early attachment patterns. Understanding our attachment history can also orient us toward forming more secure attachments in future relationships.

Believe in yourself

Stanford researchers recently discovered that a person’s “basic beliefs about personality can contribute to whether [they] recover from, or remain mired in, the pain of rejection.” They found that individuals who saw their personality

as fixed were more likely to blame themselves and their “toxic personalities” for the breakup. They were more likely to question and criticize themselves and feel more hopeless about their romantic future. However, individuals who saw their personalities as “changeable” were more inclined to view their breakup as an opportunity to grow, develop, and change. They were hopeful about their future relationships and were able to move on more easily. If we can stand up to our inner critic and believe in our adaptability, we can figure out how to move on more successfully.

Embrace self-compassion

Self-compassion can be a key ingredient to healing from a breakup. “If you pick all of the variables that predict how people will do after their marriage ends, self-compassion carries the day,” said researcher David Sbarra of the University of Arizona, after interviewing more than 100 recently divorced individuals. Research showed that “those with high self-compassion reported fewer intrusive negative thoughts, fewer bad dreams about the divorce, and less negative rumination. Self-compassion had a greater impact than other traits, habits, or even practical details.”

Practising mindfulness

Mindfulness is “an incredible tool to help people understand, tolerate, and deal with their emotions in healthy ways.” Practising mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress by teaching us to accept our thoughts and feelings without over-identifying and being overwhelmed by them or judging ourselves harshly.

Headspace is an app that guides people through simple mindfulness exercises, allowing them to easily integrate practice into daily life. Their suggestions for using mindfulness to get through a breakup include paying attention to the stories our mind is telling us, acknowledging them, but not necessarily believing them, letting ourselves feel our emotions, focusing on gratitude, and making time each day for a mindfulness exercise. “Sitting mindfully with intense emotions may seem like the last thing you want to do,” they write. “But it is a critical step in the healing process.”


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