5 Breakup Mistakes That Sabotage Your Recovery (Big Time!)

You are your worst enemy.

You broke off with your boyfriend or husband because he was neglectful, or he cheated on you, or he was verbally or physically abusive. 

You’re trying to get on with your life without him in it. But your heart aches to see him and so you call him—or you hate him—or you blame yourself for your failed relationship. 

Love him or hate him, when you cling to hurtful memories you impede your emotional recovery.

Ending a relationship or divorcing your husband is a painful experience that creates numerous, stressful problems: financial difficulties, family members and friends choose sides, you may have to go back to work or find a new place to live. If you have children together, you have to decide who gets custody and who gets the beloved Labrador.

You can’t stand to be with him, but you can’t stand to be without him.

After a breakup or divorce, you’re lonely, fearful and heartbroken. Your abandonment issues resurface. You’re afraid you can’t take care of yourself. Your emotions and your brain play a mean game of tug-of-war: You tell yourself things were really great between the two of you, when in reality he was a deceitful, immoral monster. Time passes and you minimize his despicable behavior, you weaken and you call him, and you subjugate yourself to further heartache. Or maybe you’re consumed with thoughts of revenge for the dastardly way he treated you. 

Behold, the 5 mistakes that can wreck your healing process. 

Mistake No. 1: Staying in Touch with Your Ex

Ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands and ex-lovers know your weak spots and they will play you like an acoustic guitar.

It’s been weeks, even months since you communicated with your boyfriend or husband. You’re trying to get on with your life without him in it—and then he calls or emails you. At first it’s small talk, he’ll ask in his buttered-up voice, “How’ve you been?” or “How’s work?” You agree to have coffee with him—you know, just “to talk.” Then you have drinks and dinner with him. You tell yourself you can “handle it” and before you know it, you sleep with him (Yes! The sex was incredible and addictive) and you’re back in the worst relationship of your life. 

Girlfriend, where’s your sense of survival and good judgment? You struggled for months, maybe a year to get this self-serving sleazebucket out of your head and out of your life. You know he’s bad for you. You know he erodes your confidence, shreds your self-esteem and throws you into dark depression. And regardless of what he promises, you know he will again betray you with his lying words and abusive behavior. 

If you truly want to get on with your life without him in it—don’t answer his phone calls, don’t return his texts or emails, and don’t open your door to his surprise visits, giving him the opportunity to slither back into your life.

Mistake No. 2: Thinking You Failed

Controlling, abusive men don’t take responsibility for their part in a failing relationship.

Realizing that you are in toxic relationship is the first step to restoring your self-worth.   

Thinking you somehow failed in a toxic relationship or marriage undermines your confidence and self-esteem and creates feelings of neediness, dejection and despair.

I punished myself thinking my relationship with Dr. Dirtbag would improve if I could be a better person. If I could ignore his irrational behavior and angry outbursts he would repent for his hurtful conduct. I tried to hold my tongue and dodge his angry jabs but he kept taunting and persecuting me until I exploded in an uncontrollable fit of anger and then I was, of course—the bad guy. The sad part of my approach—of trying to remain balanced and calm when he verbally attacked me—was I was using my strength against myself.

Thinking you failed in an abusive relationship is suffering double-time.

Mistake No. 3: Thinking You’re Unlovable, Unwanted or Undesirable

Realizing that you are in toxic relationship is the first step to restoring your self-worth.   

Thinking you somehow failed in a toxic relationship or marriage undermines your confidence and self-esteem and creates feelings of neediness, dejection and despair.

It took decades for me to overcome my low self-esteem issues. My hyper-critical inner voice would tell me I was unattractive, unintelligent and undesirable. I eventually conquered my disparaging mindset. When I met Dr. Dirtbag I was happy, confident and optimistic. It took Dr. Dirtbag only eight months to resurrect my insecure, self-deprecating demons.

An abusive man will tear you down to build himself up. He isolates you from your family and friends so he can control and diminish you. He belittles your abilities. He makes snide remarks about your body. He tells you evasive, contradicting half-truths to confuse and frustrate you.

Knowledge is the important to your emotional recovery. If your ex-boyfriend-husband was verbally or physically abusive, read everything you can about narcissistic, abusive men.

Mistake No. 4: Staying Stuck in Anger and Grief

When you wish bad for him, you attract the same for yourself.

Thinking about the pain of your past becomes the pain of your present. When you entertain angry, resentful, vindictive thoughts about your ex-boyfriend-husband, you erode your happiness, poison your femininity and zap your energy.

By the time he's dumped youhe's thought about it a lot.

Dr. Dirtbag had moved on with his life. He had a new house, a new Mercedes convertible and a new wife 18 years his junior. I imagined he was blissfully happy while I was stuck in a state of anger and resentment. I clung to my bad memories of how he verbally battered me and dumped me for another woman. I hated him and I resented her for thinking that she was the better woman for landing Dr. Dirtbag. No matter, as long as I kept reviving and reliving my sick memories of him—I remained the loser.

Write your feelings of anger and bitterness towards your ex-scumbag on a piece of paper, put it in a box, seal it and mail it to Alaska and then move forward with an optimistic outlook on life.

Mistake No. 5: Trying to Fast-Track Your Recovery

Take time to heal from your emotional wounds and correct your harmful relationship behavior; otherwise, you will recycle it into your next relationship.

Trying to mask the pain of a relationship breakup by: (1) immediately looking for the next relationship; (2) throwing yourself into work, or (3) avoiding dating altogether, only delays the recovery process.

Jumping on a dating site after a breakup or divorce can be counterproductive to your recovery. When men reject you or don’t notice you, it can contribute to your feelings of low self-worth, loneliness and anxiety. Men instantly recognize and avoid (or take advantage of) a woman who is needy and desperate to have a man in her life.

After a bad breakup or divorce, you may lose your sense of purpose and direction. Your recovery plan needs be: good in, garbage out. Force yourself to do things that promote personal growth. Exercise. Read self-improvement books. Go to church and counseling. Eat healthy foods and take vitamins. Get a makeover and update your wardrobe. Attend social events and make new friends. Gradually your woebegone feelings will be replaced with hope, faith and contentment. 

Tattoo this on your forehead: If you choose to stay in a relationship with a man who is non-communicating, deceptive or abusive—you also choose the emotional pain and heartbreak. 

Are you struggling to get over a breakup or divorce? God, Please Fix Me! will help you through the healing process.

God, Please Fix Me!
A Breakthrough in Self-Esteem, Relationship Understanding and Personal Healing for Women
by Nancy Nichols

Purchase the book here! FREE SHIPPING for a limited time! Same day shipping.
Ebooks available at online stores.

SIGN UP to read Nancy's Dating Blogs that help you build healthy relationships.