Being discarded by your partner is one of the most devastating experiences you will ever face. In many respects, it is such a difficult loss because it involves the experiences of abandonment, rejection, betrayal, and oftentimes replacement. It is particularly painful because the loss is intentional and is done by someone who knows you well and who has volitionally chosen to “throw you way.” The pain of this personal rejection hurts profoundly because the other person is telling you that you are unacceptable.
This creates feelings of low self-worth and causes psychological trauma to your attachment system, which can result in a fear of relationships and a fear of investing in others in the future.
If you have been discarded by someone you love you feel deeply wounded because this was an intimate relationship; you were vulnerable; you allowed yourself to trust this person; you gave him or her your heart. In the end, to be simply “unwanted” after all of this personal investment leaves you confused and devastated.
How do you recover?
First of all, let me assure you that you CAN recover. Your life does not have to be ruined by this experience. You can find love again. Here’s some advice on how to recover from a discard:
- Allow yourself to grieve. Go in to your feelings; don’t try to avoid them. The more you allow yourself to feel the emotions, the quicker you’ll heal.Grieving is the process of expressing the emotional energy stored in your body. You do this by talking about the loss and feeling the emotions surrounding the loss. Allow yourself to remember the good times (and the bad times.) Write out your feelings in a letter. Say Good-bye.
- Challenge your negative beliefs. As you be with yourself in your time of grief you will experience a sense of shock and denial, asking yourself, “Did this really happen?” “Now what do I do?” You will most likely be waiting for your lost love to return. (As an aside, hopefully, he/she won’t return, as this will create a trauma bond that will further contribute to your loss of personal power.)You will also, most likely, ask yourself the question, “What’s wrong with me that caused this?”You feel unwanted, which will contribute to self-doubting thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough.” Or, “I’m not lovable.” You may believe you are defective or not as good as the other person or other people.If you have been in a relationship with a toxic person, you’ve probably been encouraged to believe you’re the problem and you were never quite able to “get it right.” Thus, contributing to your negative beliefs about yourself.If your loved one not only discarded you, but also replaced you with someone else, this will cause further trauma because it is implying that you were the problem because obviously this other person is more acceptable and lovable than you are.In order to heal from a discard it is important for you to challenge these negative, self-defeating beliefs, replacing them with truth. Tell yourself statements, such as, “I am enough.” “I can find love again.” “I am lovable.” “I can be whole.” “I can heal.” “I will heal.”
- Put the responsibility back on the other person. Just because the other person is willing to leave you or hurt you and maybe even blame you, does not mean they’re correct on any level. Put the onus back where it belongs – on the other person.Being discarded by your ex says more about the other person than about yourself. Don’t blame yourself for the other person’s actions or choices. The person who discarded you makes his/her own decisions based upon his/her own value system.Think about it. On some level, staying in a committed relationship requires an ability to stay with someone through the good and the bad and not only when it “feels right,” or when it is personally satisfying. Perhaps your loved one is incapable of that type of long-term relationship.Many selfish people discard others as a matter of course. Is this the fault of the other people? Or, is it more about the character traits of the one doing the rejecting?Use this imagery: Picture yourself lifting the mantel of responsibility off of your shoulders and placing it on the other person’s shoulders. Visualize yourself being free from the burden of responsibility of the demise of this relationship.
- Learn the life lessons. Just because the other person chose to end the relationship does not mean that you can’t gain something valuable from the experience. Ask yourself some questions:
- What did I learn from this relationship that I can take into my next relationship?
- What could I have done differently (this is not for self-blame, just self-evaluation and personal growth)? Perhaps the answer is that you should have left this person long ago yourself because you saw “red flags” you chose to ignore, etc.
- Am I better off for having allowed myself to love and invest in another person, even if the relationship didn’t last?
- Move forward with your life. Remember to use this time for personal growth. Love yourself; be there for yourself; and whatever you do, don’t collude with your abandoner by abandoning yourself. Rather, take yourself by the hand, figuratively, and go live well. Invest in yourself, your other relationships, and your future. Make plans and goals. Create a vision board. Move on.
“Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end. That’s the given. How you respond to those losses, what you make of what’s left, that’s the part you have to make up as you go.” ― Katharine Weber, The Music Lesson