Breaking up with dignity. I am confident that most relationships can be transformed to being a healthy relationship. If your situation is that the bond is there, but the dance is excruciatingly painful, then consider EFT Couples Counseling. Your relationship bond can restored and transformed, enabling you to learn how to emotionally dance in a way that enhances intimacy rather than undermines it.
However, if you know that you want to break up with your partner and the emotional bond that once held you together has been severed, then it can be important and meaningful to create a space for ending the relationship in an authentic and loving way.
If you want to break up in a way that is authentic, honors the love that was there, and acknowledges the real pain that you both are experiencing, then creating a safe place to do that can be meaningful.
Most people when they end their relationships end them in piss-poor fashion. During a break-up, often the worst part of the “pursuing / anxious partner” comes out; there is all kinds of emotional and verbal abuse. The worst part of the “avoiding partner” comes out with excruciating emotional cut off. Painful breakups often cause us to leave our lovers in ways in which we are not actually being honest and authentic.
For the “pursuer/anxious one”, we are not sharing that we are feeling abandoned, alone, and afraid that we will not be taken care of; instead, our partner gets to be on the receiving end of our understandable protest behaviors. When our partner hears our protest behaviors, they are often too busy defending themselves from our accusations. They are unable to listen to the pain we hold in our hearts. We don’t make it safe for them to see our pain on a deep level. We don't say goodbye in a way that honors the love we have for each other in the midst of our brokenness.
For the “distancer/avoiding one”, we are too afraid to share what is really going on. We’re busy avoiding the onslaught of our partner’s protest behaviors. We might also be demonizing our partners for “being crazy” and protecting ourselves from the pain that "they cause us" by withdrawing. In doing this, we get a sense of relief from the pain that gets stirred up in the relationship. However, if we end the relationship by simply avoiding pain, we rob ourselves and our partners of the opportunity to acknowledge the part of our history that we cherish. And the pain lingers with us.
If you know your relationship is over, you may want to be able to have a safe and contained place in order to:
1) be able to honor the good parts about what was,
2) authentically (without blaming the other person) express what did not work,
3) to ask for forgiveness for behaviors that have harmed your partner,
4) to say goodbye and I love you (while meaning both),
5) to establish boundaries that will be necessary for healing,
6) and set agreed upon parameters of when you will reconnect, and
7) to wish each other well.
Creating space for a healthy break up in a week.
In creating a healthy break-up, I recommend each member of the couple meet with me separately for one or two sessions in order to clarify what they would really like to be expressed during our session(s) together. I will provide direction for how we will create space for what you need to express in our couples session(s). I then recommend that we meet a couple of times for an hour and a half in order to be able to express what needs to be expressed in a safe, authentic, and loving way. In our good-bye sessions, you can expect me to create a space for empathy for the pain that you both are experiencing. I will be directive and control the conversation so that the nasty cycle that lead to you guys breaking up doesn’t take over the room. Together, we’ll create space to honor the sacredness of what was, acknowledge the pain of it not working, and say goodbye.
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