By Maria Tedesco - Clinical Psychologist
One of the most significant experiences for any person is heartbreak. The loss of a loved one through divorce or separation impacts the psychological well-being of a person in a way probably best described by writers, poets and musicians. Why? Because they have a way of capturing the emotional turbulence entwined with the processes of "Falling out of Love".
When you fall out of love,
your soul drowns
into a bath of suffocation.
It wanders, lost in a realm
of pain and heartache, worse
than any imaginable nightmare
(Logan LaFetch 2013)
To understand why breaking up is so hard to do, it is probably best to firstly describe what falling in love is like. Explanations as to why we fall in love range from it being an integral part of personality and identity development, particularly within adolescence, to a form of neurosis guided by irrational and addictive behaviours. Perhaps our reasons for falling in love will never be entirely understood.(1) Yet, the consequences of falling in love are clearer.
Falling in love results in changes, it boosts your self-esteem and has you believe you are "good", it is known to speed up decision making and even improve immunity(2)! Falling in love is a process of attachment where a bond is created with another person. The attachment is largely affected by the bonds you experienced in childhood — where the very foundations of how you relate to others are developed.
Your attachment to another can exist in healthy forms: where you can grow, feel trust and trusted, where you are emotionally supported and protected. Unfortunately, unhealthy attachments can also form: development is thwarted, energies drained and long-term psychological well-being is compromised and the consequences of falling in love are complex and painful.(3)
Most of our attachments are an unconscious process, and when an attachment ends a part of the healing is formed by learning more about yourself, your attachment to others and what, if anything, can help you form more self-esteem and healthier bonds in the future.This cannot happen instantly.
Grief is a process of "going through", not "around, over and under". However, it does resolve, and real growth and personal development can take place in its wake.
For support with any of these issues, or support with any other difficulties you may be experiencing, arrange an appointment with Thinkwell Psychology today.
(1) Aaron, E. N. (1995), "Falling in Love: Prospective Studies of self-concept change", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 1102-1112.
(2) Esch,T. & Stefano, G. B. (2005), "Love promotes health", Neuroendocrinology Letters, 26, 264-267.
(3) Hazen, C & Shaver, P. (1987), "Romantic love conceptualization as an attachment process", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511-524.