From Shock to Anger: Week 2 of Therapy

Nothing like two weeks in between therapy sessions to show a person how much things change--and so quickly. The first session I was thinking, "I'm going to be SO GOOD at this break-up! I'm going to be mature, grown-up, and dignified about all of it." And then SCL and I had our first interaction in public; I ran into old roommate aka "Blondeboobs" (so appropriately nicknamed by the "L" spot); and I had a breakdown while visiting my friend in Atlanta. So, it's not surprising that the first words out of my mouth to my therapist (I'll call her "C") this session were "I don't care anymore about being mature. Right now I'm pissed!" And she, in all her brilliant counseling wisdom, said "That's normal."

Thank God.

And then I started to cry--tears of anger and hurt. It's been just over three weeks since SCL told me he was breaking up with me, and I swear the pain of it is worse now than it was the day after. The reality of what all of this means is beginning to hit me: having to move out of our apartment (HATE), being alone (HATE), carrying groceries by myself (HATE), not having SCL's companionship in my daily life (REALLY HATE). All this rage building in me makes me want to do some crazy shit. One of my mother's suggestions was to take his $300 coat which I bought him for his birthday this year to Goodwill. Better than destroying it because someone else would wear it, but he wouldn't be able to wear it. If I did this with all of the clothes I purchased him, then all he'd have left to wear would be some ratty pairs of boxers, mismatched socks, and dingy college t-shirts with pit stains. But, I digress.

C asked me if I had any more insight into what I want our time together to be about. I started crying. Again. I managed to get out something along the lines of, "My impulse to care for myself isn't as strong as I'd like it to be." That's the reason I contacted SCL over the weekend--because I wasn't thinking of myself. I didn't really have a reason to contact him; I just did it. And I felt like shit afterward. It makes me even more confused and angry. And I'm beginning to wonder about how, if at all, SCL can be in my life right now.

As "homework," C had asked me in our previous session to write down things that I do to care for myself and how I feel before and after. Here's what I wrote down:
  1. Napping: Exhausted--> Refreshed
  2. Blogging: Full, heavy--> Relief, release
  3. Exercising: Anxious--> Empowered
  4. Cleaning: Chaotic--> Accomplished
It's really interesting to be looking at my life through a lens of "Is this helpful for me?" I'm beginning to realize how important those little things--taking a nap, going for a run--really influence the way that I feel. C encouraged me to keep adding things to the list, so that no matter what I'm feeling, I'll have a bunch of choices, like a self-care menu of sorts. Brilliant. She's brilliant.

C asked me what this break-up means for my life. Tearing up again, I actually said, "There are some good parts." I feel like I'm reclaiming my life. All of that energy I was using to hold the relationship together I can now turn toward myself, and that's liberating. But it also means that I'm alone. Dealing with the loneliness has to be the hardest and most painful part of it. Being here in our apartment, the space we shared, is a constant reminder of what I've lost. When I'm not sad, I'm angry about it. I had thoughts of taking a hammer to his computer monitors, taking a Sharpie to his dress shirts, doing something destructive to his things because they're constantly mocking me. They're constantly saying, "He's not here anymore. He doesn't want you. He doesn't love you." I wish I could throw all of his shit out the window. We are situated right above the dumpster; it wouldn't be that hard.

Bottom line: going to therapy is not just a good thing right now, it's a critical thing. This week's "homework" is to examine how the relationship wasn't meeting my needs and to identify what I need right now and in a future relationship. I look forward to thinking beyond SCL and into my own heart, focusing on me instead of him. It's taking a lot of energy to do that because I'm so conditioned to think of him first. But I'm trying really hard to re-learn how to put myself first.


  1. firstly, i'm a new follower.
    secondly, i've been where you are right now. 5 years into a relationship (minus the moving away to a new city and in together part), but i was cheated on. however, while things will suck for a little while, they will get better. i promise. you are recapturing your life! figuring out who YOU are again. it's liberating and scary and amazing and scary and .... you get the picture. cry when you need to. scream and throw things and turn his coat into goodwill. whatever it takes. but it will all come together. you'll stop thinking of him a little more every day and that space will be filled up with YOU, enjoy it and embrace it.
    the therapy was an amazing idea. looking back, i wish i had had the strength to go. so, bravo to you.

  2. Hi Courtney! Glad you're following. :-) Thanks for your perspective and for reassuring me that it's ok to feel whatever I'm feeling. And I'm thinking more and more about taking that coat over to Goodwill...

  3. Iam thinking you should rock out to Picnks So What! Everytime I hear I think of your situation and I feel empowered for you! lol (is that creepy?!)

  4. Lol, Nicole, that song is totally on my playlist entitled "F*** love!" Pink is the best.

  5. I think it would be hard to resist the sharpie to dress shirts...or at least breaking something small of his!

  6. Wow! You go girl, you are doing some major work here. I love how honest and raw you are. Sounds like you have a great therapist. When my ex and I broke up it was literally one of the hardest things I had been through. Be patient and loving with yourself. You are amazing!

  7. Cee, I'm considering my options...ha!

    Holly, thank you! I'm doing my best to work through this, but wow it's challenging.

  8. Lady, it sounds like you are doing so well. I applaud you for being strong. And yes, I think you're being such a strong person right now! Keep up the good work, it will get better!

  9. Thanks so much, Krysten. I'm trying really hard, and it means a lot to get encouragement from blog friends like you. For serious.

  10. she sounds like a great therapist. those are some fantastic things to focus on!

  11. She is. I love her. I love how communicative she is, too. Asks lots of questions, and it's more like a conversation, which I prefer.