Advertising
Advertising

The 4 Stages Of Letting Go Of A Past Relationship, And How To Do It In 3 Months

The 4 Stages Of Letting Go Of A Past Relationship, And How To Do It In 3 Months

Why letting go is such a hard thing to learn?

We love hard so we fall hard. We dedicate all our love to someone who was thought to be the one. But it turns out everything just doesn’t happen as we wish.

Since the day you bid farewell to each other, you have been thinking about everything about him/her: the place where you first met, the movie which you watched a thousand times together, the love song he/she used to sing to you, or the way how he/she said he/she loved you.

But everything is gone.

Advertising

We can’t let it go. We are insecure. We are afraid. We are losing hope.

We doubt if we are not good enough to make him/her stay. We are afraid of losing the most important person in our life. We fear that we might not ever be able to fall in love and be loved again.

But still, we have to LET IT GO.

Don’t let one single relationship ruin the rest.

Your world is not limited to only one person. You have your friends, family, and perhaps someone who is going to be madly in love with you. They deserve your love. If you still hold on to someone who would never come back to you, your heart would be always occupied with sadness and you can hardly let anyone else touch your heart.

Advertising

And the thing about being single is, you should cherish it.

You can only enjoy the time of being alone when you let it go and are not tied up in a relationship with anyone. You have only got one moment to stand on your own. It is the time for you to grow and be independent: to unzip your own dress, to do all the housework on your own, to know more about yourself, and to pursue your dreams.

Letting do is hard. But it doesn’t mean you can’t. Let’s see how we can get through the hard times day by day, bit by bit:

The first 30 days: it is like the end of the world

It is the craziest part. Every morning, what you do the most often is scrolling your Facebook news feed to see how his/her new life is. But every time you see his/her face, your heart aches. And you want to ask him/her why, but there won’t be any reply…

You may think you’re just like a drug addict and he/she is the drug your can never quit. This sense of addiction is supported by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine.[1]

Advertising

They found the attempt of letting go, including past relationships, would trigger the brain circuit to generate cravings. That means the feeling of quitting a relationship is highly similar to the feelings of quitting smoking and drugs.

What you can do to stop yourself from indulging in the obsession:

  • Stay away from social media
  • Avoid any contact with your ex
  • Stop wandering in the places you two visited before
  • Spend more time with your family and friends to distract your mind

30-60 days: keep yourself in the spinning wheel

After a month, you tell yourself yourself you can’t be like that anymore. You go into another extreme to force yourself to be strong. You keep convincing yourself life is still fine without him/her. That’s why your schedule is fully packed every day. Work, meeting your friends, helping your family to fix their every issue… When your loved ones ask how you feel, you put on a big smile and tell them your life goes better.

But the truth is you’re telling lies to yourself. You’re afraid if you have time, you can’t help missing him/her. Armouring yourself only makes letting go harder for you. Don’t bury yourself in busy schedule. Just accept you still need some time to mend your broken heart.

Advertising

What you can do to be true to your feelings:

  • Write down your feelings in your journal or smartphone
  • Leave some space in your schedule for alone time
  • Do some art to help connect you to your true feelings
  • Allow yourself to cry when you feel sad

60-90 days: have the energy in store to fly again

Another month has gone, you are tired of pretending to be strong. Whenever you think of him/her, you still can’t help bursting into tears. You realize how fragile you are and how much you want him/her back. It is not going to happen. But it is exactly the same time when you begin to learn that you can grow stronger only by accepting what has happened. That’s the stage for you to recharge yourself and move on.

What you can do to gain more positive energy:

  • Read positive self-help books
  • Do more outdoor activities to get healthy from the inside out
  • Appreciate the beauty of every small thing around you
  • Rebuild your regular daily routine

90+ days: some pages turned and there were lessons learned

Three months has passed. Everything is getting better. Although sometimes the old good days still sneak into your mind, you begin to accept what is good about this. You become more thankful for everything he did to you. You become more grateful for everything around you now. A lesson is learned and whatever is going to happen will be exceptionally awesome. All you need to do now is to do things differently.

What you can do to start something new:

  • Learn something new (language or any skills such as cooking and painting)
  • Expand your social circle and make some new friends
  • Challenge yourself to quit a bad habit (waking up late, drinking, or being lazy to do workout)
  • Travel to a place you haven’t visited before

For every relationship, there are some lessons we can learn from it. Those tiny little things will guide us to become better and better. But don’t rush. Take one step at a time. And you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Reference

[1] Crusher: The Brain Science of Clutter: Why We Can’t Let Go

More by this author

Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

How Self-Motivation Can Be Easier When You Find Your True Calling How To Stop Being Lazy By Overcoming Your Biological Limitations The Only Guide You Need for the Best Movies to Watch How to Get Your Great Ideas Heard with Just One Page of Proposal Everything Is Neutral, Whether It’s Good Or Bad Is Attached To What You Think

Trending in Communication

1 How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion 2 Why You Feel Lonely In Your Marriage And How To Deal With It 3 6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of 4 How To Spark A Positive Mood When Feeling Dull 5 5 Reasons You Will Never Be a Fighter

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

Advertising

2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

Advertising

  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

Advertising

This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

Advertising

6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

Read Next