Friday, January 21, 2011

Three Stages of Healing

"Why do I miss him so much? Why do I long for him? 
Am I completely crazy? This is the second narcissist I've fallen in love with!"

Dear FranticInAtlanta,

You miss him so much because you liked the guy. You long for him because he filled an inner yearning for an intimate partner. Yearning for an intimate partner is normal since human beings are social creatures. We need each other in order to be mentally healthy. Whether or not you are crazy, though? Sometimes the only way to prove we’re not crazy is to abstain from the N-relatioNship and find out.
How long after your first boyfriend did you start dating another maN?
Recovery gurus suggest waiting one year before starting a new relationship. This is because we are still grieving the loss of our former partner. If we haven't given ourselves enough time to heal the residual emptiness, we may 'use' another person to fill up the void instead. Or even worse, we might return to the rejecting narcissist for a second, third & fourth attempt to fill the hole in our hearts. A hole they created in the first place!
Dating a new person too soon, shortcuts deep healing. Our spirits feel lifted up again. We feel good, but it's not love. It's infatuation. And infatuation results in an inevitable crash when we ask ourselves, "What the bleep was I thinking?" Sooner or later, we accept our  losses and surrender to 'legitimate suffering' if we hope to live sanely, healthily and happily---with or without a partner.
Even though waiting One Year before starting a new relationship is the standard answer, you may consider a Two Year Abstinence Period as a safer bet. After years of conversations with cyber-friends, my suggestion would be as follows:
1-Join a support group comprised of people who are dealing with similar experiences
2-Suffer six months of withdrawal. Rely on recovery friends to keep you from "Going to the butchershop when you want a loaf of bread"
3-Avoid filling your inner emptiness with addictions. Addictions distract us from pain temporarily; but they delay, prolong and prevent personal growth and responsibility
4-Practice celibacy. In other words, abstain from sexual relationships. Even one-night-stands catch us by surprise when the oxytocin flows. As Helen Fisher informs us about the Biology of Love: "Never copulate with someone you don't intend to marry."
5-Reward your celibacy by getting a plant for your bedroom. This little plant serves as your first needy companion post-N-breakup. We might wanna call this:

Stage One: Get-A-Plant

If you take good care of that plant for six months until it blossoms with good health and vigor, then and only then, are you ready to take the second step:

Stage Two: Get-a-Pet

If your pet is still alive and doing well six-months later, and you've proved your ability to nurture both flora and fauna, it might be time for the third step:

Stage Three: Get-A-Partner

If you are in Stage One Get-A-Plant when accepting a dinner date, you will interpret his noodle-slurping as 'Hot and Sexy' because you are absolutely certain this guy will make you blossom like a Peace Rose.
If you are in Stage Two Get-A-Pet when accepting a dinner date, you will interpret his lousy dinner manners as something you can fix with just a little direction . And maybe a dog whistle. Let me remind you: It's safer to train a pet.
If you are in Stage Three Get-A-Partner, you will realize there is nothing attractive about noodle-slurpers. You will know it's not your job to fix anybody. You will also know in the depths of your soul that no woman deserves to be stranded inside a burning house awaiting rescue by a maN who started the fire in the first place.
A Stage Three Woman stranded in a burning house also knows in her gut: her Knight in Shining armor cannot come to her rescue because he's busy slurping noodles with a Stage One woman who feels he's kinda cute...kinda sexy...and kinda a cuddly sort of way...

Authored by CZBZ