How to Survive All Seven Stages of a Brutal Breakup

How to Survive All Seven Stages of a Brutal Breakup

 

Everybody loves the 1962 classic “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” but singer/songrwriter Neil Sedaka didn’t get the story entirely correct. Breaking up isn’t just hard to do. It’s freaking torture. And almost everyone roaming the earth has gone through the seven stages of a nasty breakup at least once in their life.

But if you’re finding it difficult to bounce back from a breakup, go easy on yourself. Just like losing a loved one or a beloved pet, breakups bring up deep, deep emotions that can include grief. This is totally normal, and you need to give yourself plenty of time to grieve to really get over this hump. Knowing what to expect in each stage of the breakup recovery process can make it easier to ask for help from friends and family when it’s needed — and may remind you to be gentle with yourself.

And actually turns out that there is science behind why going through a breakup is so tough. In 2016, Stanford psychologists discovered that you are more likely to take a breakup harder if you internalize it, seeing the rejection as a reflection of your potentially flawed personality. In five studies conducted on 891 participants, people who felt their personality was fixed without the room for growth or change held on to a relationship rejection for much longer.

It’s hard not to feel the sting after a relationship ends, and it’s even harder not to take it personally. But understanding that it is possible to make it through and even see changes in yourself on the other side can make the grief gauntlet more manageable. Taking the time to heal can help, but if you find yourself stuck in anxiety, anger or depression following a breakup, it’s important to seek professional help. Sometimes, the perspective of an outside professional is just what we need to point us in a new, healthier direction

How to Survive All Seven Stages of a Brutal Breakup

 

Breakup recovery is a process, and as you’re putting the pieces of your life back together, you may have experienced one or more of these breakup stages by now:

 

1. Shock: “What the hell just happened?”

Shock is the body’s natural protection against pain. And when your relationship first ends, you just might not want to deal with what’s coming next. It may be too scary, too lonely, too confusing. A state of disbelief could last minutes, weeks or even months and likely lasts longer if you are on the receiving end of an unexpected breakup. Don’t be surprised if you feel a sense of blurriness about the actual breakup scene, a literal loss of breath, or trouble sleeping.

Do/Do not:

Do prescribe yourself calming cures like meditation or long walks.

Do not freak out. You will make sense of all of this!

 

2. Denial: “This is so not happening.”

Denial is rejection of reality and a storage of feelings. The thinking is that, if you don’t accept the heartbreak, then it didn’t really happen, thus leaving hope for reunion. During this stage of a breakup it is common to call, email or even Facebook-stalk — anything that feels remotely “normal” about the relationship — in an effort to put dealing with the heartbreak on hold.

Do/Do not:

Do open up to a journal or trusted friend to begin unleashing fears, identifying unreasonable thoughts and more.

Do not minimize the situation. Pretending your breakup doesn’t have to be dealt with will lead to emotional numbness and leave you stuck.

 

3. Isolation: “I just want to sit in this all by myself.”

Once you’ve recognized the breakup, you get into the dirty work: Dealing with the dissolution of the relationship. You may replay the relationship over and over in your mind, trying to pinpoint where it fell apart and how it could have been saved. Your thoughts may feel very scattered and disorganized. This stage of grief has you in withdrawal; you don’t even feel like updating your Facebook status or checking your voicemails. You may draw your blinds and not even want to leave the house. Sitting in silence, darkness or a pint of ice cream feels better than going outside and admitting to the world that, yes, it’s over.

Do/Do not:

Do take regular showers and create reasons to face the day (work, social activities).

Do not indulge in self-pity by letting irrational thoughts like “No one will ever love me again” take over.

4. Anger: “I hate you for breaking my heart!”

In this stage, your heart goes from sad to raging mad. It becomes fueled with anger towards your ex for whatever his part in the breakup was, and/or toward yourself for your part. During this stage of breakup, you may find yourself burning pictures of him, holding his stuff hostage, slandering him to his friends or worse. If you are angry with yourself, you may do a lot of self-talk — regretful thoughts and angry conversation with yourself. The deeper desire here is often to place blame.

Do/Do not:

Do feel, write or talk about your anger.

Do not act on it.

 

5. Bargaining: “What will it take to get him back?”

Sometimes involving prayers, this stage is often about getting your ex back, but other times, it is about absolving your own guilt if you did something wrong that caused the breakup. Desperate to negotiate with yourself or your ex, you may go to extreme measures to make deals or become something else (thinner, less jealous, etc.) to make amends — when in truth, it is just about making the current pain go away.

Do/Do not:

Do create a self-love list complete with what makes you happy and things you want for your future.

Do not include wanting your ex back in the above list!

 

6. Depression: “I will never get over him.”

You realize the magnitude of your loss in this stage of grief, and it can feel all too overwhelming. You may wind up in a state of deep sadness that can even resemble mild depression. At this point, recalling what your life was like prior to your relationship or what it could be like now can be hard. Just getting out of bed feels difficult, and you may even feel physical aches and pains perpetuated by deep feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and sadness.

Do/Do not:

Do surround yourself with positive people and lots of sunshine.

Do not fall victim to unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating or drinking.

 

7. Acceptance: “I understand why I was with him, why I’m not now, and that I will be better than just OK.”

The acceptance stage of a breakup makes all the other really tough ones worth it. This is the one that finally gives you that welcome sense of exhalation. You come to realize what the past meant and what the future can hold. The sun begins to shine, and you begin to feel like yourself again, ready to move onward and upward.

Do/Do not:

Do celebrate getting through your breakup.

Do not be surprised if you still feel moments of sadness from time to time; it’s normal. Just keep on your positive path!

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Tales of Rock – The Strange History of the Beach Boys and Charles Manson

WHEN people speak about the dangers of hitchhiking, the warning is usually directed at the one hopping into the vehicle. But when Dennis Wilson — drummer for The Beach Boys — picked up two teenage girls in early 1968 and convinced them to come back to his Sunset Boulevard mansion to hang out, he couldn’t have imagined the evil he was inviting into his life.

Dennis Carl Wilson (December 4, 1944 – December 28, 1983) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter who co-founded the Beach Boys. He is best remembered as their drummer and as the middle brother of band mates Brian and Carl Wilson. Dennis was the only true surfer in the Beach Boys, and his personal life exemplified the “California Myth” that the band’s early songs often celebrated. He was also known for his brief association with then-aspiring songwriter Charles Manson, who was later convicted of murder conspiracy.

Dennis served mainly on drums and backing vocals for the Beach Boys, and contrary to popular belief, his playing can be heard on many of the group’s hits.[1] He was allowed few lead vocals in the 1960s, but his prominence as a singer-songwriter increased into the 1970s. His original songs for the group included “Little Bird” (1968), “Forever” (1970), and “Slip On Through” (1970). Although uncredited, Wilson helped pen “You Are So Beautiful“, a hit for Joe Cocker in 1974. His music has been characterized for reflecting “his edginess and exhibited little of his happy charm, setting it apart from Brian’s music. … By all appearances the happy-go-lucky Beach Boy, Dennis Wilson lived out the proverbial live-fast-die-young motto. … His wild side masked an underside that was, by turns, brooding, self-loathing, sensitive, and anxious.”[2]

Wilson’s only solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue (1977), was released to warm reviews, but a moderate commercial reception. Written and recorded over a span of several years, the album peaked on US record charts at number 96 during a 12-week stay. Sessions for a follow-up, Bambu, disintegrated before his death in 1983. Five years later, Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Beach Boys.[3]

 

The girls were part of the Manson Family, a cult led by charismatic criminal Charles Manson, whose young members quickly moved into Wilson’s house. Just over a year later, the family perpetrated one of the most shocking and infamous crimes of the past century — killing nine people in four locations over a period of five weeks, in what has become known as the Tate/LiaBianca murders.

The Beach Boys soundtracked a perpetually sunny California. But their rose-coloured tales of first dates, surfing safaris, and puppy love couldn’t have been in starker contrast to what happened in 1969.

Interestingly, it was Dennis’ spiritual retreat to India in 1968 with the Beatles, folk singer Donovan, and fellow Beach Boys members that sowed the seeds for this fateful encounter — or at least instilled the mindset that would see Wilson throw open his house to strangers.

In an article published that year, hilariously titled “Dennis Wilson: I Live With 17 Girls” (boy, did that living arrangement backfire!), Wilson tells Record Mirror: “I told them [the girls] about our involvement with the Maharishi and they told me they too had a guru, a guy named Charlie who’d recently come out of jail after 12 years. He drifted into crime, but when I met him I found he had great musical ideas. We’re writing together now. He’s dumb, in some ways, but I accept his approach and have learnt from him.”

At first Dennis Wilson was taken by Charles Manson, and his unorthodox lifestyle. Manson was a struggling musician, and Wilson provided him the types of contacts necessary to achieve his dreams of stardom.

Wilson introduced him to record producer Terry Melcher, who Manson later felt slighted by; his home was the scene of the tragic Tate murders after an enraged Manson mistakenly believed Melcher still lived there.

Wilson also financed recording sessions with Manson and his older brothers Brian and Carl, who produced approximately 10 songs for a debut album — the results of which most likely will never see the light of day. (The perverse possibilities of Brian’s nostalgic, honeyed production mixed with Manson’s message are almost too much to bear.)

In August 1968, Manson threatened Wilson with a bullet, and the relationship swiftly broke down. According to longtime Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks, Manson presented the bullet, telling Wilson, “Every time you look at it, I want you to think how nice it is your kids are still safe.”

A physical altercation followed — or as Parks put it: “Dennis grabbed Manson by the head and threw him to the ground … He beat the living shit out of him.” Shortly after, a shaken Wilson abandoned the house, never to return. He refused to ever speak on record about this period.

As a creepy postscript, a song Manson wrote in 1968, the ominously-titled Cease To Exist, was reworked slightly by the Beach Boys as the softer — but still eerie — Never Learn Not To Love, and released on the band’s 20/20 album in February, 1969 — hitting stores less than six months before the murders.

With Manson owing Dennis over $100,000 by that point, Wilson took the copyright and was credited as the song’s sole composer — meaning many who cheerfully hummed away to the song over the following years had no idea of the inherent evil of its actual composer, or the twisted back story that led to the song’s existence.

For a month prior to his death, Dennis had been homeless and living a nomadic life.[20] In November 1983, he checked into a therapy center in Arizona for two days, and then on December 23, checked into St. John’s Medical Hospital in Santa Monica, where he stayed until the evening of December 25. Following a violent altercation at the Santa Monica Bay Inn, Dennis checked into a different hospital in order to treat his wounds. Several hours later, he discharged himself and reportedly resumed drinking immediately.[20][23]

On December 28, 1983, 24 days after his 39th birthday, Dennis drowned at Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, after drinking all day and then diving in the afternoon, to recover items he had thrown overboard at the marina from his yacht three years prior.[20] Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter believes that Dennis experienced shallow water blackout just prior to his death.[24]

On January 4, 1984, the U.S. Coast Guard buried Dennis’ body at sea, off the California coast. The Beach Boys released a statement shortly thereafter, elegizing “We know Dennis would have wanted to continue in the tradition of the Beach Boys. His spirit will remain in our music.”[25] His song “Farewell My Friend” was played at the funeral.[26]

Dennis’s widow, Shawn Love, reported that Dennis had wanted a burial at sea, while brothers Carl and Brian did not want Dennis cremated.[25] As non-veterans of the Coast Guard and Navy are not allowed to be buried at sea unless cremated, Dennis’s burial was made possible by the intervention of President Reagan.[27] In 2002, Brian expressed unhappiness with the arrangement, believing that Dennis should have been given a traditional burial.[28]

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

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