Why We Refuse To Forgive Ourselves: Relationships

broken heart image

I dated a girl for several years, and I can safely say that I was honestly in love…

For the sake of starving you of details, I will leave it at this: I went as low as one can get – so low that I could almost feel the fanning of Hell’s flames beneath my body. And though we spoke for a year following the break-up, and though she did forgive me (verbally and hopefully emotionally), like many people I never got around to forgiving myself, and that is the focus of this post: why do we hang onto our faults so much more than our achievements?

Forgiveness Without Favor

Like most men my age (if 28-years-old is a “man” in your eyes, and if so, God bless you…) I have an intrinsic and insentient need to engage the opposite sex; it is simply nature. We are social creatures, and we require certain things. But what happens when you are unable to fulfill those assets because you choose to blame yourself for that which is already forgiven? “Unforgiven” is the only way to describe it, and I am not alone. There is a complex called “Forgiveness Without Favor syndrome”, and it means simply: not forgiving oneself because they feel they may have done something so horrible that to move on would be (for lack of better words) dangerous.

This is indeed the case. It is not quite self-loathing, yet miles from forgiveness. Why we do this is because we have an instinctual need to “shut down” when we begin to associate one thing with danger to others, and that is what I am going through. It was an emotional break-up that was made “emotional” because of my actions, and it is hard to forgive yourself when you associate the opposite sex with pain. This is a common issue; over 72% of people ages 24-35 are unable to fully accept forgiveness from themselves for at least one event in their lives. The most common is found in my tale: cheating.

The Girl I Never Called

This is not to say we do not try to move forward. I have flirted back and forth but I never close the deal. Why? It is because the relationship forms before actually knowing the person, which is an issue common to those who have been through the fathom of divorce (i.e. me): we rush into things based on emotion, which is not a completely bad thing; to have such emotional energy is astounding, albeit, fascinating. But it does not help when you are also grieving a relationship.

I did get one young lady’s phone number. I never called. I wanted to, but every time I tried I could feel my ex staring over my shoulder. It is honestly the most painfully-cinematic feeling one can have, second to clairvoyance (third to respecting Donald Trump). It is not a fact, but I do propose it as a pseudo-theory: a relationship can be grieved, much like a death. But just like a death, we must learn to grieve the process rationally. Actually, that is bad advice. The more irrational, the better.

Grieving A Relationship

Yes, it’s a thing! The loss of a relationship can trigger the same emotional response as grieving a death. In both cases, you are mourning a loss, and it goes to show how incredibly systematic our minds are: we place relational pain on the same emotional level as death of a loved one, and sometimes to the same sense of tenacity.  The theory of “Broken Heart Syndrome” is alive and well (it is called “cardiomyopathy” and it means that the loss of a relationship – including a broken heart – can quite literally kill you). Yes, you can die from a broken heart, and it is because the brain has to rewire itself in a matter of seconds, trying to wrap itself around the concept of this person no longer being a lover (much like losing a family member or a friend). The brain goes into shock, and causes the heart to stop.

So how do we get over this? We have to remember that grieving a death requires the grieving process, which is a series of five steps that follow a death: denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. For some reason, it is often harder to reach “acceptance” and easier to get stuck in “depression” when it is a relationship involving a different set of hormones. There is no easy answer to the question: how do we heal? How do we forgive ourselves for the things we do for love? Well, it’s a simple answer after all: we must understand that just like mourning a death, mourning a relationship can take years, and I know one thing and one thing only: that my grieving will soon cease, and I will be able to accept love again without guilt.

If you are suffering the grieving of a relationship, contact me.

iLookin.com has some great tips for you so you can move on and find love again.

 

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