Mandy Kloppers

Death and divorce

The end of a relationship is tough going emotionally. A client came to see me recently as she was upset over a recent break up and she made a very valid point. She told me about a woman at her work whose husband had died of cancer and explained how this woman received so much sympathy and attention yet when you go through a breakup, the emotional turmoil is almost dismissed with a “come on pull yourself together” reaction.

The end of a relationship can sometimes feel as bad as a death – there is also the loss of dreams and awful heartache yet when you have experienced a break up, there is very little support. Work colleagues expect you to continue as normal and friends can get tired of listening to how miserable you feel. I am not saying bereaving a loved one is a walk in the park, not on any level but I am saying that breakups can be really tough too yet the support is often lacking.

I have taken days off work after a break up. I remember trying to cope at work and crying in the office. I was not holding it together by any stretch. I cried daily for the first two months and found life really hard. Somehow, I felt as though I wasn’t supposed to be that sad and that there was something wrong with me for feeling so out of control.

Actually, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and out of control at times. It’s a normal part of life despite the fact that there is so much pressure on us to keep up appearances. There is nothing wrong with really feeling the emotion. In fact, that is far healthier than suppressing the emotions and burying our head in work or some other distraction.

Death and divorce have many similarities. Features of loss are primary and we all deal with this difficult life experience differently. If you are going through a break up (or a bereavement), be kind to yourself and be patient. Remind yourself that you won’t always feel this low…it will pass. Hang in there! You are not alone – we have all been there.

Mandy X