Somebody once said: hell is other people, I think it was Sartre, but that’s not really important, what is is that concept of people being hell. Its a disturbing thought, and if you have gone or are going through a similar situation as I am, you find it very easy to believe. Hell, if it exists, certainly cannot be any worse then the soul-wrenching torment of heartbreak. Physical pain has nothing on the dismemberment of the spirit. However, though the source of this agony is a person, it is not the hell they have consigned you to that you should be considering…nor them. A difficult task I know, but ultimately it is a futile and pointless exercise. You will not change what has happened, that is a fact, and you most probably will not change the other person.

What you can, however do, is change the effect of the trauma on you. There are tons of flowery, peppy quotes and phrases about “keep on smiling” and blah blah blah and I am not going to pull any of those trite things out of the proverbial hat. I have to say, they suck, and they really don’t cheer anybody up who is actually engulfed in any real trauma. A tip: rather tell the person you are concerned about that you love them and you have every confidence in them and that you are there for them…and actually be there for them. They may never call on you but knowing you are there is in itself a great comfort.

Mmmmmm, so where was I going with this? O, the effects of heartbreak on you. Look, people will try and minimise what you have and are going through. You see unless you are a self-mutilator, there are no real signs of any of the damage apart from a sad face, perhaps a little weight loss and some uncharacteristic behaviour on your part. But, that agony you are experiencing is a very real trauma so there will be damage to you, have no doubt about this, and the fact that it is being inflicted upon you by a person you loved and trusted only intensifies this. So expect damage, if you have really loved there will be, and if there is damage there will be wounds and scarring. Bleak picture, I know.

OK so how do you deal with the damage, the wounds, the scars? I have touched on solutions briefly in my past posts, and if you have read them you will note that I utilise visualisations (that is the visual artist in me). I like…mmm, perhaps too strong a word to use in this situation, but well, I visualise the burning of this forest, clogged with the debris of bleached branches and trunks, full of dying and weak, frail trees. Fire has great power not just to inflict damage but to also clear the way for the new and this is what I picture: the fire sweeps through the forest clearing the bad and leaving only the strong trees behind it and enriching the soil below with the cinders of the old. In my mind a cool, soaking rain falls as the fire reaches the furthermost fringes of the forest where the forest creatures stand, safe, and watch warily. As the rain drenches the remaining healthy, strong trees and soaks into the soil the fire sputters and spits and then disappears into wisps of smoke blowing into the twilight of the approaching night. By the next morning green shoots are already pushing their way out of the now-rich, dark soil and the trees are proudly sprouting leaves in celebration of the dawn sun warming them.

So metaphorically, I am saying after this trauma, and this is if you will allow this to happen, healthy changes in you can take place and will take place. If you have not spent all your time fixating on the person who has hurt you but also turned inwards and utilised it for a little self-examination there is an opportunity for healthy growth for you as a person. I have mentioned this before, adversity is what builds character and what strengthens it. Show me any person of real worth and I will guarantee they will have overcome real adversity and just as importantly, dealt with it.

But returning to the hell is other people line of thought, do not think that that means you need to make changes to yourself that your ex has made you feel inadequate about. Never let somebody make you feel like there is something wrong with you, in fact, there is something wrong with somebody who does that! To make somebody feel bad about themselves is a terrible, terrible thing to do! So experience the pain of your breakup, do some soulsearching, find those answers within you, pick yourself up and feel good about yourself. You have survived something terrible and are a better person for it. Somebody out there will see that and be the fortunate one to have you in their lives.

As for the person who has inflicted this on you, don’t worry about them. Life has a way of sorting out payback, leave it to life. If they have an ounce of any worth they will carry, at the very least, guilt with them. Plus the fact is they have gained nothing from the relationship, in fact all they have done is add to the dying forest that is their character, and more frightening, the degradation of their self-worth and spirit. Perhaps that is cold comfort, but as I said don’t focus on them, they are no longer worth your time or effort. It is you that you need to focus on and the best revenge is having a good life 🙂