Top 5 self-defeating beliefs when you can’t get over a break-up

There are certain things people will say or do when going through a break-up that simply drive me insane. I want to shake these people and say, “do you hear yourself?! You will not get over this with that kind of thinking!” Of course, the reason these things drive me insane is because I am or was guilty of ALL of them. That which you do not like in others is really what you don’t like in yourself. So, as I post these comments and false beliefs from others, let it be known that they are really a reminder of my own unhealthy thinking at a time in my life when I just didn’t think I could ever heal after a messy break-up. Here they are…

  1. “He took away my self-esteem and ultimately my dignity.” No he (or she) didn’t. No one takes away either of those things from anyone. You give them away, willingly for the sake of having a relationship, and then, when you realize the relationship has failed, you blame others for the loss of your personal characteristics, because, let’s be honest, taking ownership and responsibility for holding on to your self-esteem and dignity is much harder than you thought. It’s easier to blame a “bad guy.”
  2. “I can’t move on.” Yessssss you can! Sheesh. You moved on from becoming a toddler to a tween, didn’t you? You moved on from being a teen to an adult, right? When things are too tough, or too impossible or too hard or we “can’t” do something, it’s because we do not believe that we CAN do something and that we CAN change and create a new life for ourselves. Can’t works more efficiently for people who never learned how well Can works. And believe me, it’s a hard thing to learn if you weren’t raised in an “I can do it” family. But it takes a little pain and pressure and action in the opposite direction to make this change. Start training your brain to think like this: your hand is resting on a hot plate and you can stay there all you want by saying “I can’t move,” but turn the hot plate on high to the point that it burns you and I bet you CAN move pretty quickly. Be your own hot plate. Be your own spark  under your arse that gets you to move and change your behavior.
  3. “Why does he like her better? Why doesn’t he love or want me?” You’re asking the wrong questions. Instead of focusing on him and his needs, and his wants and choices, start focusing on you by asking, Why do I want to stay with a man/woman who prefers someone else, neglects me, disrespects me, avoids me, uses me, [fill in the blank]? Ask yourself what role you play in your own destiny. And try to realize that when someone chooses you or rejects you, it’s NOT PERSONAL. Why do you like strawberries but not blueberries? Does this mean that all blueberries are bad or unloved or inadequate? Of course not. It means people have personal preferences for one thing (or person) over another and it really has nothing to do with who you are or what you offer. It has to do with the fact that this particular person doesn’t like blueberries. Go find someone who likes blueberries. And then, be the best blueberry you can be!
  4. “He was the only one for me. He was my soul mate.” Oh, the stories we tell ourselves to make something right and good. Oh the insanity of “soul mate” thinking. In some Native American cultures, soul mates are usually your children, or favorite animals. They aren’t boyfriends or husbands, which, according to some tribes, are a dime a dozen (if English isn’t your first language, that idiom means that men are everywhere and can be found relatively cheaply and quickly). When we think with “soul mate” thinking, we are telling ourselves that our options are extremely limited. That NO ONE ELSE can fit the bill or be able to love us like this person can. And more importantly, we are telling ourselves that we are difficult and hard to love, and that only one person can seem to do it. Soul mate thinking (because there can only be one soul mate), fits in nicely with low self-esteem thinking. The two work together nicely. But the truth is, if you are loveable, if you BELIEVE you are loveable, then you can be loved by MANY people, not just one. Yes, it takes lots of work to throw yourself back out into the world to meet people, and it often seems like there’s no one out there. But there are 7 BILLION people on this planet. And according to the US Census Bureau, there are 96 million singles over the age of 18 living in the USA alone. My point? Don’t be a love addict. Soul mate thinking is not realistic thinking. Now that I’m 46, I can no longer count on two hands the number of “soul mates” I thought I’d met. Doh. 
  5. “If only he would [fill in the blank] stop cheating, focus more on me, not be so anti-social, spend a little more time with me…].” It’s not going to happen. He’s not going to change. Why? Two reasons: you allow and permit his behavior. Oh sure, you may whine and complain that he doesn’t give you enough attention, and you may scream blood murder that he hurts you every time he cheats on you. But you stick around anyway. And that fact alone allows him to continue his behavior. What’s his motivation for becoming a better bf if he gets to be an asshole AND keep you around at the same time? And second, you can’t change your behavior for your own benefit, so, what makes you think he can so easily change his to suit YOUR needs (not his own)? If there’s one lesson you learn in life let it be this one: you cannot change people. You either accept what they’re offering and be happy about it, or move on. A bird will never be a fish. Have realistic expectations of people. And, believe it or not, there are people out there who are more compatible for you. You just need to believe in your own self-worth enough to trust that this is so.


16 thoughts on “Top 5 self-defeating beliefs when you can’t get over a break-up

    1. Fabulous …,truly fabulous statement. I can’t tell you how much that meant! I look forward to all of your emails. Thank you!


  1. I love point number 4 on “Soul Mate Thinking”. I’m guilty as charged of thinking “he must be my soul mate”. Lol, like you I’ve had my fair share of “soul mates” – non of whom I’m with at the moment. Lol. I love the fact that in some Native American cultures soul mates are usually your children or favourite pets. That’s actually a beautiful way of looking at it. Interesting that you say that “Soulmate thinking” fits in with low self esteem. I’ve never thought of it this way but it makes PERFECT sense! Another brilliant post. Great food for thought, thank you for sharing.


  2. Another insightful and excellent post. It seems like you’re reading my mind sometimes, June, and you write just what I need to hear at the moment!!
    I have trouble with #3 and #4. Right now, my old “crush” has a new girlfriend who is splashing that fact all over FB. I like to think I don’t care and I KNOW deep down we would have been a horrible couple (my gosh, he doesn’t even know who Van Morrison is!), but it still hurts my feelings somehow that he *chose* this girl and not me. I find myself thinking snarky things like “I bet she wears those tawdry matching underwear sets so Mr. Immature DudeBro can pretend he’s looking at Maxim or FHM…LOL.” Really, who cares? I want someone spiritual, loving, self-giving, kind, intelligent and someone who loves old music. He is NONE of these things, which leads to #4….scarcity thinking. I don’t so much think that people are my “soul mate” in some mystical way but I do think that men are super hard to find and I might not ever get one. I guess I figured a dude bro was better than nothing even though I want an intellectual…a crust of bread will do in a famine.
    Honestly, though, it DOES seem to me that it’s much easier for men to find women than for women to find men. I work with some divorced men who are not that eligible of bachelors (to put it nicely) yet they are inundated with ladies flirting, wanting to date them, etc. Admittedly, they make good money and they say there aren’t that many middle-aged wealthy men around here. However, there are GOBS of single, late 30s women who are out at the bars trolling for men. I don’t go to bars so I don’t ever meet anyone, but I hear things. All this spam I get in my inbox is trying to sell stuff to women on how to get a man, make him commit, etc. I guess guys don’t need this stuff?


  3. Anna, you bring up a great point…”a crust of bread will do in a famine.” But, I would like to ask you to believe that THERE IS NO FAMINE. The problem lies not with who or what is available. The problem lies (can you guess???) within your own manner of thinking that men/relationships are put on earth to feed and sustain you. They aren’t, anymore than a job or a hobby or a beautiful sunset. And if all joys in life were created equal– if a career or a sunset or religion or friendship or a hobby was just as satisfying a “food” as a relationship, then, is there really a famine? There’s only a famine when that which is available to us is not PERCEIVED as food. We choose the apple pie over the apple time and time again because we are tricked into believe that the pie is the better choice because it’s more filling and has sugar. But the apple is the REAL food. We so often settle for scraps because of a fear within us that “this guy is the last one on earth” or “no one will ever come around and be perfect for me.” Remove all that. Try to get yourself to a place of fulfillment by feeding on other things (work, art, music, spirituality). When you do that you are no longer hungry. And when you are no longer hungry, you no longer accept the idea of eating scraps. Here’s more on that topic:


    1. You’re right….I suppose the apple is LOVE that is felt for one’s self and one’s kids, friends, family and spouse or significant other if you have one, or just for people in general. Love in a general sense. Having a “boy/girlfriend” is the apple pie…all sugary sweet and what we’re supposed to lust after. I’m not as far along as I’d thought. wow! Thank you, June.


    1. Thanks, June! I feel great, most days. I feel a LOT better than I did a few months ago and I am a totally different person than I was just a year ago it seems. I was thinking about that last night. I’ve come a long way, baby!

      I was thinking about your strawberries vs. blueberries analogy and it makes a lot of sense. Trying to work it out in my own head, I figured it’s like me and most **heartthrob** actors a lot of women seem to like. I don’t see it with Clooney – sure, he’s a nice looking guy, good actor, but he does not “do it” for me. Channing Tatum either…I can appreciate he has a nice physique in a detached way like one would observe a piece of art I guess, but I do not feel any lust or attraction for that type of person. I’m sure both men are fine people and they both have significant others; they are definitely not worthless, ugly, boring people like I might deem myself to be if someone weren’t attracted to me. I just go for a different “type.” That’s not to say if I MET someone who looked like Channing Tatum and discovered he is a yoga enthusiast who is an expert on modern literature and also loves herbal tea we might not hit it off, but the physical thing would just have to kind of develop. I tend to like the nerdy type myself. It helps me to think these things through this way to realize they are REALLY true.


  4. found your blog a few days ago, it resonated so much. I read “facing love addiction” and bunch of other addiction text, i even work at a drug addiction rehab and can relate to the drug addicts, but they have no idea what kind of addiction i face. #5 hits home today. Defines me to a T. Where i keep expecting a different outcome, saying “maybe this time it will be different”. So sad yet sort of funny too, i am laughing because what else is there left to do but to laugh and move forward? Blocked every outlet for him to reach out to me again, cant believe took this long to do that. I feel like two people: rational and irrational.

    I have a question for you, if i dont have any recovery tools, do you know of any online support groups or something else? i found a SLA recovery app which is good but i dont feel like anyone is holding me accountable.


    1. Welcome! And glad you found this site. Have you visited the LAA site yet? It’s an active message board with a community of peeps all focusing on love addiction recovery. Other than that site, which also offers a 12-Step program, I do not know of anything else online. I hope this helps. And you’re so right! Keep laughing. It’s good for the spirit! 🙂


  5. When I was in junior high. There were these two girls that you could say suffered from self defeating personality disorder. They were friends most of the time but they also had moments when they would feed off of each other in a most destuctive way. They both liked me. One of them still professes her love for me.


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