If you’ve suddenly found yourself in the depths of despair, feeling completely worthless, humiliated, unloveable, hiding yourself away, think your life is over and want to die, you’ve probably just been dumped.
Inevitably you’ll experience a break up at some point. But not everybody will be a dumpee, the Rejected One. Some people go through life never having the joy of this experience. Lucky them.
But it can come out of nowhere. It seems one minute they’re all over you, like you’re the best thing since sourdough bloomers. And then – BAM!
Being dumped turns your life upside down. Suddenly, every waking moment (and sleeping moment if you’re getting any) is filled with thoughts about your ex, questioning every detail of what happened, asking yourself why, why, why they broke up with you. Did they meet someone else? Someone funnier, prettier or with a more interesting vinyl collection? Ruminating like it’s the new breathing. You can’t get a grip and the temptation to call them and beg them to change their mind is there, goading you constantly.
You don’t have the answers, and neither do your friends. They just can’t understand why this person broke up with you because “you’re so brilliant / clever / funny / beautiful”.
They have the best intentions, but spending time with friends, the thing you’re supposed to do at a time like this, can be difficult when you’re aware that if you go on about it too much you become a drain on them. You risk pushing them away when you need them the most.
Could things get any worse?
I had to cancel my plans for my 40th birthday party. I was in such state. I had been dumped – a humiliating rejection which made me conclude that I really was worthless, because this person went through 18 hours of the motions, eating my slow-roasted pork, drinking my wine, using my pad as overnight equipment storage, knowing that the moment he woke up next to me on Sunday morning he was going to dump me. And I had let him put his penis into me. What an utter fool I felt.
It was a particularly selfish dumping in a string of horrible dumpings and I really couldn’t take anymore. I should have gotten better at this getting-over-being-dumped lark – I’d had so many opportunities to practice (look me up in the Guinness book of World Records). It was time to teach myself how to be ok with it, and protect myself for the future. I needed a process.
Now I say “bring it on… go on, dump me!” (not out loud though). Believe me, if you can get to the stage where you don’t give a flying crème brulée, you know you’re ready to meet the right person – and ironically, less likely to be dumped.
Here are my top tips:
1 – Wallow in it
Don’t fight it. Give yourself permission to feel bad, and sad. Really go to town. Exhaust yourself crying. Make yourself sick with thoughts about the break up, until you are completely and utterly bored with feeling shitty. Do this before step 2.
2 – Create your 30 day plan
Use a target to look to the future where you will – I PROMISE – feel better. Thirty days is enough time to create a new way of thinking and being. So create a 30 day target and reward yourself at the end of each day for anything positive that you did.
Make it visible.
I used chocolate. I lined up 30 Ferrero Rocher on my sideboard and rewarded myself with one Ferrero at the end of each day, creating a ritual where I congratulated myself, at first, just for getting through the day without dying. I really looked forward to that chocolate. I told myself I would feel better with each chocolate and eventually I would feel so good, like I was at the ambassador’s reception itself.
Things you can praise yourself for:
- Getting out of bed
- Getting dressed
- Doing your hair
- Cooking a meal for yourself
- Going to work
- Doing the laundry
- Not messaging the twat
- Not checking the twat’s social media
- Meeting friends
- Having a laugh
- Not thinking about the break up for 10 minutes
Write it down. Keep a journal for you to look back and see your progress.
At some point during this time, a feeling of acceptance will come over you. Acknowledge that you’ve reached a turning point. Keep going.
Make sure your 30 day target is visible and that you can see progress. Create a ritual that works for you. What can you use to incentivise yourself into a happy future?
3 – Get moving somehow
Physical exercise will move you forward, not just physically.
I was in bed, curtains drawn. I can’t remember why but my bicycle was in my bedroom, the one I’d bought especially to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I stared at it for days, but I was so depressed I couldn’t imagine myself training let alone arriving at John O Groats. So, I broke it down to the smallest possible step that I thought I could handle. One morning I told myself: “Today I will just sit on the bike, nothing more!”. I did that, and awarded myself a Ferrero Rocher. Within a month I was cycling 60 miles per week and had lifted myself out of depression and misery.
Any exercise will change your brain chemistry. Do something every day. You could start with a 5 minute walk and take it from there.
4 – Realise that this is one of the best things that’s happened to you
A dumping is life’s way of moving you forwards to something better. The problem comes when you resist it and don’t learn from the experience.
5 – Learn from it
I learned that my low self confidence allowed me get cajoled into a relationship which I knew deep down wasn’t right for me. I got sucked in, and as a result, I was spat out. Learn your lessons and write them in a journal. Keep that journal close by, so you can dip in and remind yourself of what you’ve learned.
If you make your own 30 day plan, including a positive feedback ritual and daily exercise, I promise you will feel better. And if you need some support from an ex-serial dumpee who lived to tell the tale, get in touch.