I feel like I'm far enough removed from it now, that I'm outside the unspoken statute of limitations and can share about some experiences now that I've long kept private. You guys know that everything in this blog is designed to give you tools to see success in your life. Several years ago now, I endured the hardest, messiest roller coaster of a breakup that ultimately changed who I was. This post is that story. I'm sharing it with you so that you will know a.) you're not alone if you've been utterly crushed by another human being who at one time held your heart and soul and b.) my mistakes have become a beautifully broken example of what not to do. I wish that someone had written a map to get me out of the dark place I was in at 19 years old. So for the girl who needs it next... here we go.
First things first.
Hating your ex being bad for your health is not something I just made up because I struggled with it for a long time. There is literal science to back me up. So before we go any deeper into this, here's a brief rundown of what happens to your actual brain when you experience hate (anger, bitterness, judgement, disappointment, fear) for long enough.
- The amygdala (the emotion center in your brain) wakes up before you even know you're pissed. Cool. Thanks brain.
- The amygdala runs and tells its friend the hypothalamus (basically your brain's own personal Amazon facility that packages and delivers hormones all up in your body) that you're pissed.
- Then the hypothalamus tells your pituitary gland (more hormones) to tell your adrenal glands (all the hormones) to go full blast on STRESSING YOU OUT with hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
Bottom line: it's all very stressful.
I could go into it more here, but I'll leave it at this. The more stress hormones you have running rampant through your brain and body, the more difficult it is for serotonin (the happy hormone we all love and cherish) to overpower all of the stress. So now, do the math. Over an extended period of time where you're living and coping with constantly hating the person who betrayed you... there will naturally be some symptoms that manifest in your life. It's literally inevitable.
In my case, looking back it feels like
I truly did not see the light of day for two years.
And I had witnesses. So here's what I did...
3 months post breakup, I was in a new relationship with a wicked cutie [observe 'wicked cutie' below].
My relationship with my fiancé grew like little baby flowers growing out of ashes. We were both in a similar place at the time, having recently been crushed by previous breakups. But it showed up in our lives very differently. I remember those early months of our relationship so fondly because I had never known a love like ours before... With that said, there were also a lot of issues with how I was living my life that baby Meg didn't know how to gain control of.
I got sick nearly every weekend from consuming too much alcohol. My anxiety was a constant buzz in the background. I started therapy and left every session in tears. After therapy, I would go to work as a waitress at a local bar/pub. I would have a few drinks at the bar after every shift that I worked because that was the staff culture and it gave me a convenient excuse to quiet my anxiousness.
I had panic attacks at really inconvenient times (like while driving) that I didn't know how to control. I wrote really depressing songs. I got together with my best friend and literally torched and burned every piece of evidence that I had of my previous relationship. I remember one particular night, I literally was in a fit of rage just tearing up my bedroom. I had a playlist on my phone that I had titled F*** S*** Up for when I wanted to release the hateful energy that had been building up. I was not kind to myself and I was so utterly angry and desperate for closure that I would never receive. I spent an alarming amount of time compiling depressing content on a Tumblr blog that still exists today like a graveyard filled with pieces of my soul from that time in my life.
It was really, really bad.
It's funny looking back at it now and wondering if people caught glimpses at how intensely my emotions were ruling over my life and thinking,
You get the point. I spent a lot of time hating my ex. Ultimately, I think the emotional and mental torture I endured sporadically for 2 years did more damage than the actual relationship did. But I learned some stuff throughout this journey. PS I know this post is super depressing, but I am writing it for the girl who is in the thick of it right now. I know she's out there and I know she needs to hear this. Also, other women who have been through a similar experience also need to know that they are not crazy. Which brings me to my first revelation...
You can develop PTSD from emotional abuse.
Again, the science piece here will back me up.
The SACAP released an article in 2018 that states that emotional abuse and manipulation can destroy your self-esteem and ALSO "impacts the nervous system in the same way a physical trauma would. What’s more, memories of the abuse can elicit negative feelings, intense physical sensations along with negative thoughts about oneself long after the abuse has occurred."
They also define C-PTSD as "a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape."
The good news, therapy is a thing. Coping is a thing. There are so many tools available to you when you are able to take a breath, step back from the past hurt that you lived through, move forward, and have an exceptional life.
There is no limit to the love that you are worthy of.
Not everyone will realize this. But the golden eggs you'll meet throughout your life will and should go full on Migos and "walk it like they talk it." Real love looks like many things, keeping their word and placing value on your time, words, and ideas is part of it.
Ultimately, hating your ex only really hurts you more than they already did.
Tweeting petty things about them doesn't serve anyone. It only reminds you later on of a time that you wish you could forget... and now you're remembering it again.
There are so many women out there in the world living in a shell of themselves because they're still so angry and holding onto the hurt that they experienced from a breakup. This breaks my heart because we were all created for so much more. I support you, I love your heart, and I know that you apart from the relationship that held you back will be the best teacher for your soul in the discovery of who you are and the amazing things you are capable of.
If you think you may be experiencing emotional abuse: Text CONNECT to 741741 (Emotional Abuse Hotline)
If you are struggling like I did or in your own way, send me an email, find a counselor near you, or tell someone. I encourage you to take the steps you need to take to move past the hurt, process it, and live your best life.
PS. Thank you Alex. You somehow made it through the first 3 months of our relationship and still wanted to be my person after I had essentially burned my entire life down and was building it back up brick by brick. We made it through and we get married in exactly 365 days from today. My soul loves your soul.