The Montfort Group

When Heartbreak Bites

Heartbreak, I find, is a mysterious force. Too often I hear an exhaustively echoed sentiment from the people around the heartbroken, saying, “You’ll move on soon. Plenty of fish in the sea,” or some other combination of words that is, fundamentally, dismissive. As if heartbreak is not a legitimate enough kind of hurt, or reason to mourn. 

This is mysterious because heartbreak in some form or another is so pervasive around us. Yet, somehow, so many people seem to lose a respect for how it feels to be in the trenches of loss once they themselves have found their way out of it. Perhaps there is some comfort to be found in that concept, that the climb seems so manageable from above. Realistically, though, it’s hard to even put into words how frustrating it is to be told the healing process you’re about to embark on is easy, as though it is not a great feat that you have chosen to get up today and do anything at all.

Any loss is a death.

When you lose a person to death, you lose the ability to interact with them. To get their advice, to spend a lazy afternoon laughing on the couch, the plans you may have had with them for years down the road. We all recognize and leave space for mourning death. 

Yet when you lose a person to a broken relationship, you lose all of those things all the same. More than that, depending on the circumstances, you may also lose the ability to feel safe, faith in your own judgment, or it may make you feel as though trust is an impossibility ever again. And yet we often, as a society, placate and brush away the right to mourn for those bereaved by betrayal.

Anytime you lose anything, whether that thing be a person on this earth, a relationship with them, or a time period of your life, it is fundamentally the death of something. 

What does giving yourself space to mourn look like?

I hate to sound unhelpful, but it will look different for everyone. What you need to mourn will look different from your neighbor, or your family, or your friends. It will look different from characters in books and movies, too. Every experience of loss is a little different, and what you need in the aftermath is different, too. 

In this way, advice, anecdotes, and advocating for what you “should” do next can feel unbelievably overwhelming, particularly if you’re hearing different things. 

If I could beg one thing of you.… Please don’t hold yourself to those “shoulds” as what the right way to heal is supposed to look like. You aren’t failing. You aren’t doing anything wrong. You are mourning, and unfortunately it is not a pretty or predictable process. But I promise you are doing plenty just by being here. 

In this way, I feel irresponsible adding another “should” to your list by giving general advice, but with more specifics, you and I could hone in on something more specific for you.

And perhaps, every day, as you continue to get up and face existence despite the pain you are in, I hope that you’ll notice one thing, no matter how small, that you are able to do today that you weren’t before. Perhaps today, you have an appetite again. Perhaps today, you reach out to your loved ones for a safe place to land. Perhaps today, you can remember something that you are proud of. 

Because as much as pain likes to tell us that none of this is possible, will never be possible again… Here you are. And here you will be.

Picture of Heather Caballero, MA, LPC-A

Heather Caballero, MA, LPC-A

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in creative writing from Baylor University in 2018. I obtained my Master’s of Arts in Professional Counseling from Texas Wesleyan University where I specialized in working with individuals and couples. I hold an active License in Professional Counseling for the state of Texas as an Associate supervised by Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S. Additionally, I am a published author contributing a chapter to Dr. Linda Metcalf’s book, Marriage and Family Therapy: A Practice-Oriented Approach.

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