Mental trauma after separation: This is why coming to terms with it is so important

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Mental trauma after separation: This is why coming to terms with it is so important

A breakup is one of the most painful experiences that life has in store. After a while, however, many people get over the end of a relationship. But what if they don't? Why it happens after a breakup psychological trauma and how you can work through the situation, you will learn in the following article.

Mental trauma after separation: Why it can affect anyone

With a partnership are many wishes and Hopes connected: You are imagining your future with your partner or you have already implemented concrete plans, such as building a house or starting a family. The fact that your previous life and all the hoped-for prospects together literally burst can be traumatic.

Particularly dramatic separation circumstances can also trigger psychological trauma after separation. This is especially true if you have experienced the Feeling that there are still many unspoken things between you. Suffering psychological trauma after separation is therefore not a sign of personal weakness, but can affect anyone.

What is psychological trauma and why can it occur after a breakup?

One speaks of a psychological trauma when an acute psychological exceptional situation has occurred. This can be the case with acts of violence, natural disasters, war experiences, and physical or emotional abuse.

Trauma is characterized by the inability of the person affected to cope emotionally with the experience. We will deal with the specific possible symptoms separately later on.

A separation also represents an acute exceptional situation in life. Depending on personal vulnerability and the accompanying circumstances, it is quite possible for psychological trauma to occur after separation. Particularly at risk are persons to whom the following characteristics apply:

Interesting to know: In particular, people who have been involved with a narcissist often develop psychological trauma after separation. This is due to the fact that the narcissist continuously destroys the self-esteem of his partner and puts him into a emotional dependence drives. If a separation occurs, the abandoned person feels as if he or she is standing in front of nothing - even if he or she is within the Relationship has suffered.

The Pain of Separation

How does psychological trauma manifest itself after a separation?

Mental trauma after separation can manifest itself individually for each person affected. The following thought spirals occur particularly frequently:

  • My life is meaningless without my partner!
  • I feel like something has died inside me!
  • You can't love me!
  • What am I supposed to do with myself now?
  • I will never feel such happiness again!

In addition to the specific thought processes that indicate psychological trauma after separation, there may be other general trauma symptoms. These include:

  • Acute stress reaction (colloquially known as a nervous breakdown; e.g., uncontrolled crying, trembling, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, numbness)
  • Avoidance behavior (you avoid anything that reminds you of your ex-partner).
  • Sleep disorders and nightmares
  • Flashbacks (sudden reliving of stressful aspects of a relationship)
  • psychosomatic complaints such as headaches, dizziness, gastrointestinal complaints or loss of appetite
  • depressive mood
  • Addictive behavior (pills, alcohol, self-injurious behavior)

What are the effects of psychological trauma on everyday life and well-being?

Anyone who has suffered emotional trauma after separation finds it difficult to cope with everyday life in the conventional way. Sometimes this is even completely impossible. The extent to which you are specifically restricted depends, among other things, on the type and severity of the trauma symptoms. In any case, your mental and often also your physical well-being are massively impaired by a trauma.

If your avoidance behavior is very pronounced, you may be inflexible when it comes to activities or even necessary activities that only remotely bring back memories of your ex-partner. After a while, this can cause incomprehension in your environment, which leads to social isolation.

However, it can get even worse: If you suffer from psychosomatic complaints, sleep disturbances and flashbacks, your entire way of life is affected, which includes your professional performance. If you also have to deal with the unprocessed The Pain of Separation tries to anesthetize with destructive mechanisms such as alcohol or tablets, endangers health.

Reprocessing psychological trauma after separation: Benefits and challenges

It is all too human: hardly anyone likes to deal with unpleasant feelings. Many people who have suffered emotional trauma after a breakup would like to leave that part of their Past would prefer to forget. The paradox: This understandable wish can only be realized if you have worked through the trauma beforehand. Otherwise, it will always find its way back into your mind. Awareness push. And it is an unwritten law that you draw exactly such people into your life again and again as partners, until you find the original theme behind it for yourself - for example in a Coaching - dissolve and heal.

The biggest advantage is obvious. Only when you decide to work through the trauma are you free afterwards and open for a new path in life. You have made peace with what happened to you and can look forward. In addition, you are subsequently freed from all physical and mental symptoms of the trauma you have suffered, which increases your quality of life.

The path of trauma processing, however, requires courage, the willingness to reflect yourself and honest to look. First of all, you must be willing to consciously face the pain. On the path of spiritual healing, there can always be regressions, you may be affected by violent emotions be overwhelmed. Still, not giving up is hard, but it will be worth it for you.

Because what has happened to you now in the relationship is not something you have experienced for the first time in your life. The origin of your sadness, your anger, the horror or the loneliness lies in most cases far back in childhood. And it is precisely this situation that needs to be resolved, healed, forgiven, let go of, and be restored. trust. Especially in you: That you are lovable!

Mental trauma after separation: the most effective coping strategies

Mental trauma after separation triggers feelings of powerlessness and helplessness. In such a situation, it is helpful to know that there are various coping strategies that have proven themselves many times in practice. We present the five best strategies below.

1. pay attention to your needs

Trauma processing is as individual as the forms of expression of a trauma. Therefore: Take a path that feels good to you, as long as it is not called repression or numbing. Surround yourself with people, as long as you want to talk. If you don't, withdraw and do something that calms you down, such as taking a walk, listening to music, or exercising.

2. writing helps

Getting everything off your chest is an effective processing strategy. Whether it's a diary entry, poem, or letter, just let the words flow. It doesn't matter whether you use beautiful handwriting or a particularly eloquent way of expressing yourself. If you decide to write a letter to your ex-partner, the golden rule is: never send it! This conclusion is for you. You have not been able to reach him or her with words in the past. Then that is even more so not the case now.

3. take off the rose-colored glasses

After a breakup, people often tend to idealize their ex-partner and the moments they shared. Don't worry, no one wants to rob you of your beautiful memories! Nevertheless, there have certainly been aspects that have disturbed you within the partnership. Be aware of them. Yes, the separation is painful, but perhaps in retrospect not everything was so perfect.

4. meditation

Mental trauma after separation is not infrequently accompanied by agonizing inner turmoil. Meditation can help you to ground yourself again internally. Guided meditations are especially good for beginners.

5. professional coaching

An outside person can help you deal with your trauma much more effectively. more efficient mirror. A professional coach helps you to help yourself: he or she supports you in developing individual solution strategies.

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Mental trauma after separation: what do experts recommend?

Most people first associate psychological trauma with survival catastrophes such as war or violence. Experts such as the well-known German psychotraumatologist Prof. Dr. Günter H. Seidler confirm that a separation can also be perceived as threatening to one's existence and must be treated accordingly like any other trauma.

The American anthropologist Helen Fisher and the neuroscientist Lucy Brown were also able to prove through an experiment that brain activity changes as soon as newly separated people are shown pictures of their ex-partners. The brain regions responsible for stress and reward become hyperactive at the same time. A separation is thus equivalent to a severe drug withdrawal.

As far as recommendations on how to deal with the situation are concerned, all experts agree: Instead of repression, active confrontation should take place - if necessary with therapeutic help.

Where can I get help?

If you have suffered psychological trauma after separation, you should not hesitate to seek professional help. To find a psychotherapy place in your area, you can either do your own research or contact your health insurance company, which will forward you the appropriate addresses.

If you do not (yet) feel ready for a visit to a psychologist, numerous church and state organizations offer help for people in separation situations. Self-help groups are also an option. But as mentioned above, coaching can help you to find more Self-confidenceclarity and inner strength.


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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