Why are heartbreaks so difficult?


inner dawn counselling - heart break

Merriam Webster defines heart break as a crushing grief, anguish, or distress.  It is a feeling of great sadness or disappointment.  Most of us would have undergone a heart break at some point of time in our life.

Heartbreaks are extremely difficult to handle and to cope with. Eventually we do move on but the process remains difficult and extremely draining for the individual. Research has shown that an emotional pain such as heartbreak can be as painful as a physical pain. It has been found that the areas of the brain that become active during a physical pain are the same when you go through a situation like heartbreak.

Heartbreaks can happen in multiple situations, it could be a romantic break up, divorce, loss of a loved one or a significant negative event in your life – anything that might result in loss of a prized possession or status like a job loss or loss of social status etc.

Net net all these situations denotes a significant loss to the individual, be it a tangible financial loss or loss of a potential future with a partner or a potential partner etc. For example a romantic breakup would indicate the loss of a dream, loss of a potential future with that person, loss of a secure feeling in the relationship, loss of the wonderful feelings experienced etc. 

Heartbreak takes away your self confidence and can lower your self esteem and sense of self worth. It can impact your work performance and your other relationships too.  These can complicate your situation even more. You are not able to focus on anything properly, unable to concentrate and be fully productive.

Heartbreak also stresses your mind and body.  Your body gets pumped with the stress hormones and the result can lead to fatigue and loss of immunity in the long run.

The significant emotion in a heartbreak primarily is grief and anguish towards the loss experienced. The Elisabeth Kübler-Ross grief cycle defines five stages that one might go through during the grieving process.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargaining
  • Acceptance

Someone who is going through grief need not necessarily go through all the stages in a sequence. They may go back and forth into a few of the stages and finally come to a stage of acceptance as well

When you know that you are going through a heartbreak it’s important for you to have accepted it and arrive at action plan to be able to cope with it. No matter how hard or how painful the heart break seems to be, if you are honest with yourself, have a good support mechanism around yourself, learn from the past,  or make a meaning out of the past and actively work up on self care it is possible to cope with the heartbreak effectively.  It is possible to return back to a sense of normalcy and functioning.

If you are not able to cope with the situation you can seek help and talk to a professional counsellor and gain a better perspective and clarity to cope with the situation.

About the Author:

Kala Balasubramanian is certified Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist with a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Diplomas in Counselling and has further certifications specializing in couple/marriage/realationship counselling and family counselling.  She provides a supportive, understanding, professional and confidential environment to work with clients – Individuals and Couples explore their emotions, help them understand and manage their challenges, relationships and stress better.

Posted in Emotions, Marriage / Relationships