Schlepping Through Heartbreak

Making sense and bouncing back when the one you love leaves

33 Erroneous Beliefs that Limit Women Following a Breakup

How the cockamamie things you believe distort the course of your life

Many years ago, a couple came to see me to talk about how to tell their two boys that they were getting a divorce. The husband, a dentist, sat stone-faced as his wife sobbed, deeply grief stricken that he was leaving her. She pretty much begged him not to go, and although it was not such a rapturous marriage for either of them, she just didn’t want it to end. She said that her life was over and she could never be happy again. But he was resolute and we talked about how to help the kids and then they left.

A few years later, she came back to discuss some issue she was having with her older son, and a very different woman entered the office. After her divorce, she’d met a man who was easy-going and funny and adored her and her kids, and she was very happily married. I compared in my mind the memory of the miserable distraught soul whom I’d met years before with the cheerful, chatty woman sitting across from me now.

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At that earlier time, she believed that nothing good could happen in her future. Her pain was so great that she was unable to glimpse other possibilities.

That belief was wrong.

Do you know that, even though you strongly believe something, it doesn’t mean that it’s true? Are you willing to entertain the possibility that the sadness or pain you may be feeling at the end of your relationship is leading you to adopt beliefs that limit your possibilities for your future? Can you recognize that once you start to live your life guided by this diminished vision, you shut down options for new directions and growth? You stop taking risks? You start making empty blanket statements like, “I’ll never be happy” or “It’ll always be bad.”

Take a look at this list of 33 Erroneous Beliefs and check the ones you believe. Be honest! If you’ve checked twenty or more, you’re in a really negative state of mind and are believing a lot of things that you can’t know are true! Between ten and twenty, you’re also seeing yourself in a very diminished state, but hopefully, you’re transitioning from a really hard time to a better frame of mind. Even if you’ve checked ten or below, I’m going to challenge you!

Woman Celebrating
I challenge you to have the courage to fight these negative beliefs and do whatever it takes to create a future for yourself. No doubt, you’re sad. No doubt, you may be hurting. But that doesn’t mean that you permit yourself to define yourself as a helpless victim. You don’t have the luxury of doing that. I’m sure there’s someone in your life who wants to see you happy, so do it for that person, if not for yourself.

Stand all these negative beliefs on their head and reach for the light! Pour some steel in your spine and fight for your life. I know you can do it!

I’m a family therapist and the author of Runaway Husbands: The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal and My Sister, My Self: The Surprising Ways that Being an Older, Middle, Younger or Twin Shaped Your Life. I can be found online at www.vikkistark.com and www.runawayhusbands.com.

33 Erroneous Beliefs

1. I am no longer desirable

2. My life is totally out of my control

3. It's all my fault

4. Why me? It’s just not fair

5. I failed to make my marriage last

6. My ex spouse is right – I am defective

7. God has abandoned me

8. I can’t handle my future alone

9. My spouse made a fool of me

10. My whole marriage must have been a lie

11. I’m unable to make decisions alone

12. Everyone thinks I’m damaged goods

13. There’s no point in trying to look good

14. It’s hardly worth trying to survive alone

15. I can’t make a man happy

16. It’s embarrassing to be alone at my age

17. I’ll never get over this

18. My family sees me as a failure

19. I will always be alone

20. Divorce means my kids’ lives will be ruined

21. I've wasted the best years of my life

22. I can never be truly happy again

23. I’ll never have a sex life again

24. There’s no light at the end of this tunnel

25. I’ll never trust the opposite sex again

26. No one else will ever be interested in me

27. No one wants a woman with two kids

28. Single women are losers

29. I’m over the hill

30. I am not complete without a partner

31. I'm no good

32. No one will ever love me the way he loved me

33. He was the only person for me

 

Vikki Stark, M.S.W. is a family therapist, educator and director of the Sedona Counselling Centre. She authored Runaway Husbands and My Sister, My Self.

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