February 16, 2023

How can Counselling Help when your Relationship has Broken Down? – Part One: The Emotions

Counselling can help you process and make sense of all the confusing emotions on a relationship breakdown.

Written by

Nicole Biggs

The breakdown of a relationship can create some very difficult emotions. It is essential that you learn how to manage these emotions, otherwise they may overwhelm you and stop you from being able to be an affective parent, or deal with the legal and practical aspects of your divorce and separation properly.

These emotions are normal but can be very destructive if they are not dealt with properly. Therefore, it is very important that you do not ignore them, or try to simply push them down. You need to learn how to deal with them, let them go before they consume you, damage you, and affect your judgement.

These are just some of the emotions that you may experience.

abandoned, angry, betrayed, bitter, confused, controlled, deceived, defensive, fearful, frantic, frightened, frustrated, guilty, hopeless, helpless, insecure, inadequate, ignored, intimidated, jealous, lonely, panicked, obsessed, overwhelmed, pressured, relieved, sad, scared, shocked, vengeful, weak, and worried.

A counsellor can help you to work through these emotions, and let them go, so that you do not take them with you into your future damaging both you and those close to you.

Anxiety – When a relationship breaks down it is natural to worry about the future. These feelings of anxiety can be addressed by counselling. Anxiety can cripple you at times as your head whirls through all of the worst case scenarios and the ‘what if’s’. As you are cycling through this anxiety it can lead to indecision, insecurity and panic.

Confusion– It is also natural to be confused about what has happened, and why the relationship broke down. Counselling can help to explore the breakdown of the relationship, and work out how and why things happened. This can then then enable you to feel clarity and move on with your life. If you remain stuck in confusion, you will not be able to make rational decisions. This is because your mind is still trying to make sense of the situation, and therefore is unable to think about the future. 

Depression – Often a relationship breakdown causes you to feel sad, in pain and helpless. This can lead to depression if not dealt with properly. Counselling can help you to explore and understand these feelings, stopping them from developing further and pulling you down. If you are feeling hopeless and down, then you will not be able to be there for your children fully and be available to help them through this difficult time. You may even start to feel that there is no point in fighting, and so you end up agreeing to an agreement on separation that is unfair and leaves your vulnerable. Therefore, it is very important and you seek help with depression.

Anger– Anger is also a common reaction to relationship breakdown, which if not expressed healthily can develop into obsessional and irrational thoughts and behaviours. Counselling can help you to find a way to express anger in a healthy way. It can also help to identify the root causes and triggers for your anger, helping you to understand yourself and your anger much more. With this knowledge a counsellor can then help you to develop coping strategies to deal with anger before it takes you over. Anger, if left unaddressed, can be very destructive to both you and those close to you. It can lead to long, expensive court battles. It can even lead to domestic violence and stalking. 

Confidence– Our self-confidence and self-worth inevitably takes a knock when a relationship breaks down. You can start to feel that you are not good enough, or you start to question yourself about whether you did things to cause the breakdown. Counselling can help you to grow in confidence, find positivity, and help you to set goals for the future. These are all essential when you are trying to reach an agreement with your ex about the ending of the relationship.

Change– Change can be very difficult for us to cope with. It is scary and unknown. Yet, the breakdown of a relationship inevitably means that there will have to be change. It is simply not an option to put your head in the sand and pretend that everything is the same. If you do this, you run the risk of being forced to make changes against your will by the Court. A counsellor can help you to be more accepting and secure with change. They can help you work through the fear of the unknown, enabling you to imagine what life could be like after the separation. They can also help you to voice your concerns and identify your needs. Once you have done this, you are in a much better place to then work out with your counsellor how you can ensure that these needs are met by any agreement reached with your ex-partner. They can therefore help to empower you to negotiate an agreement that is best for yourself and the whole family.

Therefore, I really do believe that having counselling should be an essential part of the process of a relationship breakdown. Counselling can help to limit the potential damage to you, your life, your future, your children, your family, and your friends. It will save you money, time, and pain in the long run. It can ensure that you are able to make rational decisions, in the best interests of everyone. It can help you to understand yourself and others better. It can ensure that you do not make the same mistakes in the future. It can help you to use the relationship breakdown as an opportunity to grow and change, develop new life skills, and ensure that you have a happier future. 

For more information, or just a chat, please contact me on 07742 209312 or nicole@greenoaktherapies.co.uk

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