Heartbreak is a painful, yet inevitable part of the human experience. While the desire is often for a healthy and respectful love, relationships can devolve and become consumed by passive aggressive patterns, resentment, and abusive behavior. These harmful and destructive actions are amplified by substance use and can cause even more damage.
Under the fog of addiction, disentanglement and disengagement from a hurtful relationship can be even more challenging, as it becomes increasingly difficult to remember what healthy love truly is, and what it looks like.
Through liberating yourself from toxic love, and by embracing the path to recovery, you will know and see that a safe and stable love is possible. You have the power to develop new patterns, redefine what you want, and find the love you deserve.
How to Heal Your Heart, and Experience Healthy Love
- Ensure that adequate time has been taken to heal from a past relationship. Truly and honestly assess the status of your heart. Ask yourself these questions: Have I processed my heartbreak with a professional, or worked through it in a recovery group? Am I trying to rush into a new relationship to get over someone from my past? Am I still deeply pre-occupied, obsessed, or crushed by my ex-partner? Have I taken time to process and grieve that love—or have I avoided it, not talked with anyone about it, and am still acting like it didn’t happen?
- Become your own beloved. Seize the opportunity to date and adore yourself! Show yourself all of the love that you didn’t receive. Spend sweet time in nature, go on peaceful walks, take yourself out to dinner, and try out a new hobby, class, or activity. The most important part of this is that you take time for positive self-care. If this is a challenging or uncomfortable exercise, remind yourself that it is okay, and be patient with the process. Go slow, and ask yourself: If I truly loved and believed in myself with my whole heart, what would that look like? What would I be doing? What would I stop doing if I held myself in the highest regard?
- Reflect on the lessons you learned in that relationship. What have you learned that you want in a loving relationship? What are patterns that you don’t want to experience again? What unhealthy behaviors are you responsible for? What can you take ownership of? How can you work on these parts of yourself? (We all are works in progress!)
- What kinds of communication worked best for you? What didn’t? How can you develop strong, healthier, and more effective methods of communication? What narratives are you communicating to yourself, about yourself? Are they loving, thoughtful, kind, and true? What stories need to stop? What needs to be improved? What new words can be spoken?
- Where did you feel respected in past relationships, and where was it lacking? What will you do to ensure respect moving forward? Where can you stand up for yourself, where you may not have before?
- What are the ways you want to experience or be shown love? What types of affection are best for you? Loving words, praise, time together, closeness? What types of affection didn’t work? Where did you not feel loved, seen, heard, or held?
- Reflect on love relationships you have seen, both the unhealthy and healthy ones. What patterns, words, or actions make the unhealthy relationships harmful? Do you ever do those things? What aspects do you appreciate about the relationships that are successful? Can you embody those in your love relationship?
- Create a list of traits you want in a partner or in a relationship and modify it as you learn more about healthy love. You can also make a list of traits you want to embody and check in with yourself about how they are going. One example could be: “I value trustworthiness in a partner and want a relationship that I can trust. I also want to be trustworthy. Where have I been trustworthy in my past, and where am I trustworthy now? Do I trust myself? What can I do to trust myself even more?”
- If any feelings of unworthiness or low self-esteem arise, remind yourself that while those are normal feelings, it is your pain and your past talking. Gently say or remind yourself, “I am worthy of love, and deserve healthy love.”
- Remember, the most important and long-term relationship you are going to have is with yourself. Always prioritize yourself and your recovery. If a partner isn’t supportive or doesn’t honor your self-care and commitment to health, it isn’t a healthy relationship. Listen to your gut. You will know whether or not a partner is good for you.
- Solitude is sweeter than settling for a painful relationship. If you haven’t found the love you want, try not to settle. Instead, take a stand, embrace self-love, continue to be your own beloved, and be patient. Finding true love can be a long journey, but you never know what is around the corner!
If you are wanting to address issues of addiction and begin the process of grieving and healing from painful love relationships, contact us at New Directions for Women, a holistic treatment center located in Costa Mesa, California. Here you can find restorative residency, supportive outpatient solutions, and many other therapeutic recovery groups including support with sex and love addiction. We know how hard heartbreak can be, and how challenging it is to move on from harmful relationships. Know that healthy, grounded, sober, and sustainable love is possible, and we want you to have the beautiful love you want and have long deserved.
The first step is the vulnerable work of rebuilding your loving relationship with yourself. Our committed, compassionate, experienced, and safe staff are here for you. To take the next steps, or get more information, contact us today.