In the words of prolific sixty’s songwriter Neil Sedaka, breaking up is hard to do.

Getting over a breakup can seem to take forever. You must have spent countless sleepless nights thinking about the moments you shared since you said goodbye.

Forgiving each other for past misgivings is tough. When you see your ex’s messages popping up all over your social media feeds, it gets harder.

Letting go is a mammoth task because you have to cope with grief and loss. It becomes even more complicated when you break up with someone who is narcissistic. How do you overcome the pain?

The Five Stages of Grief

It may seem unusual to compare the end of a relationship to the loss of a loved one, but the similarities are striking. In both cases, a person goes through the five stages of grief and loss. Knowing about them may refresh your perspective and help you move on. Note that these processes are not necessarily progressive.

1. Denial

A person’s first reaction to losing a relationship is to deny that it happened. Denial is a human being’s way of coping with pain.

Harsh as it is, you’ll have to accept reality at some point. Easing the pain may seem impossible, but reminding yourself that change is not necessarily negative will help. Crying when the hurt comes may not take it away, but will soothe it for a time. Stay with a loved one or friend who will help you see the truth and cope with it.

2. Anger

As heartbreak sinks in, you might redirect it and express it as anger. You may blame everything and everyone for causing your pain. The remarks your mother made may have caused your breakup. The universe may have arranged unfortunate circumstances.

Forgiveness is the key to releasing that anger. It allows you to purge your frustration constructively. Realize that both of you made a mutual decision to break up. Also, forgive because your partner suffers the pain as much as you do.

3. Bargaining

Also, you may feel so overwhelmed that you’d do anything to save your relationship. If the pain drives you to desperation, you may make threats.

You may become irrational if you have such intense feelings, so take a step back. Avoid contact with your ex. Also, stay away from social media sites that he or she uses. Realize that you can live a single life.

4. Depression

When you start to understand that you cannot control what happens, you may start to feel depressed. Consequently, you don’t feel like getting out of bed.

When the hopelessness overwhelms you, mix around with friends who have an upbeat attitude. Take a few days off work to unwind and take in some fresh air.

5. Acceptance

You’ll eventually come to accept the circumstances of your relationship. The light at the end of the dark tunnel you are walking in will become apparent, and you’ll begin to move on with your life.

To hasten the process, throw away old photographs of your ex. Stay away from the places the two of you used to frequent. There may come a time when you can reconnect, but do so only when you’re ready. Also, remember that everything will normalize with time.

7 Healthy Coping Strategies for Getting Over a Breakup

Once you have accepted that you can’t change your situation, the process of moving on begins. Here are some ways to jump-start it.

1. Write

First of all, start a diary. Although it isn’t healthy to drown yourself in negative feelings, you can’t avoid them. Writing about them in a journal may help you gain some clarity about your situation.

2. Take Care of Your Health

Food may seem comforting after a breakup, but you may develop an unhealthy relationship with it. The key to coping with a breakup is to have a balanced diet. Eat nourishing whole foods to lift your mood and energy.

3. Get moving

Also, the last thing you should do to cope with a breakup is to turn into a couch potato. Exercising releases endorphins, and lowers your stress levels. It also improves your cognitive functions. Don’t overdo it, however, because it can become a compulsive behavior.

4. Gratitude is an attitude

It’s easy to focus solely on your loss because it’s painful. However, doing so may cause you to forget the things you have going for you. Keeping a gratitude journal will remind you of the blessings you have in your life.

5. Rekindle your Passions

You may not want to do things you loved before your breakup, especially if you used to do them with your ex. But they are what you need to fuel your energy. The only way to enjoy them is if you force yourself to do them again. Remember that you deserve happiness.

6. Regulate your obsession

Try an obsession diet. Indulge in self-pity for a few minutes a day. When that time’s up, however, stop. Gradually cut the time you spend on self-pity and move out into the single world.

7. Practice Kindness

Being kind to someone after a breakup is probably the last thing you feel like doing. However, it’s a way to channel the love you once had for life. Helping others empowers you.

How to Get Over a Breakup with a Narcissist

Getting over a breakup is the hardest if your partner was a narcissist, so you may need more advice. Narcissists have egos beyond compare, so everything in a relationship is about them. The relationship may have caused you to develop unhealthy thought patterns.

Start avoiding them and rebuild your self-respect. First of all, since narcissists are unpredictable, you may have obsessed over how to dodge his or her curveballs. After your relationship ends, you may find yourself thinking about the flaws in his or her character.

Habits die hard, so you may have to force yourself to give them up. Whenever you think of what he or she did to you, tell yourself that you’re no longer concerned about him or her. You may have found yourself trying to rationalize your narcissistic ex’s behavior.

You may start doing so again when you break up. Avoid contact because you don’t want to prolong the hurt. Also, you may feel ashamed for getting into a relationship with your narcissistic ex. Remember that narcissists are experts at charming others, so forgive yourself.

Your narcissistic partner may have verbally abused you and caused you to doubt yourself. It’s your time, so focus on loving yourself. There are therapy programs that can help with this. In all, getting over a breakup is hard to do, especially if your relationship was a tumultuous one.

Let these suggestions provide some relief.

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