Relationship break-up - a case study

Relationship break-up – a case study

It’s February and shops and restaurants are full of special offers for Valentine’s Day. It can be a difficult time for some people if they’re on their own, and Lucy* was no exception. In fact, she was finding it so difficult she asked me for help.

When Lucy rang me she was having a really tough time, after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend. “It’s been four months and I’m still as upset as ever. I’m feeling terrible all the time, and my mates are losing patience with me.” she told me. “I want you to hypnotise me to completely forget him. If I can’t remember him at all then perhaps I’ll be able to get over him at last.”

I was honest with Lucy – that isn’t possible, practical, or ethical. Even so, I still suggested that she come for a free consultation, because I was acutely aware of how badly the break-up was affecting her. Although I couldn’t remove all memories of her ex there were other avenues open to her – and most of them ‘self-help’ that wouldn’t cost her any money either.

When Lucy talked about her relationship it was clear why the break-up had affected her so badly. They had only socialized with other people as a couple, and had stopped a lot of activities that they had enjoyed on their own. As they spent more and more time together Lucy lost the sources that would have fed her self-esteem. Increasingly relying on her relationship for everything, when it came to an end the result was catastrophic for her emotionally.

It was also clear why Lucy was still struggling to move on – and the reason was social media. She was still following her ex’s social media profiles, most of all Facebook and Instagram. While I understood why, the fact is that was making things much worse, creating more ‘unfinished business’ for Lucy every day.

Lucy had already done the best thing she could and re-established her relationships with her friends. However, they were losing patience with her for not moving on at all, and social media was a big part of that. It wasn’t just an unpopular suggestion, it was “impossible” she told me – but unless she unfollowed or blocked him, Lucy was always going to find herself back at the beginning. Was it worth jeopardizing real friendships to keep up a virtual relationship?

As well as re-establishing her friendships Lucy had re-joined her old netball team, and was reconnecting with other parts of her life as well – spending more time with her parents and their pets, and finding her sense of purpose in her job again.

All of these would help her rebuild her self-esteem and her emotional resilience, and they’d also help her to get over her previous relationship more quickly. As I explained though, that wasn’t something she could avoid the need for through hypnosis.

Lucy thanked me for giving her so much to think about, and to do. I wasn’t convinced that she would stop her social-media habit but I hoped so. I got an answer of sorts a few months later when someone else came to see me, about their self-esteem following a break-up. “Lucy told me how you’d really helped her”, they began, ”and I’ve already unfriended him on Facebook, but I’m not asking you to make me forget him.” – all of which was good to hear.

* Lucy is happy to share her story, and her identity has been protected

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