The Pain when a Relationship Ends



When a relationship ends it can be so very painful, even if you know it is the right thing to do. It brings up all kinds of emotions many similar to those experiences to the loss of a loved one through death. Those feelings of emptiness, and sheer pain and confusion as you try to come to terms with that loss.


If the breakdown was a surprise to you, if you hadn't seen it coming, it can lead to feelings of confusion and even denial, wanting to try and make sense of it all. Asking unanswered questions, your mind replaying events and conversations.


Any kind of loss is traumatic and can affect you in different ways.


I want to impress on you, there is no right or wrong way of coping with it. The emotions that you experience are varied and different, for each of us

  • Anger

  • Sadness

  • Rejection

  • Denial

  • Bargaining

  • Depression

are some of the emotions you may feel. There is no set time in which to recover from these feelings. So it's important to recognise that. I think it important to give yourself time to heal, and nurture yourself. I believe we heal more quickly.


Sadly many people try to avoid the pain by distracting themselves.


But that pain is real and you need to go through it to begin to heal. By avoiding, it only delays those emotions. Some, feel that it's just like when you fall off a horse, you just need to jump right back into the saddle. But that really doesn’t help, because you are taking all the hurt and the same destructive patterns with you into your next relationship.

Part of the healing is understanding why the relationship went wrong and your part in it.


This is often a hard thing to acknowledge, but we all play a part in the breakdown. It took me quite a while to accept I had enabled my partner’s abusive behaviour. I believed I deserved to be treated like that. I accepted it was my fault he behaved badly towards me, it must be as he told me so. So I tried to be a better partner, to ensure I did all I could to make him happy., and so he continued being emotionally abusive. So the cycle continued.


We got into a dangerous psychological game, which is a psychological game played out of our awareness. Either by two or three partipants -


The Drama Triangle

When one of the many arguments arose we played each of the parts in turn. Round and round, neither of us finding a way to stop until exhausted we parked it - until the next time.

I didn't recognise at the time that we were playing this 'game'. But once it was brought to my attention, I realised I had to stop playing.

By understanding the parts I played, I was able to step out of the game.

In this situation the relationship ended, It wasn't healthy for either of us. So that was the best solution.


I needed time to rebuild my self-esteem and confidence.

It took quite some time to gain both my confidence and self-esteem and begin the process of healing. I started to recognise and take responsibility for my part. Because I had taken a wheelbarrow full of mucky, smelly baggage into the relationship. I knew even before I got into it, it was wrong. But I felt I wasn't worth more. I settled for second- best, and then tried to change him into someone else, that he could not and didn't want to be.



The Drama Triangle is played out in many situations -


Within families and friends and in your working life too. Take some time out and think about the times you recognise the game being played.

If you need some help to find another way, then here is -



There is a subtle change in each of the positions, but they are much more positive ways of being. By changing your behaviour, you will have an effect on the others in the game.


If you would like to explore this further, then get in touch - info@wendycapewell.co.uk

I'm always happy to have a chat.


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