How to Use Journaling After a Breakup

Michelle Fyfe

A healing strategy at your fingertips.

Photo by fatman Wong on Unsplash

Breaking up is hard to do.

Even if you instigated the breakup, it is a painful process. The longer you have been together, the worse it is.

Going through a breakup is (almost) like grieving the death of a loved one. You will go through the phases of grief — shock, denial, anger and pain, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

And it isn’t a linear progression either — you will bounce back and forth between these stages. Just when you think you are over the pain, a memory will come crashing back in and send you into sadness again.

Getting over a breakup takes work.

It is a mistake to jump right into another relationship, as these emotions are within you and if you don’t deal with them, they will rear their ugly heads again, often worse. Bringing that kind of baggage to a new relationship is always a bad idea.

Part of the healing process of letting go of a person, who at one time you were in love with and spent a considerable amount of time with, is to express and delve into these differing emotions.

An excellent way to do this is to start (or continue) journaling every day.

Journaling helps to get painful feelings out in a safe environment.

No one needs to read what you have written. Nor should they. This is a private place, only for you.

Often we will journal angry and hateful things about our ex. And that’s okay. Get them out. Express them.

Write a letter to your ex in your journal — just don’t send it.

During a breakup, it is important not to express too much to your ex-partner. It isn’t right, nor healthy. And drags you back into the quagmire of contention with that person. Is that what you want? Better to severely limit contact.

But writing those letters, not sending them, is a way to process your feelings, your anger, your resentments, your wishes and longings.

Writing things we could have done differently, things they should have done differently and just processing the relationship and the hurts and confusions that are a part of this time is psychologically healing.

I am going through a painful breakup and am reading Getting Past Your Breakup by Susan Elliot. She emphasizes the healing aspect of journaling.

Try using your journaling for growth.

Breaking up with your ex is a time when you are broken open (Elizabeth Lesser’s insightful book on loss). A broken open soul is ripe for growth.

While journaling Susan suggests writing everyday the answers to these questions:

How am I feeling?

What am I doing?

What am I trying to change about my life?

These questions bring insight, future thinking and positive change into an otherwise extremely difficult time.

Looking at your feelings, noticing what they are, accepting them, realizing that they change — sometimes rapidly — and talking about and naming them, helps you work them out.

Looking at what you are doing and specifically writing that down brings focus to your daily actions.

Is what you did today making you a better person? Am I doing what I want? Am I staying stuck?

Asking what you are trying to change in your own life brings responsibility back to you. You cannot and will not change your partner. You can’t. Only the person in the mirror. Giving up control over other people and realizing that you hold the cards only for your own life is empowering, scary yes, but empowering.

You got this!

As I go through this breakup, I am putting my journal to work.

Sometimes it is full of shit about my ex — I’ll admit that my anger gets placed in there. And that’s good. Anger is a phase, a stage of grief and letting go.

My anxieties about the future. My sadness and missing him. My uncertainities and worries.

But I feel a lightness after I write. And it is bringing me slowly along the path of letting go.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Michelle Fyfe💙

Michelle Fyfe

Written by

Seeking health, happiness, living a good life and writing. I also am a pharmacist, a health coach and love yoga. Namaste.

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