A Real-Life Guide To Getting Over An Ex — Right Now!

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There’s just no getting around it: Battling a breakup is emotionally confusing. One minute it’s all good and you’re toasting to the single life, and the next, you're crying into a glass of Pinot Noir while watching reruns of Sex And The City. Sound all too familiar? Well, before you Twitter stalk or go all hacker mode on your ex, you might want to take a gander at these must-read tips on how to (mentally) relinquish an old beau. Dr. Francine Shapiro, Ph.D is offering up a fuss-free way to forget a guy — yes, really!
She’s the OG founder and developer of something called EMDR, which is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven effective of ridding the body and mind of traumatic events. Based on the method, she’s penned the oh-so-helpful tome Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy and offered us up her expertise. Read on, and at the very least, the next time you run into your ex in public, you won’t panic and dash off in the other direction.
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Can you start by telling us a little more about EMDR and what it is?
"EMDR is a form of psychotherapy recognized worldwide as an effective treatment for trauma. Research has shown that general life experiences can cause even more negative symptoms than major trauma. Many interactions we’ve had in childhood, such as being ignored, bullied, humiliated, and talked down to can cause memories to be stored in our brains with the old negative emotions and feelings."
"When the stored memories are triggered in the present, those feelings automatically arise and shape our perceptions, responses, and actions. The memories don’t come up with an image — so the negative emotions feel current and true. The original events may have been consciously forgotten, but the stored memories automatically influence how we react in the present. In EMDR therapy, we identify the memories that are causing current problems and stimulate the brain’s information processing system so they can be ‘digested.’ What is useful is learned from the experience, while the negative emotions, beliefs, and body reactions disappear."
Is it really possible to forget an ex? How?
"It’s not a question of forgetting, but rather of letting go. If someone you trusted has hurt you, feelings of betrayal and anger are likely to arise. It’s important not to dwell on these feelings or let your view of the world be colored by the experience. Learn what you can from the experience in terms of warning signs and what to look out for in the future. Then, look at yourself clearly and see what you might need to change. You may have forgotten many of these experiences, but they are still stored in your brain in a way that can negatively impact who you are in the present."
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"An EMDR therapist will help you to identify the stored memories that are holding you back from happiness, as well as to figure out what new education and skills will be helpful so you make better choices in the future."
What are some tips on moving on?
"Recognize that there is a natural period of mourning that will occur, but focus on being with good friends and planning activities you can enjoy together. Understand that for a while your brain will throw up images and thoughts of the spilt because it is a loss. Just as with any kind of trauma — there can be a host of negative feelings that can arise. So, be kind and gentle with yourself. Feel compassion for yourself. But also teach yourself different techniques that can help you change the negative images, thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Remember that you are the one who can take control of your own life and future."
What's the quickest way to get on a platonic level with an ex?
"Processing the memories that are holding you in the grip of the past is the quickest way. Processing means that what is useful is learned and what is useless is let go. Being able to let go of the pain of the past can release you into a healthy present. From there, you can decide if you would benefit from being friends with your ex, or whether it would be healthier for you to simply move on. If there were interactions that hurt you in the past, has your ex also changed enough so that these won’t happen in the future?"
Photo: Via IMDb
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