Julie was having trouble moving on from a breakup and felt her world was spiralling out of control. She put on a happy face to run successful catering business in Brisbane but was going home feeling exhausted and defeated. Things had started to to become painful after Julie went through a messy divorce three years ago. Her ex-husband seemed to have moved on with a new young wife and family, but Julie was feeling stuck.
Julie was also struggling to co-parent their three teenage children with her ex. The kids were playing the parents off against each other. The older ones were choosing to stay with their father even on Julie’s scheduled weekends, which was very painful for her.
For some time, Julie had been drinking more and more each night to numb her overwhelmingly negative feelings. She was also questioning her current relationship, wondering whether she was only in it to stop feeling lonely. She no longer trusted herself and was questioning all her decisions to the point of feeling paralysed.
Moving on from a breakup
Our Holistic counselling sessions focused on the fact that Julie was having trouble moving on from a breakup. It was clear that she had not processed the grief resulting from her divorce. Driven by an overwhelming sense of guilt that she had failed, she still held a shred of hope of reconciliation.
We looked at all aspects of Julie’s life using my Holistic S.T.E.P.S. framework: Social, Thinking, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual.
It became evident that Julie had forgotten to take care of herself. After spending years looking after everyone else at the expense of herself, Julie’s ‘emotional tank’ had, understandably, run dry. This meant that she didn’t have the emotional resources to cope with her life.
Together we came up with STEPS strategies to help get Julie’s life to where she wanted it to be:
Social – Julie learned to establish healthy boundaries with her ex-husband (which means she no longer responds to his abusive text messages)
Thinking – She challenges old life scripts (like ‘self-care is selfish’, and “it’s all my fault”) that were holding her back.
Emotional – She makes time for regular activities that fill her emotional tank (like visiting the library and reading for fun)
Physically – She goes to a weekly Pilates class and has started eating better.
Spiritually – She spends 5 to 10 minutes a day journalling.
Outcomes for Julie
As Julie began to care for herself in all areas of her life, she began to feel happier and better about herself. As a result, she no longer needs to numb her feelings with excessive alcohol. Processing the grief and loss associated with her divorce has helped her let go of the inappropriate guilt she felt. Closing that chapter of her life has meant she is free to appreciate her new partner. Consequently, she feels much better about herself, has found her voice and now asks for what she needs in the relationship. She has finally lost some weight, has more energy and gets on better with her kids, feeling stronger in the face of their difficult behaviour.
If you would like help to move on from a breakup, book an appointment here, with Honni hayton Counselling. Online appointments available.