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Breaking The Cycle By Rebuilding Your Life Differently

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that NC is all about devoting all of your waking energy and thoughts to avoiding making or accepting contact with your ex. As you've probably already discovered, that's pretty exhausting and doesn't leave you with much energy for taking care of you or just having a life. There are only so many things that your mind can deal with at once so if you put a heavy load on NC, how much energy is going to be left for rebuilding your life and taking care of you?

What you must always remember about NC is that it's about changing how you respond, which in turn sends a message to the other party. Every single one of us made up of habits. We have thought and action responses to cues and triggers and this forms our habits. The wake up alarm on your phone rings, you (if you're like me) press snooze. You get a text from your ex, you interpret it as a sign of their feelings for you even if the content and previous and possibly subsequent actions say differently, and you respond with the thoughts to support the idea of getting back together and by responding to the text, which in turn opens you up to disappointment.

What you also need to realise is bearing in mind that every person is made up of habits, you doing NC not only changes how you typically respond in this relationship, but it changes what the other party has come to expect from you. Notice how you're not trying to influence, control and basically fundamentally change your ex.

You can either continue with pre-NC habits and they (your ex) will on some level expect same as usual service from you which will continue your disappointment cycle or, you can adapt your habits, break your disappointment cycle and move on. If you were on some level trying to get back with your ex or at the very least, taking ownership of their feelings and behaviour, you will still be engaging in old habits of thinking and behaviour. This will only take you where you have been before.

You have thinking and behaviour that has directly contributed to you either being in this relationship or you struggling to get out of it, and so it's important to rebuild your life in the way that you would prefer it because, if you continue with the same thinking and behaviour that got you to this point, nothing is going to change. You will eventually end up reaching out or responding to your ex or you will do a lather, rinse, repeat with somebody new.

This would be a good time to list any of the thinking that you've been carrying around with you.

Example: There are no good men/women to date.

My last chance saloon has gone.

I need to find someone to complete me.

I'm not good enough.

They were the only person for me.

I'm suffering so much because I love him/her so much.

HALT. This type of thinking isn't going to rebuild your life and move you forward in a healthy way - you're just going to be in a holding pattern until they or somebody else comes along to restart your disappointment cycle again. Use the Get Out of Stuck Guide on your course page to help you with your beliefs.

You break the cycle by changing the things that you do and think with plenty of repetition. It feels unusual at first but after a while it becomes habit.

If you don't adapt your thinking and action routine, when you experience a stresser, you may find you responding in your previous typical manner which can have a domino effect.

You have a bad day at work, you start giving you a hard time, you end up feeling low, you want to feel better, your mind wanders to the 'good times' and next thing you're firing off a text or round there in a fur coat and no knickers.

After a breakup you have to rebuild your life and learn how to solve problems that you would typically have reached out to your ex for, in a different manner. You need to find new solutions and new ways to self-soothe. The key is not to replace with an unhealthy substitute. If you substitute one troublesome ex for a new attention source, or you swap the ex for food, alcohol, drugs etc, nothing is really changing. By learning how to respond in a way that treats you with love, care, trust, and respect, you also improve your self-esteem because you are recognising you as the solution to your problems.

There are subtle and not so subtle changes that you can make to your life that send messages to you and inadvertently communicate that whatever your ex used to expect from you, that ship has sailed.

It does require you to adapt your life routine in the areas where you're vulnerable. I used to go out a lot of with my work colleagues but I had to curtail that for a while so that I had a chance to adapt to the changes. It also sent a message to him that just in case he was thinking that I was going to change my mind or let him jump my bones on a night out, he had it wrong.

It does require you to get out of your comfort zone. If for instance, your trigger for doing unhealthy things is loneliness and boredom, staying home alone going "Me so lonely" or "I'm so bored", isn't really going to change anything. Use this time to discover what your needs are.

Every relationship provides a window into understanding what our needs are and what we need to be doing for ourselves. Whatever frustrated you, whatever was missing, whatever you kept trying to fulfil, these all point to what you need to be doing for you. If you looked to this person to be your salvation and self-esteem, you need to get out of your uncomfortable comfort zone and do the work to get to know you.

Never ask someone to be and do what you're not doing for you already. This will also save you from overvaluing crumb contributions that look like loaves because they're more than what you're doing for you. If you only give you 1p and someone comes along and gives you 10p, it doesn't mean that it's a lot or that it suddenly takes on the weight of £1 or £100. You might even think it's 10p when it's really 1p but are feeling overexcited and validated by the attention.

When you get to know who you are and what your needs are, you can also be spared from waking up further down the line in a relationship being 'surprised' by who someone is.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a romantic relationship but when you are in one, you don't need that person to make your whole and become your oxygen supply; you need to be in a relationship with mutual love, care, trust, and respect.

You might want to be with someone who looks a certain way, or works at this, or does that, or is similar to your father/mother, but you need a partner who is capable of engaging in a mutually fulfilling relationship.

Remember the landmarks of healthy relationships? You can want certain things but you need balance, progression, commitment, intimacy, and consistency. You need an emotionally available, mature, responsible person who conducts themselves with integrity, treats and regards themselves with love, care, trust, and respect, and fulfills their own healthy commitment to themselves. A person who within themselves is essentially having a healthy self relationship will have a healthy relationship with you. The last thing you need is to be with somebody who takes no responsibility for themselves, lacks self-awareness and as a result, neglects you and your relationship.

No Contact is and was a commitment that you made to you. You have communicated to you on a number of levels that you are committed to your personal growth and are taking the responsibility that you have for you and your wellbeing, seriously.

This is a good time to see your friends, to do new things that help you meet new people in group situations, to improve your work situation, to take care of your health, to address any medical issues, to reconnect with passions, hobbies, interests, forgotten goals and plans, and to basically round out your life. I worked on all of these areas when I was NC. When I fell off the wagon for all of a few hours, I realised that it was madness backsliding when I had a so much more enjoyable life 'even' without a boyfriend or a pretend one who already had a girlfriend.

Rebuild your life in the way that you would prefer it so that you have the security of knowing how to take care of you. This will open up wonderful opportunities for you.

Make sure you do the Breaking The Cycle Self Sheet in the Help Yourself section.