“Let people be where they need to be.”
The Neuroscience of Love
Toxic relationships, codependency and breakups can be some of the most emotionally unraveling experiences that people go through. Many times the attachment fears and the countertransference that is triggered through the process of letting go of an unhealthy attachment can feel literally ‘heart-breaking.’ During the onslaught of a breakup, people experience symptoms that are paralleled to a heroin addict winging themselves off of their favorite euphoric substance.
According to research, Your brain processes the break up the same way it would process a physical injury and death. The psychic repercussions of the thought of rejection are so causic that they trigger the pain of our past, our present and our future. Much like the way the brain reacts while consuming an addictive substance, the prefrontal cortex is disrupted and the mammalian brain is now controlling your every thought reaction and emotional response.
However, these cravings directed from the reptilian brain are old evolutionary adaptations that signal lustful messages that say, “he is the only male for 800 miles that can procreate with me. I must have him forever!!!”
This evolutionary response from our mammalian brains can be equated to an episode of animal planet that I watched the other day. It was a timeless tale about a polar bear who traveled across the Antarctic to mate with another polar bear because she was the only polar bear for hundreds of miles. The polar bear’s biological instinct to procreate was so strong that he not only fought and killed another polar bear to bread with her but went days without eating. Without conscious awareness, humans can behave relatively close to other mammals in the animal kingdom. However, our emotional brain and neocortex allows us to comprehend rationality and logic. We don’t need to hunt and kill to find the love of our lives. And due to population growth and the agricultural revolution, we have an ample amount of opportunities and choices.
In fact, love actually requires higher cognitive processing abilities and could be argued as a distinctive feature of mammals with higher encephalization quotients.
Thank You, Next
Now that you understand the psychoevolutionary and neurobiological functions that go behind an individual’s desire to find love. It is time to say, “Thank you!” In order to recover from what our brains perceive as a traumatic event like the loss of another person or threat, we have to regulate our autonomic nervous system and identify the psychological wounds which represent the true pain behind our ‘obsessive love.’ For many individuals, the rejection of a breakup opens up deep childhood wounds that are connected through how our emotional brain categorizes the interactions of the relationship. On a subconscious level, every partner we attract is an attempt to reclaim or gain power over a hurt narrative from our past. This goes as far back as understanding the basics of Freudian psychoanalysis and the Oedipus Complex. When you take the time to look at yourself during a breakup and you focus on healing emotional wounds, you’re setting yourself up to attract a healthier version of your previous mate. This is due to what is called a ‘scarcity’ versus ‘abundance’ mentality. When we’re full and happy with ourselves and healing unhealthy patterns, we are ultimately behaving and consciously choosing individuals in our lives who reflect our internal state of being. Some people who prescribe to more ‘new age’ mythology or counterculture could call this a person’s “vibration.”
You’re attracting people who are more aligned with who you truly are and that is something to be truly grateful for.
So, if you’re struggling to move past an old flame or moving on seems harder than you expected. And you’re struggling with identifying the patterns of behavior that seem to be queuing personal control issues or codependency here are three of the best ways to move on!
Three ways to Find Yourself After a Break Up:
- Wish your ex the best and brightest future. I want you to radiate as much love, acceptance and peace for their lives because their happiness is ultimately your happiness. Then I want you to imagine them with someone who is perfect for them and hug them and thank them for the time they spent with you! If you felt like that person was abusive or mean, accept them for what happened. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened or let them back into your life.
- Then I want you to look in the mirror and remember the beautiful and wonderful person that you are. Think about your life before that person: what were you doing, how did you define yourself? Rediscover who you were before the relationship and give yourself the love that you deserve. What are your passions? Spend time with people who fill up your cup and don’t deplete it. And when you’re thinking about your ex, stop and meditate on the love that you want to share with them. Maybe, now is a good time to get back into therapy and start working through some of the wounds that attracted your ex to you in the first place.
- Level Up! If now isn’t a better time to be with yourself and work on applying the lessons learned from your last relationship what time is? Maybe it is time to accomplish some of the dreams that you never got around to while trying to make the relationship work, take a night to paint, dance or sing! Give yourself the love you deserve and Mr. Right will surely come 🙂
But ultimately, staying hateful, angry and mad at an ex will only keep you in the cycle of self-destruction. Let them go. But in letting them go – always remember love.