When a relationship ends – especially after a man unexpectedly leaves – how do you stop feeling sorry for yourself? You don’t want to struggle with self-pity for months or even years after a breakup…and yet you can’t change your feelings.
These ways to cope with self-pity, self-hatred, shame and other feelings connected to feeling sorry for yourself will help you pick up the pieces of your heart. After you read my tips, look at the comments. You’ll meet women who are healing after different types of breakups — and none of them are feeling sorry for themselves. Their advice will help you move on from a relationship when you’re still in love.
Learning how to stop feeling sorry for yourself after he leaves is a process of changing how you think. Your feelings of heartbreak and abandonment after someone breaks up with you are deep. Being left by someone you love triggers past memories of rejection and loss. This is why you feel sorry for yourself…and it’s also the key to healing and freedom.
You feel sorry for yourself because you were created for love. We humans need each other! We need to love and be loved, to be in relationship with one another. When we’re rejected, we’re cut to the core. A breakup is an incredibly painful experience, and it needs to be grieved like any loss of a relationship. So, when you feel sorry for yourself after being left by a man — even if you know that your relationship had to end — go easy on yourself. Give yourself the kindness and gentleness you’d expect from a nurturing mom or loving best friend.
This advice from a She Blossoms reader may help you heal:
“I am so sorry you are going through this,” says Hannah on 7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself Through the Divorce Process. “I know how you feel and how it hurts! The same thing happened to me, and I felt sorry for myself for a long time. Please keep praying. God is with you, believe me. He will help you through. It seems at the moment that the pain will win, but you will come through this! You are not alone. You are valuable and a beautiful woman who will find love again one day. Your husband is the one who lost everything, not you. Stay strong, and reach out to people who love you.”
After He Leaves – How to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself
I started my first diary when I was 10 years old, and I still have it today. I have no family photo albums, heirlooms, boxes of childhood stuff — nothing but a stack of dairies from my childhood. I grew up in foster homes, and my mom often walked away from apartments without taking anything with her. As a result, I have nothing from my childhood.
Not having any tangible memories from the past isn’t a big deal to me, because I had a painful childhood. I didn’t want to remember my past — but even so it took me a long time to learn how to stop feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t grow up with good parents, roots, family or even a childhood home My feelings of self-pity lasted far too long! Don’t let this happen to you.
My tips on how to stop feeling sorry for yourself after he leaves are based on seeing and changing your expectations.
1. Consider your expectations of your boyfriend and relationship
Think back to when you and your boyfriend first started dating. Or to when you and your husband said your wedding vows! What did you expect from your relationship with him? Maybe you thought you’d be together forever — especially as a married couple.
Or, maybe you thought you’d be the one to break up with him because you always knew the truth about your relationship. Maybe you feel sorry for yourself because he had the strength to break up with you, and you couldn’t do it.
What was the biggest surprise about your breakup? How did it go against all your expectations? Thinking about this can help you stop feeling sorry for yourself. It gives you something to hold on to, to move towards.
2. Admit the truth you were ignoring
Sometimes we know something is true — a relationship isn’t working out, a boyfriend isn’t being honest, a marriage is dull and lifeless — but we refuse to admit it. We don’t want to face the truth, because the truth hurts. And when we’re forced to face the truth, we feel sorry for ourselves. We’re consumed with self-pity and even self-loathing, because we know better. We know better.
What were you ignoring about your relationship? Was the breakup a true surprise, or did you see it coming? How can this help you stop feeling sorry for yourself, now that he’s gone?
3. Decide that you’re tired of feeling sorry for yourself
Back to my experience with a bad childhood: I finally, finally got tired of feeling sorry for myself. It was like a sore tooth — I couldn’t stop poking at my feelings of self-pity. Finally, I got sick of myself. And I realized that my beliefs were wrong. I thought everybody else had normal, healthy, happy two-parent homes. I thought other people had good childhoods and wonderful memories of family vacations and Facebook moments all the time. I felt sorry for myself because my expectations were wrong…and I got tired of it.
Now, I know better. I know my expectations of my mom and my childhood weren’t realistic. I also know my expectations of other people’s healthy, happy two-parent homes also aren’t realistic. Other people are dealing with relationship breakdowns, separations, divorces, family estrangements, betrayals — even if they look normal, happy, and healthy on the outside.
4. Let go and grow forward
Now that my expectations are realistic, I’ve grown into a new sense of wisdom and acceptance. I’m healthy and prepared for anything life has to offer. I have a strong relationship with Jesus, and know the Holy Spirit is guiding my life. I learned how to stop feeling sorry for myself by letting go of my expectations for my life and accepting whatever comes next.
If you’re still feeling sorry for yourself for a long time after he leaves, perhaps you expected your relationship to change who you are. I expected my family to change who I was; the truth is that nobody but God can do that. What about you – is it possible that you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for so long that you don’t even want to stop? Perhaps your self-identity and self-esteem was wrapped up in your relationship. When he left, he took the best part of you with him…and now it’s easier to stay stuck than try to move forward.
Learning how to let go of someone you love is one of the best ways to stop feeling sorry for yourself when he leaves.
I wrote 75 How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart to help women break free from painful losses, breakups, and crushing disappointments. These practical tips from relationship counselors and psychologists will help you start loosening unhealthy attachments to the past.
Don’t give the past – or someone who hurt you – the power to hold you back from blossoming into who you were created to be.
It’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself, and start growing forward into a new season of life! Decide that you will examine your expectations, pursue healing, and take time to work through the pain of letting go. Even these simple thoughts will help you stop feeling sorry for yourself and start growing forward into a new season of life.
In peace and passion,
P.S. You may find When You Feel Homesick for Your Old Life helpful if you long for things to be the way they were.