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How to Survive your First Break Up – 5 Tips for Sanity


As is becoming more common knowledge, teen and young adult brains are not fully formed until much later than previously thought (age 12 or so).  So the dysregulated, or more likely unregulated amygdala (emotional life) and pre-frontal cortex (planning ability [take note, boys]) combine in their immaturity to form the perfect storm of intensity (more like around ages 16-25). Kind of like, “Look ma, no hands” on turbinado.  This is why your first, primary experiences cling to your long-term memory for life.  Like memory foam, novelty sticks its imprint there and leaves its mark.  It is these firsts of boys, love, loss and anxiety that guide the rest of your womanhood.  If you master them and somehow manage to keep your identity intact, you will go on for greatness, no doubt.  If you fail, you will slip into depression, self-destruction and avoidance.

Of course it’s not so black and white, but on a continuum, if you have trusted friends and family and advisers and therapists, you are more likely to weather these early storms.  After all, that’s what growing up is really all about: learning to cope with disappointment, and moving forward anyway.

So here are some tips to remember to get you through the initial shock of losing a love:

1. Remember to do “YOU” – this time in your inner life is important and will shape you for years to come.  Allow yourself the freedom to grieve and thrive and fluctuate.
2. Your friends and family won’t mind supporting you. People like to feel helpful and useful most of the time. You will surely find out who your real friends are.
3. One door closes another opens. You open yourself up to new experiences when you are vulnerable.  And I don’t mean the driving in fast cars new experiences.  I mean finding out something about your “true nature” new experiences.  You will not regret it.
4. Just observe. You are going through a strange if not brutal rite of passage and you may have been lucky enough to have learned something from it.
5. Loss/grief/pain and suffering do not automatically disappear. Ask the right questions. It’s not when will this end, but how can I incorporate it. I am half of this powerful feeling. I am still here.

Breaking up is hard to do.  Seems harder for girls (just sayin’) and this may be because of the sensitivity of hormones and brain development.  It may also be because of evolutionary biology – e.g. girls are wired to attach faster for the best mate…  Whatever the reasons, stay with it.  Sit with it. Pass the time without judgment.  You will see your heart break and then come back to equilibrium in miraculous waves that hardly seem possible.  I know.  I’ve done it myself once or twice…

How to Survive your First Break Up – 5 Tips for Sanity

Donna C. Moss

You can learn more about Donna's work at her personal website.

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APA Reference
Moss, D. (2017). How to Survive your First Break Up – 5 Tips for Sanity. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 16, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/sext-text/2017/07/how-to-survive-your-first-break-up-5-tips-for-sanity/


Last updated: 26 Jul 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Jul 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.