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The Shallows and 4 Ways to Rise UP


gaga and bradley cooper photo     When Bradley and Gaga sang together at the Academy Awards there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Including mine. Brought me right back to one of my early break-ups. There’s me on a train leaving college to go I don’t know where, and the boyfriend staying back for the last and final semester before he became a totally awesome finance dude. I knew I was out of my league from the beginning. One day he took apart my car and put it back to together again. He never studied but got straight A’s, and his father was a big shot for one of the major sports teams. There I was leaving him. Or was he leaving me? Anyway, as I was sobbing and hyperventilating my mother came to my rescue saying, “honey just take it 15 minutes at a time.”  

That saved my life.

The break-up made me see I wouldn’t die of a broken heart. I think that’s a major milestone of life. Now with social media, just exaggerate everything times 1,000. I am not against social media. In fact, I helped to start it with online health communities back in 1999 as Director of Community and Policy for iVillage.com. Fast forward to the time when teens text on average of 94 times per day. Several writers, sociologists, psychologists and others have offered commentaries about how damaging and damning this can be from bullying to brutal obsessions to being outed or embarrassed or invalidated or disrespected via text (See Lisa DaMour).  

  • So instead of goodbye, we have ghosting.
  • Instead of I can’t do this anymore let’s talk, we have swipe left
  • Instead of when can we work on things it’s, I’m outta here – friend zone
  • Instead of do you want to get to know me better first, it’s friends with benefits

I used to talk about how this is bad for girls. But you know what, my readers have convinced me boys don’t like it either (they just don’t come to therapy, so I don’t know). When the break-up comes there is a terrible gut wrenching pain that usually has arrived via the blind side. Why talk about it if you can avoid it? This starts the cycle of loss and confusion that seems as if it will have no end, magnified by all the happy Instagram people.  

Last summer I counseled many teens/young adult (women) who had just undergone a break-up. I began to feel as hopeless and helpless as they did. All we could do was wait it out.  Then slowly one by one they appeared stronger. It turns out that the ingredients of a teen break-up are just like adults (see Gottman) in terms of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”  If resentment and contempt creep into a relationship they take hostage of the good stuff and override it.

Then you’re left with a lack of trust and fear of abandonment. This is of course toxic as most adults know. But kids don’t know this; they have never done it before. If you’re lucky enough to have married your first love and have it last then I guess you will never have to suffer in this way. But most of us have experienced some kind of grief by the time we’re 30. So helping teens learn PATIENCE and PRACTICE is huge in therapy. That’s where DBT, Yoga and Group Therapy come in. The process can give kids the space to grow without the swift judgment of the world watching web.

Next time your teen or your client or your group member says I’ll never get over this, tell her gently, you will with patience and practice. 

Photo by Luke Rauscher

The Shallows and 4 Ways to Rise UP


Donna C. Moss

Donna Moss was a blog contributor at Psych Central.


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APA Reference
Moss, D. (2019). The Shallows and 4 Ways to Rise UP. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/sext-text/2019/04/the-shallows-and-4-ways-to-rise-up/

 

Last updated: 4 Apr 2019
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