Break Ups 101: Ambiguous Loss

Break Up

When breaking up with a significant other or growing apart from a friend who was once very close to us, we find ourselves racking our brains trying to work out where we went wrong. We torture ourselves, going over every little conversation we have ever had with that person in an attempt to identify what exactly it was we said to push this person away. This is such a dangerous thing to do as you can drive yourself into the depths of insanity, sleep deprivation and low self-esteem. Think being awake at 4am, crawling around on your bedroom floor picking up dust particles whilst contemplating the most viable conspiracy theories that explain why you can hear that buzzing sound ringing in your ears. Nobody wants to reach that level of crazy yet most, even if they don’t want to admit it, slip into this lonely cycle in the aftermath of losing somebody who was very dear to your heart.

In the case of a breakup many of us lie in our puddles of tears, frantically going over every memory we have of that person. “Oh they were so cute when they woke up in the morning”, we tell ourselves. We remember all of the cute little pet names they used to call us, which would make the general public vom. We remember all of the little secret jokes we shared with that person and it makes us smile when we think about how much they used to make us laugh; even when their jokes were beyond awful, we still found our sides splitting and ribs hurting from laughing so much. Once the realisation of them not being around anymore sets in after reliving these memories, we are once again reduced to a sniveling wreck who has forgotten what fresh air smells like or what light feels like on our eyes. Instead of wasting away and turning into a bag of bones however, it would be beneficial to actually understand why we are feeling like this.

Break Up Food

As I may have mentioned on one or two occasions I am a Psychological genius and so am going to give you a valuable insight into the world of Psychoanalysis and all things which enable us Psychologists to mind-read and manipulate our way into a person’s subconscious. Lovely people, we are. Pay attention because the next time you find yourself with snot running down your face and your hair all bedraggled because you have been driving yourself insane having broken up with somebody, you will now be able to understand your feelings. Understanding your feelings and yourself is the first step to becoming as amazing as me, although I doubt you will ever be able to reach the level I possess. One can try though, as everybody loves a trier.

Ambiguous Loss refers to the grief and distress experienced associated with the loss of a person or relationship, in which confusion about that entity is present. You know when you look at the person and say “they’ve changed so much, I don’t recognise them anymore”?, this is because the part of them that you knew has, in a way, died. Think of them as a tube of smarties. Trust me to use a food analogy. Fatty. The multicoloured Smarties are all of the jokes you shared, the cute things they did, the pet names they had for you and the awe they felt being in your presence. Now imagine yourself as a fat greedy child, desperately running towards the tube which is on your kitchen table. Your chubby legs buckle beneath you and you smash into the table, sending the tube of Smarties flying everywhere. When you pick up the tube it is empty. This hollowness is the ambiguous loss. Now imagine how distraught the chubby kid would be; the highlight of their day was eating their emotions away into that tube and now, out of the blue, their pleasure has been taken away.

Crying Fat Child

I feel that, apart from the Psychopaths of the World who are unable to experience empathy and pretty much any emotion other than anger (George Bush, Ian Brady, Katie Price – I am looking at you), we will all experience this loss at some point in our lives. However I believe the key to a quick recovery and ensuring you do not mess up other aspects of your life is being aware of what it is that you are feeling. This should help your mental state, as well as your bank balance: you won’t be spending your hard-earned pennies on tubs of Ben & Jerry’s and bottles of Iceland’s best Vodka to fill the void of loneliness.

Break Up

By: Laura Hindley – @LauraHindley2

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