Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
December 15, 2019, 12:15:17 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Board Admins: FaithHopeLove, Harri, Once Removed
Senior Ambassadors: Cat Familiar, I Am Redeemed, Mutt, Turkish
Ambassadors: Enabler, Forgiveness, formflier, GaGrl,  khibomsis , Longterm, Ozzie101, pursuingJoy, Swimmy55, zachira
  Help!   Groups   Please Donate Login to Post New?--Click here to register  
bing
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: 8.01 | The Biology of Breaking Up - why it hurts [romantic partners]  (Read 24461 times)
Skip
Site Director
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 8067


« on: March 21, 2011, 07:45:48 PM »

The Biology of Breaking Up

Our brains are wired for bonding. Breakups challenge us biologically.  According to Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, everyone biologically reacts to rejection in a way similar to  that of a drug user going through withdrawal. In the early days and weeks after a serious breakup, there are changes in the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain, which controls motivation and reward and is known to be involved in romantic love; the nucleus accumbens and the orbitofrontal/prefrontal cortex, part of the dopamine reward system and associated with craving and addiction; and the insular cortex and anterior cingulate, associated with physical pain and distress.

As reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology, Fisher rounded up 15 people who had just experienced romantic rejection, put them in an fMRI machine, and had them look at two large photographs: an image of the person who had just dumped them and an image of a neutral person to whom they had no attachment. When the participants looked at the images of their rejecters, their brains shimmered like those of addicts deprived of their substance of choice.

“We found activity in regions of the brain associated with cocaine and nicotine addiction,” Fisher says. “We also found activity in a region associated with feelings of deep attachment, and activity in a region that’s associated with pain.”

Fisher’s work corroborates the findings of UCLA psychologist Naomi Eisenberger, who discovered that social rejection activates the same brain area—the anterior cingulate—that generates an adverse reaction to physical pain.

Why do some behave so badly after a breakup?

The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to do just about anything to make the hurt go away -- and that includes a host of unhealthy things ranging from demonizing their ex-partner, to excessive anger, to bashing whole groups of people.  The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to stalk their ex-partners.  Fisher believes, for example, that activation of addictive centers in response to breakups also fuels stalking behavior, explaining “why the beloved is so difficult to give up.”

Attachment styles that emerge early in life also influence how people handle breakups later on

Biology is nowhere near the whole story. Attachment styles that emerge early in life also influence how people handle breakups later on—and how they react to them.

Those with a secure attachment style—whose caregivers, by being generally responsive, instilled a sense of trust that they would always be around when needed—are most likely to approach breakups with psychological integrity. Typically, they clue their partners in about any changes in their feelings while taking care not to be hurtful.

On the receiving end of a breakup, “the secure person acknowledges that the loss hurts, but is sensible about it,” says Phillip Shaver, a University of California, Davis psychologist who has long studied attachment behavior. “They’re going to have an undeniable period of broken dreams, but they express that to a reasonable degree and then heal and move on.”

People with inconsistent parental attention during the first years of life—are apt to try to keep a defunct relationship going rather than suffer the pain of dissolving it

By contrast, people who develop an anxious or insecure attachment style—typically due to inconsistent parental attention during the first years of life—are apt to try to keep a defunct relationship going rather than suffer the pain of dissolving it. “The anxious person is less often the one who takes the initiative in breaking up,” Shaver says. “More commonly, they hang on and get more angry and intrusive.”

On the receiving end of a breakup, the insecurely attached react poorly. “They don’t let go,” says Shaver. “They’re more likely to be stalkers, and they’re more likely to end up sleeping with the old partner.” Unfortnately, their defense against pain—refusing to acknowledge that the relationship is over—precludes healing. They pine on for the lost love with little hope of relief.

People with low self-esteem took rejection the worst: They were most likely to blame themselves for what had happened and to rail against the rejecter.

Whether we bounce back from a breakup or wallow in unhappiness also depends on our general self-regard. In a University of California, Santa Barbara study where participants experienced rejection in an online dating exchange, people with low self-esteem took rejection the worst: They were most likely to blame themselves for what had happened and to rail against the rejecter. Their levels of the stress hormone cortisol ran particularly high. Such reactivity to romantic rejection often creates unhealthy coping strategies—staying home alone night after night, for example, or remaining emotionally closed off from new partners.

People with high self-esteem were not immune to distress in the face of romantic rejection, whether they were rejecter or rejectee, but they were less inclined to assume a lion’s share of the blame for the split. Best of all, they continued to see themselves in a positive light despite a brush-off.

Some helpful tips... .

1. Don’t protest a partner’s decision.  The best thing a dumpee can do to speed emotional healing is to accept that the relationship has come to an unequivocal end.  In her neuroimaging studies, Helen Fisher found that the withdrawal-like reaction afflicting romantic rejectees diminished with time. Start the clock working in you favor.

2. Don’t beg him or her to reconsider later on.  The recovery process is fragile, says Fisher, and last-ditch attempts to make contact or win back an ex can scuttle it. “If you suddenly get an email from the person, you can get right into the craving for them again.” To expedite moving on, she recommends abstaining from any kind of contact with the rejecter: “Throw out the cards and letters. Don’t call. And don’t try to be friends.”   At least for now. When you have healed, things can change.

3. Resist thinking you’ve lost your one true soul mate. Don’t tell yourself you’ve lost the one person you were destined to be with forever, says Florida State University psychologist Roy Baumeister. “There’s something about love that makes you think there’s only one person for you, and there’s a mythology surrounding that. But there’s nothing magical about one person.” In reality, there are plenty of people with whom each of us is potentially compatible. It might be difficult to fathom in the aftermath of a breakup, but chances are you’ll find someone else.

4.  Don’t demonize your ex-partner.  It’s a waste of your energy. And avoid plotting revenge; it will backfire by making him or her loom ever larger in your thoughts and postpone your recovery.

5. Don’t try to blot out the pain you’re feeling, either.  Face it head on.  Short of the death of a loved one, the end of a long-term relationship is one of the most severe emotional blows you’ll ever experience. It’s perfectly normal—in fact, necessary—to spend time grieving the loss. “Love makes you terribly vulnerable,John Portmann, a moral philos­opher at the University of Virginia says. “If you allow yourself to fall in love, you can get hurt really badly.”  

The sooner you face the pain, the sooner it passes.


Based on: psychologytoday.com
Logged

 


Dub 1
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: living apart 2 years
Posts: 169



« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 02:49:32 AM »

Hi

Cool & so straight to the point of my emotional pain.

I will print this & keep it close to me.

Blessings
Logged
CaptainM
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Recently separated permanently. Together for 6 years prior.
Posts: 2221


« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 08:56:17 PM »

Fantastic article! It's great to see some research going into this - whilst I've never been through a drug addiction I remember the sometimes irrational pain and compulsions that I went through when disengaging - they were very powerful indeed.
Logged



bb12
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 727


« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 07:30:22 PM »

This is a wonderful workshop! Thank you!

For me, it was absolutely like an addiction. In the months after being blind-sided and dumped on my head, the whole experience felt more physical than mental for me. I truly was going through withdrawals... .and all the reading on dopamine levels and the neurophysiology of it seems to confirm that I was. Add to this his decision to inflict the silent treatment, where the option of another 'hit' was completely removed, and I look back 1 year later at amazement at the inner strength I was able to draw upon.

I have learned so much from this experience, and with the help of a wonderful therapist and my new faceless friends on here, I am a different person.

The gift of the borderline is ultimately their cruelty. The incongruence of their words and actions; the cognitive dissonance that arises when their behaviours make no sense as we draw on our archives for similar previous pain and to think our way out of it... .to make sense of non-sensical behaviour.

For by making no sense, for giving us no closure, we are forced to separate fact from fiction; fantasy from a more likely reality; and to examine our own core trauma.

I am so grateful to my exBPD for what this experience has given me. And the practical, intellectual part of me is also stoked to see that all of what I went through has been confirmed by research findings like these. As the article states, apart from a death, it is unlikely we will ever experience a pain like this. Having survived it and come out the other side, the one thing I have promised myself is that I will not close myself off to love. I won't stop taking chances. I won't cease being open to pain again. I have learned so much about my own psychology and about mental illnesses, so I will spot the red flags and I won't fall for the wrong type of person again. I don't think I can anymore. But one thing we must also strive to do - and this might go against all that we feel we should do - is to stay vulnerable!

Loving deeply means being vulnerable, and this awful experience should not harden us up so much as to lose that!

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

x

Bb12
Logged
tcevans78
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Living apart over a year.
Posts: 262



« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 09:37:41 PM »

I benefited from the information about attachment.  My therapist said she felt I likely had reactive attachment disorder.  I googled this several times without much luck.  After googling Anxious attachment I found a resources (I don't know if its on here elsewhere or not).

www.helpguide.org/toolkit/emotional_health.htm

I will be doing the workshop.  

I'm surprised how scary it is to actually jump into all of this.  I normally just browse, but now plan to actually do the work.  I feel like I'm jumping off of one of those really high cliffs into the water - but I can't see beneath me.  (oh - and I'm NOT one of those people who jump off of cliffs).  
Logged
backup
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 76


« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2012, 04:05:22 PM »

This thread should be a sticky!
Logged
mcc503764
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 335


« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2012, 08:38:55 PM »

The gift of the borderline is ultimately their cruelty. The incongruence of their words and actions; the cognitive dissonance that arises when their behaviours make no sense as we draw on our archives for similar previous pain and to think our way out of it... .to make sense of non-sensical behaviour.

For by making no sense, for giving us no closure, we are forced to separate fact from fiction; fantasy from a more likely reality; and to examine our own core trauma.

I am so grateful to my exBPD for what this experience has given me. And the practical, intellectual part of me is also stoked to see that all of what I went through has been confirmed by research findings like these. As the article states, apart from a death, it is unlikely we will ever experience a pain like this. Having survived it and come out the other side, the one thing I have promised myself is that I will not close myself off to love. I won't stop taking chances. I won't cease being open to pain again. I have learned so much about my own psychology and about mental illnesses, so I will spot the red flags and I won't fall for the wrong type of person again.
I don't think I can anymore. But one thing we must also strive to do - and this might go against all that we feel we should do - is to stay vulnerable!

Loving deeply means being vulnerable, and this awful experience should not harden us up so much as to lose that!

I couldn't have said it better myself!  One year later (yes 1 year), I am finally to the point of acceptance.  I had to gain my own sense of closure.  This obviously took time, but at the end I am a stronger person because of the experience.  I've grown so much.  While I don't like the BPD that put me through the pain, I DO like the lessons, strength, and personal growth that I GAINED from the experience!

I am ready and looking forward to the next chapter of MY life!

MCC
Logged
Hamakua

*
Offline Offline

Posts: 42


« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2012, 05:07:09 AM »

Really good entry and one of your sources I was familiar with, the prof from FSU, Roy F. Baumeister.  I have run into his works in other arenas totally unrelated to this board.

Something I have been dying to contribute but never know where to put it, so I'll put it here.

20 minute Ted Talk by Dan Gilbert:  "Why are we happy?"

Really insightful and I show it to all I meet, the long and short of it is that we are in more control of our own happiness than we realize.
Logged
GreenMango
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 4331



« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 04:01:05 PM »

Good points BB12, MCC, and Hamakua,

Acceptance, seeing the positives or lessons, and realizing we ultimately have the control to make ourselves happy after the relationship is very self empowering.

Keep at it

GM
Logged

dontknow2
***
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 154



« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2013, 05:15:49 PM »

The pain was even worse for me after many recycles. I never fully healed from each break-up and stay confused on whether this one is really it; making it even more difficult to heal. Plus, add my own mental illness, triggered pain from parent rejection/abandonment, and reality that NC is not an option with children involved.

I am feeling a moment of pride as I type... .I have lived through it, barely, but making it! I hope some day I'll see the rewards in my external reality too.

I'm hugging myself. 
Logged
itsnotme567
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 54



« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2014, 08:14:54 AM »

Good thread just what needed to read today
Logged


arjay
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Divorced
Posts: 2506


WWW
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2014, 05:33:46 PM »

It has been seven years for me now, since my divorce and the two of us moving on.  Looking back I pretty much fit into the examples provided by Skip.  It was very painful and just like that which was stated, I was trying to convince myself to "hang on", lower my standards of acceptable behavior, compromise in unhealthy ways, all to avoid the inevitable break up and forced independence and transitional pain.  I can say now "transitional pain", because it didn't really last that long though at the time it seemed eternity.

Looking back now, that difficult experience made me much stronger as a person; something sadly, I would have never volunteered to endure under the guise of "growth".  It was surely something that allowed me to grow more; all part of the human experience.  Life does go on and we grow in the process.

Logged

Emelie Emelie
*****
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 665


« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2014, 02:52:10 PM »

Helpful reading today.
Logged
Take2
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 732



« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2014, 07:46:31 PM »

A good article to read and reread... . thank you for bumping it up... .   the concept of knowing that the physical withdrawal feeling will inevitabily go away is so helpful when feeling like it will just never end... .

Logged
Arminius
***
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 233


« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2014, 01:09:45 PM »

Very helpful and some good contributions after the initial article. Thansk
Logged
Dolly rocker
**
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 92



« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2014, 02:16:49 PM »

Spot on!

Thank u for posting! I really needed to read something like that tonight!

Smiling (click to insert in post)
Logged
troisette
****
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 443


« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2015, 07:40:08 AM »

Thank you for this article, it's been of great help to me. A couple of weeks ago I had an "aha" moment. I realised that throughout the whole of my life I have avoided relationship break-ups because I couldn't stand the pain. When they were unavoidable I quickly moved on to another man. A history of disaster! Not allowing myself to go through the grieving process, feeling too frightened of the pain.

My aha moment was the realisation that this is linked to the death of my father when I was a toddler - I am now in middle age. Children's grief wasn't recognised then and I wasn't nurtured as all sympathies went to my mother who was deeply depressed. So, this article figures: Inadequate maternal care and the traumatic death of my much loved father. So I didn't grieve and have been terrified of going through it when relationships with men fail, doing anything I can to avoid it. I guess this reflects my terror of my emotions when he died.

This time I am determined to go through the stages, feel the pain, ride it. And it's been agonising at times. I'm hoping that I can deal with emotions that, unknowingly, I've been avoiding for fifty years. I'm hoping that the cruelty of the BPD I met will have given me the greatest gift of finally healing.  Thought

The gift of the borderline is ultimately their cruelty. The incongruence of their words and actions; the cognitive dissonance that arises when their behaviours make no sense as we draw on our archives for similar previous pain and to think our way out of it... .to make sense of non-sensical behaviour.

For by making no sense, for giving us no closure, we are forced to separate fact from fiction; fantasy from a more likely reality; and to examine our own core trauma.

I am so grateful to my exBPD for what this experience has given me. And the practical, intellectual part of me is also stoked to see that all of what I went through has been confirmed by research findings like these. As the article states, apart from a death, it is unlikely we will ever experience a pain like this. Having survived it and come out the other side, the one thing I have promised myself is that I will not close myself off to love. I won't stop taking chances. I won't cease being open to pain again. I have learned so much about my own psychology and about mental illnesses, so I will spot the red flags and I won't fall for the wrong type of person again.
I don't think I can anymore. But one thing we must also strive to do - and this might go against all that we feel we should do - is to stay vulnerable!

Loving deeply means being vulnerable, and this awful experience should not harden us up so much as to lose that![/quote]
I couldn't have said it better myself!  One year later (yes 1 year), I am finally to the point of acceptance.  I had to gain my own sense of closure.  This obviously took time, but at the end I am a stronger person because of the experience.  I've grown so much.  While I don't like the BPD that put me through the pain, I DO like the lessons, strength, and personal growth that I GAINED from the experience!

I am ready and looking forward to the next chapter of MY life!

MCC[/quote]
Logged
Take2
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 732



« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2015, 05:39:29 AM »

What this article describes really is true... .  after taking so so long to make it thru to the other side, I can confirm that it IS better on the other side of the pain and constant chaos... .   Even once my borderline partner was out of  my life, my own head continued to go thru the pain and chaos for quite a while... .  I found the best therapist ever to help me understand the addiction like behavior I was having and help me work thru and past it.

Life is peaceful now and content.  Despite the hell he put me thru, I actually do wish the best for my exBPD-bf... .  and don't care or need to know a thing about him... .THAT is unbelievable.  Smiling (click to insert in post)
Logged
ladylee
**
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 52


« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2016, 02:49:27 PM »

Thank goodness for everything I am learning on this site. I never knew what a recycle was until finding this site. I realize I recycled once and married him, but I should have walked away the first time, the problem was my own life put a fearful situation in my path, a cancer diagnosis, and I caved in rather than stay in my own home and face it with the support of my friends and family, which I could have done, I had the resources, I let him "rescue me" and I move to another state and married him. He was fresh out of another relationship. I was the new set up.  I was single for six years and a well set up homeowner. He was not. So even though he was very nurturing and supportive for four years, his FOF and children eventually dominated. So in reality, I was the rescuer. He always knew it was me grounding him, it just was me who needed to wake up, I'm not recycling again, I'm working through my pain. There's a better life out there and I'll find it again. But guess who's got the house we bought together, not me.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Links and Information
CLINICAL INFORMATION
The Big Picture
5 Dimensions of Personality
BPD? How can I know?
Get Someone into Therapy
Treatment of BPD
Full Clinical Definition
Top 50 Questions

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENTS
My Child has BPD
My Parent/Sibling has BPD
My Significant Other has BPD
Recovering a Breakup
My Failing Romance
Endorsed Books
Archived Articles

RELATIONSHIP TOOLS
How to Stop Reacting
Ending Cycle of Conflict
Listen with Empathy
Don't Be Invalidating
Values and Boundaries
On-Line CBT Program
>> More Tools

MESSAGEBOARD GENERAL
Membership Eligibility
Messageboard Guidelines
Directory
Suicidal Ideation
Domestic Violence
ABOUT US
Mission
Policy and Disclaimers
Professional Endorsements
Wikipedia
Facebook

BPDFamily.org

Your Account
Settings

Moderation Appeal
Become a Sponsor
Sponsorship Account


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2019, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!