If a person has an experience that is physically, mentally or emotionally traumatic, the mind deals with the situation in one of several different ways. Some people abuse alcohol, food, drugs or other substances to numb the feelings they have inside. Others mourn for a short period of time, restore their faith, balance and sanity, and somehow miraculously move on. But the rest of us left over, usually those who are very analytical and logical, have trouble processing deeply troubling situations. So, we replay the painful situation over and over again in our minds, searching for an answer. But the problem is, the answer cannot be found in the rational mind, because the problem is on an emotional plain. Therefore, the solution has to come from the heart, which needs to be healed and restored. Here is the step by step process I have adapted to end obsessive thinking about an Ex:
Don’t take anything your Ex ever said or did personally, because nothing your Ex ever said or did was about you. Even if your Ex downright blames you for everything that went wrong in your relationship, realize their statement is only coming from who they are, which has absolutely nothing to do with the person you are.
However, not taking your Ex personally is a two sided coin. If during the heat of an argument you react and tell your Ex what an idiot THEY are, and how everything is THEIR fault, then it has nothing to do with them. Your statements only reflect the kind of person you are, which is a person who likes to blame and judge. This has nothing to do with your Ex. Therefore, consciously make an effort to be the person you are, regardless of how your Ex is behaving. Make a list of all the qualities you admire in others, for example: kindness, confidence, compassion, and respect. Chances are you already possess the qualities within yourself. Be very careful not to make statements that don’t reflect who you are, even when you may be tempted to give into the hurt and anger you feel.
Release your judgments and opinions by becoming friends with Death. As morbid as this sounds, realize that in 100 years, you and your Ex will likely be dead, and nothing you ever fought about will be remembered. If your Ex has the obsessive need to be right and argue with you about everything, give in to their whim and say, “You are absolutely right.” Not only will this reinforce your relationship with Death and save you a tremendous amount of personal power, your Ex will find it impossible to argue with you because you are giving the non-verbal message that it really doesn’t matter. As one my favorite authors Wayne Dyer once said, “Have you ever noticed how hard it is to argue with someone who isn’t obsessed with being right?”
If the hurt and anger is overwhelming, distance yourself from your Ex completely. And no matter what, get on your knees and pray for your Ex every morning. Pray that your Ex will be granted all of the health, wealth and happiness you wish for yourself. Even if you are not a religious person, or you don’t believe in God, the act itself is liberating.
In twelve step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, they are taught to pray for people they have a deep resentment towards. At first, you will not mean a word of the prayer. But if you say the prayer consistently for two weeks, you will come to genuinely mean it, and find that there is a part of you that realizes your Ex is just a human being, with their own imperfections, weaknesses and short comings. If you go deeper, you will realize your Ex may also be a very hurt and scared person – even if they outwardly seem very hostile, aggressive and manipulative. Of course, no matter what happened to your Ex in their childhood or even in their day to day life – it does not give them a reason to mistreat you. But by being aware of the fact that your Ex has a certain set of issues to deal with on their own time, it will help you replace the hurt and anger you feel with compassion and understanding.
Own your personal power. Because when you are who you are, regardless of the situation or circumstance that comes your way, then this transforms you into a very powerful person. This is the step that absolutely baffles your Ex, because by you being who you are, and not letting them get you down – it sends your Ex the non-verbal message that you are who you are and they are who they are. But most importantly, it tells your Ex that you are not going to take any of their crap! When you respond to your Ex’s hostility with kindness, and your Ex’s blame with compassion, it frustrates them to no end, because your Ex cannot get you to play their game.
Come to understand that you are doing all of this work for no other reason than to realize who you are, restore your sense of balance, and reclaim your personal power. If you do all of this work in order to manipulate your Ex, and make them want you back, your Ex will subconsciously sense your intentions, because at one point or another, you will slip and let your intentions be known without realizing it. When this happens, you will give all of your power back to your Ex, and will have to start all over again with Step 1.
Step 6 is often tricky, because if you master each step up to this point, your Ex may very well want to reconcile. At the very least, your Ex will begin responding to the kindness you send their way in a positive fashion. But regardless if you want to get back together with your Ex, just be friends, or just get over the obsessive thinking – remember your sole purpose is to realize who you are, restore your sense of balance, and reclaim your personal power. If you do all of this work just to manipulate your Ex into responding the way you want them to, it may work for a very short period of time. But I guarantee your Ex will pick up on the fact that your intentions are not genuine, and you will lose your personal power. Not only that, but when you genuinely become who you are, you attract the right kind of people to your life. And maybe your Ex is not the person you are meant to be with! And the only way you will know if you are meant to be with your Ex or anyone else is if you are genuinely who you are.
Forgive your Ex, no matter what they did or didn’t do. Unfortunately, it may not be enough at this point to say, “I forgive my ex.” And leave it at that. Forgiveness has little to do with words, and more to do with action. Before proceeding with this step, I recommend reading up on the topic of forgiveness, and reading heroic stories about the power of forgiveness. I once read a story about a woman whose daughter was brutally raped and murdered by a man that was eventually caught and sent to prison. As anyone can imagine, the woman spent years of her life in rage and obsession over what this man had done to her daughter. I am sure there are no words to express how much pain this woman was feeling. However, she somehow stumbled on a book entitled, The Course of Miracles and began reading about what the power of forgiveness could do for her. She started to pray for the man, and eventually sent him a letter, letting him know she had forgiven him for the actions he took against her daughter, even though she didn’t condone his behavior. To make a long story short, the man wrote the woman back and apologized profusely. The woman felt compelled to see this young man in prison, and she held him as he cried during their first visit. To make a long story short, they became friends, and she became his number one advocate in attempts to release him from prison.
There are not a lot of people walking on the planet as courageous as this woman, but it is an extreme example of what is possible within each one of us. I thought about this woman before I reached out to my Ex with forgiveness in my heart. I sent a gift to my Ex and the woman my Ex left me for, which seemed to pale in comparison to this woman’s story. Of course, it took me a little over a year to reach that point, and a lot of soul searching. To this day, I love my Ex with all of my heart on a platonic level. We live in two totally different cities, but still call and send each other emails on occasion as good friends.
I am also in a healthy relationship with someone I am deeply in love with. Next week will be our two year anniversary. I do not think I would be as happy and as deeply in love with this new person as I am now, had I not let go of the anger, bitterness, and resentment I once felt towards my Ex, which is another reason why forgiveness is so important.
A lot of people believe turning off your feelings for a person you once were in a romantic relationship with, or even hating them is a way to show that they are “over” the person. But I believe the exact opposite is true. When you are completely “over” a person, you really wish them nothing but the best – and you are totally detached emotionally from how they act or react. Another point to consider is the fact that love isn’t real unless you loved your Ex for the person they are, not the person you wanted them to be. And just because the romantic relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t mean your Ex isn’t a lovable person.