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A Broken Heart: Navigating a 'Break Up' With a Therapist

What does it mean to be human? Connection, relationships, how we interact with other people. The ever-changing landscape of living. Relationships come and go, sometimes easily, sometimes painful and heartbreaking.

Here is one I experienced not too long ago that was a heartbreaking one. This is someone who I relied on a whole lot — my therapist. I talk about all the different emotions I felt, and how I navigated this “break up.”

Connection is everything — with family, friends, lovers, even people we interact with at the grocery store. Connection helps us navigate life, it is a huge part of living! Please join me on this journey.

A Broken Heart

The connection to my therapist was so comforting
When I am with her — even when it’s online
When I’m in a crisis, she’s there — just a phone call away
It’s soothing hearing her voice, so calm, so quiet, so reassuring
Asking me what’s going on, listening intently
Hearing what I’m saying, understanding how I’m feeling
Asking me more questions, curious what emotions are present
Then reminding me of skills that I have already learned
But they have disappeared from my consciousness in that moment
Skills that will get me through this minute, this hour, this day, this week
Waiting until I see her again — which feels like an eternity
But wait — it’s only been a week!
How could that be? It feels like a month!

My therapist has been such a wonderful resource
Someone to rely on in moments of stress or crisis
Moments when I couldn’t figure out how to manage
These strong overwhelming emotions!
Moments when I feel that in this crisis I may break in two
Or give in to the Destroyer…

But now my therapist is gone
Not gone from existence, but gone from my life
I feel that emptiness, that hollow space
Where my love for her lived, deep within my heart
Now it is pain, hurt, grief, sadness
My heart is wounded, it hurts so bad
All that’s left is a hole, a chasm, a void…
What will I do to fill that emptiness?
The vacant space that is echoed by a broken heart?
A crack in my heart so deep it penetrates
It puts a jagged edge down the middle
… and slices my heart in two!

Then fear takes over
Fear of making that connection with someone else
Fear that I will be so connected to them
That if I would also lose them
I would experience this broken heart once again!
This fear creates a shield made of armor
Strong enough that I wouldn’t feel the pain
When I lose connection to that next person
But deep within, my Heart feels sad and lonely
To think that I couldn’t allow my heart to be that close to anyone
That I couldn’t have that kind of relationship
That it will never happen again

My Self asks that shield — how can we work together?
To protect my tender heart, and let people in
To treasure that relationship when it happens
Then for my heart to not break when that connection ends?
Can we transform that shield into something different?
Something that will protect my heart
Yet will still allow connection, relationship, caring, even love?
That shield is willing to soften just a little
My heart asks – “maybe just a little bit more?”
The shield tries again…
My heart says “not a warrior’s shield, but a lighter shield
So it can shift, it can soften…
Is it possible, so connection can happen?”

Making that protection a soft covering
That is flexible and yielding and resilient enough
To let the connection through
A thin coating of my strength, my trust, my openness
To make that all-important connection to others
But strong enough, tough enough
To not cave in when hurt or rejection comes in
It can make any attacks from others bounce off
It will protect my heart from the unbearable pain
Do I have the courage to hold this space for my heart?
To connect, to love, to be open to what life has to offer?
I have Strength to stand on my own
Courage, Resilience and Trust in this Process
Perseverance to resist the Destroyer part who wants to end me

I want this to happen
Because humans come alive through connection
Through relationship, through love
I’m tired of just existing
I want to live!
To be present in the moment, to be connected with others
To have relationships that count
With my husband, my family, my children, my grandchildren
With my friends far and wide
It’s amazing how many people I have connected with around the world
Many in the U.S. and Canada
But also in the U.K., Europe, Australia
Recently I have wondered… this is an absurd thought…
Do people on Zoom actually have legs??
How silly! I know they do… of course!

I am human, you are human, we are all human
As humans we connect through relationship
Why did I not realize this until the last few months?
Was I that oblivious to the world around me?
Was I so oblivious that I was just “going through the motions”
Of existence, of Life itself
But not actually living?
John Denver puts it so succinctly:

“I want to live I want to grow
I want to see I want to know
I want to share what I can give
I want to be I want to live” *

I echo what John says here:
“I want to live”!

* I Want To Live, by John Denver, 1977

If you too are on a trauma healing journey, visit The Tie Dye poet’s website to see more of her work, and check out her book here.

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