People complain about having difficulty getting a past “bad” relationship out of their mind. Even after a “clean break” where there are no shared obligations related to money, property or children, it is not easy. Seeing or thinking of an X partner bring about feelings of anger, frustration and feeling upset for most of the day.
Complaints often sounds like this:
“How can I get this “manipulative, deceitful, self-serving and money hungry” woman/man I dated off my mind? Everywhere I go she/he is either there or someone knows her/him… I don’t know why I keep feeling annoyed when she/he shows up… or when the thought of her/him shows up. I already can’t stand her/him and when this happens, I can’t stand her/him even more.”
The best eraser is called REFRAMING. Reframing is a skill that allows us to re-think a situation and view it differently. The facts about the past situation will never change, but what can change is how you view the situation, thus erasing the bad memory (so to speak). Putting a new frame around the situation is to change your view of it and see the past differently. By doing this, the old way of viewing the situation is erased and the “new way to frame it” takes its place.
Instead of feeling angry and agitated about a past relationship or experience, use it to your advantage.
Learn from it. After all that, YOU ARE THE EXPERT on “what not to do. Think about the following questions:
When in a relationship….
- What were your gut feelings about the relationship?
- What was your “first 2 month impression” of this person?
- What behaviors (good and bad) did you see over and over again?
- Did you pay more attention to what they SAID or DID?
- How do they treat others? (waitress, staff, store clerks, pets)
- What were the RED FLAGS? and
- What did your friends say about them?
As you answer the questions above, make a “Note-to-Self” and save the notes for next time. By reframing a negative experience into a valuable learning experience, you (in part) erase the bad and replace it with a positive lesson for the future. No one can change the past, but we can change the way we view it.