How to heal a broken heart.

il_570xN.433732644_hlyp (1)I wasn’t going to write about affairs of the heart in this post but the recurring theme in many of my messages this week concerns broken hearts. Anyone who has gone through or is going through the trauma of a broken heart knows that the pain can be unlike any other. It can feel like the agony is never going to end. So how do you heal a broken heart?

We will all experience the end of a special relationship at some point in our lives, whether it’s by death, divorce or other break-up. But you can also have your heart broken by someone who you are currently connected to or want to be with. Whatever the circumstances, the fact that the love you need is missing from your life can keep you trapped in anguish. No matter how you try to hide your hurt from the outside world, you carry your broken heart within you, where ever you go.

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” Hippocrates

Whether it’s emotional or physical injury, time can be a great healer. However when it comes to a broken heart, the passing of days can dull the ache a little, but time itself cannot restore you to happiness.

In fact no-one and nothing can mend the wound for you, it is something you have to do for yourself. Good friends can listen and comfort, family can empathise and nurture you. But no-one can heal your heart. How could they? How can they ever reach the depths of your frustration, your fears, your loneliness, your despair?

“All healing is first a healing of the heart.” – Carl Townsend

It’s only when you believe you can heal and you want to move on that the true recovery can begin. Initially you may try to manage the damage with things that gratify you.  Food, alcohol, drugs, sex, work  all can help fill the void, numb the pain, and distract you. Yet temporary respite fades and the reality of your raw and vulnerable soul reappears.

When my mother abandoned me as a child it felt like she had taken a piece of my heart with her. Then my father ripped the rest to shreds through his abuse. By the time I reached adulthood I all had were fragments that I sought to protect in the hope that one day someone would love me enough to help me rebuild my brokenness. And along came my first love.

Who doesn’t remember their first love? The passion, intensity and promise of that relationship is what made it so special. But for me it was the fact that someone actually loved me that made me want to hold on to it forever. Of course, it didn’t and when the painful ending arrived it was excruciating.

The loss of my first love reinforced the rejection and worthlessness that I had experienced all my life. It reminded me of the words that had been spoken over me as a child that I was unwanted and unlovable. It made me believe that I would always be discarded and alone. So I put a barrier around the fractured remains of my heart and vowed never to let anyone hurt me ever again.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

When you reach those dark depths of despair that a broken heart brings, it can feel safer to barricade yourself against the world and hide your true feelings, rather than allow yourself to heal. But heal you must because the alternative is to spend the rest of your life trapped in a mental cocoon of distrust and anger, loneliness and grief.

Emotional restoration takes time and courage. And it demands that you use the very entity that wounded you to heal you – love. It starts with giving yourself permission to love yourself unconditionally and in doing so finding forgiveness for yourself and others.

In the beginning I found this almost impossible to even contemplate. The fear of being hurt again was almost overwhelming, but I took my fragile heart and trusted in a faith that healed through unconditional love. It was a process of tears and time, but eventually the wounds were less tender and the sorrow  less severe.

Once the scars formed I was able to move onto what was for me the hardest part – letting go. You have to be able to release yourself from  whoever caused you so much suffering. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting the love you had or dishonouring the memory of a special individual. It does mean accepting that the past is over and can’t be changed.

il_570xN.433008725_hwpuThrough faith I was able trust in the knowledge that season of my life had come to an end and a new beginning awaited. Through love I was able to celebrate my self-worth and reach out to others.

All this and more came from a courage to heal. The courage to heal a broken-heart.

Images thanks to the fabulous talent of Kathleen Tennant at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KathleenTennant

Dear Dad…

waterDear Dad

I rarely think of you. You see once I’d forgiven you there was nothing left to think about. Occasionally though your presence from the past surfaces. And when it does  I wish I could look you in the eye and say ‘Have you any idea what you did to me?’

I’ll tell you. You stole my childhood. You destroyed my self-esteem. You crushed my spirit.

There’s more. You made me feel insignificant and worthless. You made me feel unloved. You made me believe I would never deserve anything because I was never good enough.

Even when I grew up and moved from country to country, you pursued me. Not out of love but out of a need to control. You didn’t have to be with me in person, because you always found a way to make sure that I knew you were still there.

You needn’t have bothered to hire that stalker, send the hate mail, make the threatening phone calls to my work colleagues, terrify my friends. Because your voice of abuse never left me anyway. It was there day and night.

For a long time, you won Dad. You won your crazy game.

You kept on winning even after you died. I didn’t expect that. Somehow I thought that your death would terminate my living hell and I would be free to get on with my life.  But I was so used to living in fear that it had become my normality. The damage had been done. With or without you I was a complete mess physically and emotionally.

“I stopped loving my father a long time ago. What remained was the slavery to a pattern.”  ~ Anais Nin


Actually I felt quite cheated that you died suddenly. You see I remember how much you hated alcohol, and I remember you telling me as a teenager that you would prefer I get pregnant rather than drunk. So you never knew that alcohol became my ‘hurt healer.’ It numbed me from the pain and helped me to manage your manipulation.

For a while it felt like I was winning. I was getting my own back and you didn’t even know it. But the self-medication slowly grew into addiction. So while other fathers leave their daughters a legacy of inspiration and love, I was left with alcoholism and depression.

But that was many years ago and this is now. Without you to sabotage my every move I have been able to reclaim my life and rediscover my identity. I fought my way back into the game and this time I am winning.

It’s true that sometimes when I face an emotional challenge, especially where there is a man involved, I think of you. It’s the moment when  the insecurities and the self-doubt return and I sense your spirit whisper ‘Told you so.’

Today though, I am able to recognise your words the lies that they are and can send them back to where they belong. Out of my mind. Out of my life.

I wish you had been kinder Dad. I wish you had been there to protect me. I wish you had been there to encourage me. Imagine how different my life could have been if I’d had a hero for a Dad instead of an abuser.

Too late now. For you. Not for me. Because I’m still here.

And if you could see me now I think even you would be proud of me. But if you weren’t that would be okay. Because I’m of proud myself.

I found out that I was good enough. I always was.

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From your daughter                               ~ The Hurt Healer

Image thanks to Nicholas_Gent