Healing The Broken Heart

Heartbreak is one of the most painful kinds of traumas. When we risk letting our hearts open, we also risk getting our hearts broken. The vulnerability of the open heart, the tenderness of attachment and heart connection, makes us especially raw when someone else betrays our connection or abandons the connection or otherwise leaves the heart frayed.

The tragedy of relational trauma in early childhood, usually with our caregivers, is that we’re then set up to repeat the heartbreak of childhood in adult relationships. If our caregivers were not safe to attach to, or if we had to earn approval as a cheap substitute for unconditional love because our parents saw us as a narcissistic extension of themselves, it’s very likely we’ll attract the very people most likely to break our hearts again- often in a similar way as our early caregivers did.

This is both good news and bad news. If we’re not in trauma therapy and/or couple’s therapy, by picking romantic partners who are likely to act out the core wounds from our childhood, we proceed to retraumatize the parts of us that weren’t adequately loved in childhood, adding insult to already injured parts. But if we seek out trauma therapy after a painful break up, or if we have a partner willing to go to couple’s therapy and work on their own trauma alongside us, we have the wonderful opportunity to heal in relationship. Trauma that happen in relationship are best healed with a healing or restoring relationship, one that might play out the original trauma but then heals and restores it the way we might never get the chance to do with our caregivers.

The challenge comes when heartbreak mounts, snowballing new heartbreak over unhealed raw wounds from the past. At some point, we might have a protector who rises up and says, “Never again. Never again am I going to make my heart vulnerable to being broken again.”

Which makes sense. Except that all of us, deep down, yearn for connection, belonging, intimacy, love. Even the monkest of monks and the nunnest of nuns are seeking connection and intimacy with the Divine.  Even severe trauma survivors who have sworn off human relationships or been forced into social isolation bond with an animal or God or, in the case of the Tom Hanks character in Castaway, a volleyball.

It makes sense that if you’ve been heartbroken enough, you might feel helpless to choose the right people to bond with. Since trauma can turn your discernment compass upside down and make you choose to trust untrustworthy people while distrusting those who might treat you well, it makes sense that you might distrust your “picker” and fear making an unsafe choice again.

But there is something you can do to improve your chances of healing your broken heart so you are more likely to attract the kind of person who might be safer to attach to. There are interventions you have the power to apply to yourself, to heal yourself, to prepare your heart to love again, so you don’t have to attract the wrong people or put yourself in harm’s way again.

These are the kinds of interventions we’ll be guiding you through in a weekend Zoom workshop I’ll be co-teaching with Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Rediger. The class is called PREPARE YOUR HEART TO LOVE AGAIN: An IFS-Informed Workshop About Healing The Broken Heart 

So You Can Safely Risk Loving More Openly.

This is not just about romantic relationships, although that’s a biggie. You might be wanting to prepare yourself to love a romantic partner, but you might also want to prepare your heart to love a parent who hurt you or a child you hurt or a best friend who can be your “person.”

It’s a workshop, especially for those who have had their hearts broken but want to get ready to try to either date again or rekindle love in a relationship that has stagnated or reconnect with family or friends that have been strained. You can join us if you’re single and wanting to optimize your mental health and receptivity to love before embarking upon a dating experiment. Or you can join us if you’re already dating but wanting to make sure you’re in the best possible heart-shape should one of those dates turn into the potential for a real, healing, transformational intimate partnership. Or you can join us if you’re already partnered, but your heart had deadened to your partner because of rifts between you. Or you can join us if you’re just wanting a crash course in heart-care so you can prepare to love your family and friends better.

Your current relational status doesn’t matter, because this workshop is really about YOU. Whether you’re single, dating, or partnered, preparing your heart to love again is about the relationship between you and your own broken-hearted parts. In this weekend workshop, we will be facilitating you through that inner healing journey- so the most important relationship you’ll ever have- the one between your wise divine Self and your wounded and protective parts- can get the healing you really need in order to be ready for a truly intimate healing relationship with someone else.

We hope this workshop will be fun. We know it will be heart-opening. And who knows? It might just be the medicine you need in order to be receptive for a truly nourishing, safely intimate connection with other beautiful humans.

Learn more and register for PREPARING YOUR HEART TO LOVE AGAIN here.