Dr. Love-13. 5 years ago I fell in love with a girl. After 6 months, she ended the relationship abruptly. I spent a month begging and pleading to try and get her back. I spent the next 3 months in the worst state of depression I’ve ever felt.Since that break-up 13 years ago, there have been a couple times where she has come back to my mind and in both cases the result was a depression that lasted a couple days to a week.Recently, the 3rd such instance has occurred and has left me in a state of depression for over a week much more intense than the past 2 and similar to the 3-month depression that followed the break- up.I have turned away from my friends, lost weight, started drinking, become self-destructive, and (while not ‘suicidal’) have often wished that God would just ‘end this’. The pain is exceeding my ability to cope. . . and the problem is increased as I feel guilty that I still think of her or that the life God has given me is somehow not enough to satisfy me.I am agitated, irritable, and distracted. My faith has given way to anger as I am unable to understand why God is punishing me. I find my self taunting Him to end this. . . to do what I can’t. All of this over a girl from 13 years ago. . . who I knew for all of 6 months, only 1-2 of which we were together.I feel pathetic even asking the question.
I’m so sorry to hear the heartache you are suffering!I understand that you wish your life were over so that the pain will finally end. Let me help you understand why I think you’re suffering so much. You are experiencing what we call ‘abandonment despair.’I am quite sure that this woman has awakened an earlier wound in you from the time when you were very young. Many people have grown up with mothers who were emotionally abandoning. The typical time for us to experience this type of abandonment is when we were around 2 years old.The way it goes is this: The little kid who has been to this point very bonded to his mommy starts to foray away. He’s now able to walk and can go off and play by himself.At this point, the mother, who has abandonment issues of her own, becomes hurt that her child is leaving her. She then becomes angry and punishes her child so that when he comes back to her for love and comfort (what we shrinks call ‘refueling’) she turns away from him and abandons him right back.If I’m correct and you suffered this kind of experience in childhood, this would lead you as an adult to choose a girlfriend who would abandon you. You would choose such a woman because: 1) This is a familiar experience for you; and 2) Because you are hoping to replay the trauma and experience a happy ending–meaning this time you won’t be abandoned.I believe this is why you took such a nose dive when the girl abandoned you 13 years ago. Instead of achieving your happy ending or healing of the old wound, you just got reinjured again.This is why each time you think of the loss of this girl, the early wound opens up again and you fall into abandonment despair once again. Now that you understand what is happening to you, you need to know how to heal this wound.Since you were abandoned in a relationship, you need a relationship to heal. That’s where therapy comes in. A loving relationship with a therapist who understands you will gradually heal the wound. In time, you will be able to continue the process of reparenting yourself. As the wound heals, your depression will fade.Then you will be ready for another relationship, this time with a woman who isn’t an abandoner. If you would like me to help you heal this wound, please feel free to contact me in my private consulting division.