If you can’t let go of the past, here are a few ideas on how to stop feeling hurt and stuck in the past. These tips are inspired by a reader who can’t let go of her husband.
In Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, Francine Shapiro – the creator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) – explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don’t serve us.
Here’s part of my reader’s comment: “Although I keep reminding myself of all the hurt he has caused us, I think I cannot let go of the person he was before the affair began. I can’t stop mourning the dreams he killed. We are going to have to lose the house we built, where my daughter grew up. People tell me I am better off without him and the hurt and control. What I thought was helping me was controlling me. So my questions for you are many – do you think it is going to work long term and how can I stop the thoughts of him creeping back in my head?”
To read the rest of her story, go to 6 Ways to Stop Obsessing. And here’s what I would tell her if she were right here in front of me…
How to Stop Feeling Hurt and Stuck in the Past
Different things work for different folks – but give these tips a chance…
Be painfully honest with yourself
I can’t say if your relationship is going to work long-term! I suspect not, because you said you’ve been struggling with your marriage for a long time. Seventeen years? If your husband isn’t willing to change – if he insists he’s right and you’re wrong – then no, your marriage won’t work.
However, if you are willing to live with him as he is right now, then yes! Your marriage will work ON HIS TERMS. Are you willing to live like that? I think you need to accept what people are telling you: you are better off without him. You need to accept that you lost your house, and you’re starting over from the ground up. Learn how to get over the breakup before you find yourself stuck in the past.
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Stop believing your fantasy
To stop feeling hurt and stuck in the past, read I Need Your Love – Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation by Byron Katie. It is NOT true that you need his love. The truth is that you CAN stop feeling hurt and stuck in the past.
You do NOT need your husband. You are drowning in self-pity, unrealistic hope, and self-delusion. You take action towards moving on (hiring a lawyer, seeing a counselor – good for you!) but you’re letting your thoughts keep you stuck in a fantasy you wish was true. The truth is, you are hurting yourself by not controlling your thoughts. If you believe what you think (eg, that he’ll stay in your head no matter what, that maybe he’ll change), then you’ll never move forward.
I know it’s difficult because you don’t want to face the loss. It hurts so much! But if you want to heal, you have to face your loss. You have to move forward into a new life. Here are more tips to stop feeling hurt and stuck in the past.
Practice letting go
The reason my article about letting go of someone you love has been in my Top 10 since the day I wrote it is because we struggle to accept loss. We fight reality, and rail against the truth. We refuse to accept what is right in front of us, and it makes us miserable.
I hated having to let go of my sister, but I did. I had to let go of my grandma too, and my auntie. I’ve loved and lost boyfriends (but losing my family members was far worse).
Life is loss and pain. It’s also full of incredible riches, people, and experiences! What do you want to focus on? It’s up to you. You decide. It’s not as easy as “choosing to be happy” – but you can choose a life that enables more peace and joy than pain and sorrow.
If you tend to obsess and over-analyze the past, read How to Stop Overthinking a Relationship.
What do you think about these tips on how to stop feeling hurt and stuck in the past? I welcome your thoughts below, but I can’t offer personal advice. Writing can help you gain clarity and insight.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.
I can turn you towards God, however…because He is the source of all peace, freedom, and love.