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  • Writer's pictureCameron Dickson

Breakup: Notice the break

A breakup is the ending of something. A little or big death of something that existed between two people. Depending on the breakup and what happened in the relationship, it can affect us in many possible ways.

Breakup, divorce, relationships, cheated on, grief, loss, dumped, newly single, counselling, grief counselling, relationship breakup,  dating

Today I was drawn to notice the word "break" in breakup and looked it up in the Cambridge Dictionary. The definition left me with a lot of metaphors and imagery to reflect on when I considered its use to name the end of a romantic relationship.

Thinking of breakups you have had or witnessed, what images or feelings are brought to mind as you reflect on these definitions?



break verb (DAMAGE)

to (cause something to) separate suddenly or violently into two or more pieces, or to (cause something to) stop working by being damaged:

The dish fell to the floor and broke. Charles is always breaking things. She fell and broke her arm. I dropped the vase and it broke into pieces. I think I've broken your phone. I picked it up and the handle broke off. We heard the sound of breaking glass.

break verb (END)

to destroy or end something, or to come to an end:

Eventually someone spoke, breaking the silence. She laughed and that broke the tension.The enemy were unable to break the code. Outside workers were brought in in an attempt to break the strike.

break verb (NOT OBEY)

to fail to keep a law, rule, or promise:

He didn't know he was breaking the law. She broke her promise/word to me.

break verb (DIVIDE)

to (cause something to) divide into two or more parts or groups:

These enzymes break down food in the stomach. I asked her to break her expenses down into food, travel and personal costs.

break verb (INTERRUPT)

to interrupt or to stop something for a short period:

We usually break for lunch at 12.30. I needed something to break the monotony of my typing job. The phone rang, breaking my concentration. They decided to break their journey in Singapore.

break verb (USE FORCE)

to go somewhere or do something by force:

He threatened to break the door down. The horse tried to break free from its stable. In the storm the boat broke loose from its moorings. The thieves broke the safe open and stole the diamonds. The police broke up the fight. She broke his grip and ran away.

break verb (EMOTION)

to lose your confidence, determination, or ability to control yourself, or to make someone do this:

He thought she would break under the strain. They tried to break his will but he resisted.

break verb (BECOME KNOWN)

to become known or to make something become known:

When the scandal broke, the CEO resigned immediately. It was the local newspaper that first broke the story.

break verb (WAVES)

(of waves) to reach and move over the beach, hit a cliff or wall, etc.:

A huge wave broke on/against the shore/over the boat.

break verb (WEATHER)

(of the weather) to change suddenly and usually become worse:

The forecast is for the hot weather to break today.

break verb (STORM)

(of a storm) to start suddenly:

We arrived just as a storm was breaking.

break verb (DAY)

dawn/day breaks

When dawn or day breaks, the sun starts to appear in the sky early in the morning:

Dawn broke over the city.


Did any of these conjure up something for you?

The end of an important relationship is often a very impacting and even traumatic event in your life, regardless of who ended it and why. There are of course ways it can worse than others, but even a "good break up" is an event. Humans experience grief and loss at a profound level when an important relationship is lost, as if someone had died in many ways.

In fact something did die. The relationship. The future you hoped for. The person you thought your partner was. There are many other possible expectations or hopes that may have died.

It can often leave you shaken, confused and hurt. We turn to our friends and loved ones in these times for much needed support. However, sometimes we are afraid to wear them out with our story. They are also often very connected to the situation. This helps them understand and support us, but it means they are often in the tangle of grief with us too, to a greater or lesser extent.

Sometimes you may find yourself a long way from your support due to geography or other circumstances.

Talking to a counsellor to process the impact of the relationship and its loss, gives you a supportive but neutral space in which you can journey through the grief safely. It can be a place for you to decide if you are out of line or OK, and if you want to do something about it, without worrying about getting judged if you say your worst fear out loud. You also don't have to hold it together for your counsellor. It's a place of freedom and support and just straight out venting without consequences to any other relationship in your life.

I would be really happy to support you.

Find out more about how I could help you in counselling.

If you would like to work with me, make an appointment today. I work out of Cartography Counselling in Tai Tapu near Christchurch, or by Skype.

Breakup, divorce, relationships, cheated on, grief, loss, dumped, newly single, counselling, grief counselling, relationship breakup, dating


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