August 1, 2003, Newsletter Issue #80: Controlling Emotions

Tip of the Week

It is extremely important to realize that you are allowed to mourn a broken relationship. In fact, it is a type of death that needs to be respected and mourned. But how to you control the overwhelming emotional fallout?

1. Seek counsel. This can be from family or friends. Ask their advice, allow them to be a sounding board for your emotional outbreaks. However, one must be careful not to saturate these contacts with negative energy. Eventually, you must come to emotional grips as to what has happened and move on. If you feel that you have dropped deeper into a depression, seek professional help.

2. Vent by yourself. Take time when you are alone to vent pent up emotions. Yell, scream, stomp your feet. Allow that release to drain your emotions away. Buy some cheap plates and break them. Writing down all your anger and pain can be very cathartic and can help not only to start the healing process, but allow you to systematically look at what emotions are controlling you.

3. Regain control. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to some, it is your thoughts that control your emotions, not the other way around. If you are thinking depressing thoughts, you will feel depressed. Surrounding yourself with the things that you love and actively screening your thoughts will lead to more positive emotions. Remember what was said in #1 above--if you continually think negative thoughts about yourself, you will continue to feel depressed and angry--over time, that will drive other people away from you.

4. Take some time. Never rush into another relationship if the last one has devastated you. This is a time for personal reflection. Analyze your thoughts and behavior over the past 6 months or so. In almost all cases, you will find that you somehow knew the end was coming for that relationship. We have the tendency to push away from those things we find painful, so you may have never recognized it at the time. But now, you can reflect (in a non-criticizing way) on what led to the breakup and how much your own actions were responsible.

5. Take responsibility. We all want to blame someone else for our pain. "It was my partner’s fault that we are no longer together" is something you may be telling yourself. The truth is that both parties always have some blame. Don Henley from the Eagles puts it best when he sings "There are three sides to every story...There’s Yours, There’s Mine and the Cold Hard Truth." Take ownership and responsibility for your part in the relationship. This is key if you wish to grow as a person and be more aware of "red flags" when you are ready to pursue a new relationship.

6. Get out there. After a period of mourning and self-reflection (this varies from person to person and the length and depth of the relationship that ended), get back into a routine that includes the outside world. Go to movies, see your friends and family, go out on a couple of dates. Get your feet wet again. Face the world with a new strategy of controlling thoughts and emotions.

7. Love yourself. The only person that can truly make you happy is you. No one else has the capacity or ability to make you whole. Relying on another person to fulfill that role is not only unfair to that person, but will ultimately fail you. Build your self-esteem and realize that even if the next relationship doesn’t work out--you will still be OK.

We hope you all have a great week. If you have any comments on this week’s tip letter, please visit us at and let us know.

Happy Relationships and Good Love!

Deb and Jay
Relationship Gurus at

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