The Art of Relating

Christine Kniffen

Christine Kniffen, MSW, LCSW 

How To Heal A Broken Heart

As I have probably mentioned before, most who come to a counselor’s office do so in reaction to a troubled relationship or one that has just ended. “I want the pain to stop” is what most say upon entering my office. I often reply, “If I had that kind of power I would not need to be working anymore”. We live in an instant society. Drive up coffee, microwavable food, immediate answers on the internet, access to walk in doctors at Walgreens and so much more. So, it can be hard to accept the fact that a broken heart cannot be immediately relieved. After having gained much experience around this topic, both personally and professionally, I have found that three things need to be your focus to help speed your healing and recovery. You need to go full “no contact”, put the focus back on yourself and take steps to examine your relationship so you won’t go through this in the same way ever again. 

Going full “no contact” means just that. It is essential that you let yourself heal. I describe the heart as having an open wound that has just begin to scab over. Each time you talk to the person that broke your heart, it is as if you rip the scab off and then must begin the healing process all over again from square one. Clients say to me all the time, “we are broken up”, but then come to find out that they are talking or texting every other day. It’s no wonder they can’t begin to heal these emotional wounds. If you want the pain to stop then take the necessary steps to block the phone number on your cell phone and block their email. Most importantly, take a long break from Facebook. You don’t need to see what they are doing via another friend’s posts. 

Another key step in healing the heart is to make it all about you now. Pamper yourself by getting a massage, buying yourself something special, going to a new favorite restaurant or taking a weekend vacation with supportive friends. You can also do something positive that you have always wanted to do. Learn to practice meditation, sign up for a cooking/gardening class at the Missouri Botanical Garden, take up kick boxing or anything else you can do to begin to fill yourself back up and become whole again. 

Equally important, make sure that you are being kind to yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat well, exercise, don’t abuse yourself with booze and get out in the sunshine as much as possible. 

Lastly, put the dating apps down. Clients come to my office, plop down on the sofa and understandably exclaim, “I don’t want that to happen again”. I always tell them, that if they take the time to learn from their previous relationship, they will not go through this scenario again and will not experience the same excruciating level of pain. Every relationship is not supposed to be forever. They are NOT failures if we learn the valuable lesson that they provide us. Did you stay longer than you should because you suffer from thinking that “love is enough”, when it is not? If so, then you will leave earlier next time if needed and the subsequent pain will be lessened. Did you ignore some of the red flags, usually visible in hindsight, that you now can choose to see in future relationships? Do you have a good understanding of what you need to be happy, based often on what was missing in previous relationships, in order to be able to finally recognize the person who can give that to you? Clients come to me to help heal their broken hearts. However, through that process it is my job to help them identify their needs and gain the strength to insist upon them or leave if not being met. 

In short, time and active steps will help to heal your broken heart. The more you put into the process the faster the pain will subside. The best news perhaps is that you will never have to experience this level of heartbreak again. 

Christine Kniffen, LCSW is a Therapist and Relationship Coach. Call today 314-374-8396.