A reader recently posed this question to me. I didn’t have to think before answering. No, certainly not. Our hurts with men start very early. Even in the healthiest of parent-child relationships we get hurt. The first time I got (mildly) hurt by a man was when I realized my dad wasn’t perfect. Realizing that he, too, made mistakes triggered my ‘hurt feelings’ feeling (to use Catherine’s expression). The first time one of my temper tantrums caused a fight between my parents, I was terribly hurt, too, and also felt terribly guilty.
All in all, my childhood was pretty normal. Imagine the hurts kids go through in environments in which parents are abusive or abandon them. No simple cleanse or cure can take away that pain. That kind of pain is too deeply embedded in the brain for any 28-day approach to work. To get over serious childhood hurts extensive therapy is needed. People sometimes write to me and ask what to do if they don’t have the money (or insurance) to go into professional therapy. In those cases, you should look for local support groups. Do your best to identify the way in which you were hurt as a child and look for a support group in your area. If possible, choose one with weekly meetings.
If you can’t find a local support group or any other free help, you may have to do a self-study. By that I mean do your best to identify your specific problem and find literature that addresses that specifically. If you were sexually abused, go to your local library and look for books that address that problem. Check the internet before you go. Ask the librarian for specific books. Most libraries that don’t have the books you ask for can get them from other libraries. The more informed you are about your specific problem, the better your chances of overcoming it.
So what about other past hurts? What about more recent hurts with men? The Breakup Cleanse is most effective for very recent breakups, breakups that cloud your mind and make you unable to function optimally in your daily life. The short version of the Cleanse does not provide any theory. It takes you through a series of exercises that are based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Some people prefer to know the theories behind the methods they use. If you are like that, you might not like the Breakup Cleanse. Others just want something that works and don’t care about the theories behind the methods. If you are in a situation like that right now, then the Breakup Cleanse may be for you.
The Breakup Cleanse takes you through distraction and exposure approaches to healing emotional pain. These approaches tell you to dine at you and your ex’s favorite restaurant, but without the company of your ex, in fact without any company. They tell your to re-model your house or apartment to take away the physical reminders. It tells you to write letters to your ex that you will never send. Working through the Cleanse is hard. It takes commitment. The Cleanse certainly is not for everyone.
If your breakup hangover is not recent, you can still follow the Cleanse. In fact, it may be easier for you to follow it, if your breakup isn’t in your recent past. But if your breakup is not in your recent past, the Cleanse may also be less effective. If you still feel a bit troubled by a breakup that happened 5 years ago but don’t feel a thing physically, many of the exercises of the Cleanse are not going to work. If, on the other hand, your wounds is still open and occasionally bleeding, the Cleanse might work wonders.