So I have a confession, of sorts, well… not really, because I already wrote about this over the years. But let me make it more pointed today. In the past I made it a habit of quickly rebounding from one old relationship into a new one. I convinced myself that the old guy was no longer relevant and it was time to move on.

The reality was and is, I didn’t want to face and deal with the pain of the loss. The rebound was a bandaid, a quick fix, to convince myself and others that I was good, and “I’m over that dude!”.

Those were all lies—in reference to several of the men I had relationships with over the past 25+ years. I don’t count the guys I went on a few dates with or we didn’t last past three months. I truly was over those dudes. But for the real ones, the ones that touched my heart and I cried when we broke up, it’s different but I lied and said it wasn’t. I didn’t want to keep dealing with the pain and shame.

How can I honestly say I’m over a person weeks or months after breaking up, when we were together for months and years longer than the period of time from break-up to rebound? Listening to your friends try to convince you to come party with them, or meet some new man/woman they think you will like, is not what you need fresh out of a relationship. That mindset of “get a new one to get over the old one” is a setup, a trick.

You have to untangle that web. Things have to be realigned and rewired in your mind and heart before you decide to let a new person come take a tour. They have no clue it’s a house of horrors up in there.

I’m sharing this today because I keep seeing folks rebounding left and right, but never healing. It bothers me to see it. It hits close to home because I know how they feel. It’s easy to rebound. Doesn’t take practice or skill. Just leap.

I started rebounding in high school. It never dawned on me that I shouldn’t have hopscotched into a new relationship weeks or months after breaking up with one of my high school loves. It was so casual for me because I wasn’t having sex so I didn’t see it as a big deal. Just because you’re not having sex doesn’t mean you still aren’t intimately intertwined.

A rebound is a rebound.

That rebound playbook is filled with disaster after disaster. No championships there. Just a trail of broken hearts or a bunch of bruises on yours. And it’s double the pain when you were both rebounding from previous relationships. Two damaged people can’t heal each other. You’re both taking turns putting bandaids on each other to cover the gaping wounds.

Let’s not even go there with the flow-over of one or both of you cheating on your partners and then you end up together. Your relationship is built on lies. Let me stop. That’s for another post.

Here’s a test to see if you’re truly over someone:

  • Do you find yourself mentioning them frequently in conversation with others? Or asking about them to certain people who still associate with your ex?
  • Do other people tell you that you mention that person a lot?
  • Are you still checking their social media and blog posts, and it causes you great discomfort seeing them “go on with their lives”?
  • Do you drive by their home and see if you can see them? 👀
  • Are you intentionally posting pictures and messages on social media aimed at getting a reaction from your ex? Or in hopes that someone will say something to them about your post?
  • Do you explode in rage when their name is mentioned, or does it evolve after a few moments of speaking about them?
  • Can you speak of that person with love in your heart, like that Mother Teresa kinda love? Or do you find yourself still pining for them, wishing they would call or drop by saying they made a mistake?
  • Are you still willing to have sex with them?

Ummm…If you’re down for the booty call then you aren’t over them, you’re just willing to accept whatever scraps you can get. Please know that you deserve better.

If when you think or speak about the person there’s so much venom brewing up inside of you that you could punch someone, you aren’t over them. Matter of fact, it’s the exact opposite, a part of you is consumed by them. You need an exorcism!

You should be able to casually mention an ex without it either appearing that you’re about to Linda Blair the place, or text or call them later hoping to re-engage. Too much talk of them in any of your conversations, with anyone, is a red flag. You aren’t over them. You still haven’t let go and let that chapter close.

Now when it comes to snooping on their social, you have too much time on your hand if you can social media stalk them. I get it, you may have shared connections so occasionally one of their posts may pop on your feed, but if you go from looking at one post and moments later you’re 10-plus posts in, you have gone too far. If you scrolled and found yourself gawking over posts from months ago or as far back as when the two of you were together, my friend you need an intervention. You also need to find a hobby or two!

That leads me to driving by their home. Please stop it. You’re taking creepy and desperate to another level. It doesn’t even matter if you used to live there, you don’t live there now. What do you gain from driving by and maybe seeing them alone, or with their new boo? Most likely you will do something immature and make yourself look silly. If you’re in your twenties this may be a struggle, but get it together. Everyone older than age 29 needs to stop it, and stop it now. You need cleansing, healing, and Jesus.

Some people want to hide behind the excuse of, “Well I broke up with them, so clearly I was done!” First, my response is, “Then why are you obsessed with them?” Second, it didn’t matter if I broke up with the guy or if they broke up with me, and it didn’t matter the reason for the break-up. It’s broken. It’s about how I live my life after the breakup. It’s about how I regard them after the break-up. Time is a precious asset that we cannot reclaim or recycle. How will you invest it?

Oh yeah, and let’s be clear, those of you still dwelling on the cheating partner that you broke up with—they actually broke up with you long before you did, it was just easier to keep you around until one of their “plans” worked in their favor. You made it easy for them by walking away, so get off of that horse and deal with your mess. Heal so that the right person will be perfectly aligned with you in the right ways, at the right time.

Here’s the truth—we shared great times and not-so-great times with our exes, and our souls were intertwined for a period of time. There was intimacy, dreams, goals, and plans. Your families may even be linked through this union. Time and energy were invested in each other, and in this relationship. Then suddenly, it’s over.

Okay, for some of you it was a long lead-up to that death, but once it was done it felt like you were now in a parallel world. While everyone else is living their lives, yours begins to spiral out of control, as your norm is no longer. Even if you argued every day with this person, now you’re not. Whatever your daily routine used to be is no more. You’re not cooking for two, doing laundry for two, planning for two, dreaming of two. Nope. Now it’s just you and that puffy face, snotty nose, red-eyed person staring back at you in the mirror.

The first stage of grief kicks in and you have a choice to accept it and triumphantly push through each stage, or cowardly jump off, and find a pacifier to coddle you. That pacifier is either in the form of partying with your friends (so you can consume as much of your day without being alone), getting stupid drunk (which you already know how that ends each time), or finding another source of body heat to connect with. All three options suck!

Yes, we shouldn’t isolate and turn into a hermit. At the same time, we do need alone time to be with our thoughts, our selves, our fears and issues. No one can fix us. We have to fix ourselves. We have to deal with us before we send some idiot representative to act on our behalf. Let’s keep it real, your friends don’t like that person. They like and prefer YOU, and when you get your life together or start destroying those friendships, they will tell you exactly that!

Some people don’t take the time they TRULY need after a break up to reflect and learn, heal and forgive themselves, release the stranglehold of shame, and ensure that they won’t be dragging baggage from the past into their future. If the issues that broke up your relationship aren’t resolved in your heart and mind, to the point that you can trust and love yourself and trust and love others, then you won’t. You can’t give what you don’t have.

But all of that requires work, and it’s a painful process that many try desperately to avoid.

That’s why we quickly rebound and hop into a fresh relationship where we can play make believe, pretend that we have a fresh slate, pretend that this new person is perfect and flawless, and pretend that we’re healed and whole. You can go on and on about how this new person is nothing like the ex, and how they just “get me”, and how easy it is with them, and blah blah blah…roses never stink thanks to this person, the world is brand new because you have a new love in your life, and “They bake their chicken while my ex roasted it…baked tastes better”. It didn’t matter how much your ex tried to motivate you to eat better and exercise more, now in your new relationship you’re bragging about how this new person has “Helped me get healthier” 🙄😒

And sadly, the suckups and yes people in your life just amen you and your glee, badmouth your ex they were just hanging with, and lie and tell your new love, “I’ve never seen him/her so happy,” knowing they’ve used this tired, recycled line far too many times. Or they’re newly minted friends so they haven’t known all of the other exes from years past. I always smile and nod when I hear this, because I know the truth—we haven’t been hit with life’s storms yet to truly test happiness and joy. I almost burst out laughing when I hear it from someone who never knew the ex, only heard the hearsay after. So you never witnessed an entire relationship, the last one this person was in, and you’re trying to prop me up to believe that my presence and love has overshadowed the ex. Mmkay…tsk tsk…But I exhale and allow everyone to play their parts, and say their lines.

Whatever the scenario, you’re floating on air for weeks or months, until there’s a crack in the facade. Until the past and present have a catastrophic collision 💥

That first real argument is bananas. I’m not talking about the trivial little disagreement. Nope, I’m talking about the rabbit hole of doom that you and this person have ran into like two maniacs. It doesn’t take long for you to slip up and call them your ex’s name.

It doesn’t take long for you to start negatively comparing them to your ex or exes. Yeah, you’re going through the laundry list of offenses that past loves did that resemble what your new love has done (or that you have accused them of doing). Oh yeah, you’re cutting and slashing them to the quick. You have a bloodthirst. You’re going for total annihilation.

That’s because you’re still not healed and over your past. You’re carrying that dead weight around like it’s a championship belt or Flavor Flav’s clock necklace. Visualize his big clock hanging from his neck. Let me help you out…

For you, in your life, this clock represents the past, the time you dwell on, the time that you swear you lost being in that old relationship. Sadly, it also represents the time that you waste dwelling on all of it. If you had invested the time to heal from it, it wouldn’t be dead weight holding you down and keeping you from truly moving forward—in a healthy way. Nope. Instead it would be a joyful reminder to not waste a moment, embrace it, and live fully. But instead you have now gone berserk on the same person who moments ago you swore could do no wrong.

It’s not fair to the new person and it’s not a healthy situation for either of you. It’s a setup for another explosive end. It’s a setup for both of you to be hurt repeatedly. You are a ticking time bomb waiting to be detonated, and this other person is clueless—or if they know, then they are ignorant enough to stand near by to take a direct hit.

Rebounds are only good in sports and in leadership examples, where we bounce back from falling on our face—and in those instances, you’re still expected to reflect on the learned lesson. Rebounds are never healthy in the romance sphere. You’re playing a game and it’s the one that can lead to dire consequences. Relationship rebounds are bandaids. They aren’t cures. You’re just masking the infection underneath. At some point, that nasty bandaid is gonna fall off and expose you.

Clean your wounds, properly bandage things, learn yourself, date yourself, go through the painful healing process. Believe me, it’s less painful than being in a constant cycle of toxic relationships—especially when YOU are the common denominator in those relationships!

If you’re currently in a relationship with a person you rebounded with, you need to work on your self-healing without their involvement. They are not your savior or pacifier. Dig the gunk out of your mind and heart, deal with your issues, be honest with them, admit that you’re still hurting and stress to them that it is not for them to solve, fix, mend, or repair. If they want to walk beside you, thank them but establish clear boundaries. Yes, they should hold you accountable when you blur those lines of past and present, but emotionally and verbally beating you up for not recovering as fast as they like is not acceptable. They should not set the expectations and parameters for your healing. If you can’t do it then you have no business being in a new relationship.

Take your time with them. Don’t rush things. Don’t let them rush you. Savor those moments. Identify truth from fantasy. Find your foundation and be grounded. Be uncomfortable in the unknown, the uncharted. If they can’t handle this truth, if they can’t deal with your slower pace, then give them the option to take a cleansing break for a few months, or lovingly go your separate ways. It’s not punishment. It’s not leverage. It’s about love, healing, growth, maturity, and wisdom. You can’t fully and honestly love them if you’re not positively loving yourself.

I truly hope these words help someone. I know it would’ve saved me years of grief and conflict, relationship after relationship. I would’ve learned to let go of people who couldn’t let go of their exes. I would’ve learned to not enter a relationship when I wasn’t healed from the last one. I would’ve been mature enough to take those cleansing breaks to assess things in a loving way.

We owe it to ourselves and others to do no harm. When we willfully enter a relationship knowing we are damaged, frayed, on edge, and can easily cut and be cut —we are intentionally causing and inviting harm.

It’s time to heal!

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

While reading the book “Overcoming Hurts & Anger: Finding Freedom From Negative Emotions” by Dwight Carlson, MD, I ran across the following data that made my jaw drop

Many of us are walking around as ticking time bombs just waiting for someone to trigger our explosion.

If you were raised in a conservative, highly religious household, you’re probably suppressing a lot of anger as many conservative individuals believe that outward display of anger is not acceptable. This is true of the Christian faith where “turning the other cheek” is more of a rule than slight suggestion.

As Dr. Carlson pointed out, the numerous studies conducted showing incarcerated murderers who never had run-ins with the law before, yet somehow they “snapped”, killed someone (usually a family member), and ended up in prison.

We keep throwing around the phrase “mental health issues” as they relate to shooting incidents. But let’s really look at it.

Anger is mental and anger impacts our health. Our inability to properly manage our anger impacts our mental and physical health. Look at the laundry list of medical issues associated with anger:

Do you see one or more of your issues on this list?

I do. I found at least 10 issues on this list that I never had a “cause” for. In 2015 alone I visited more than 6 doctors because of pain that shot down my lower back through my hips, all the way to my feet. It felt like fire it was so intense. I would cry out in pain. A rheumatologist suggested that I just take anti-inflammatory pills for the rest of my life, knowing the detrimental impact it would have on my liver and kidneys. I opted against it.

Doctors could never answer why these various issues were happening to me. Now I know. It’s my anger boiling outward and attacking my body and brain. It would explain why when I opted to steer away from western medicine and turned towards eastern medicine and the use of acupuncture, I started noticing a difference. When I coupled it with counseling sessions and a change in diet, I felt totally different. I was redirecting and managing the negative energy.

I’m currently under a great deal of stress and have been experiencing dermatological conditions to my face and hands, and hives on my face. With the stress is depression. Stress is the code word for “anger”. It sounds better and safer to say “I’m stressed” than to say “I’m angry” or “I’m pissed the heck off”.

How often do you hear people saying “I’m stressed”? When was the last time you said it?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Dr. Carlson made a valid point that the vast majority of times our anger issues are overlooked because doctors are treating the overtly obvious symptoms (what you initially came in complaining about) but not looking for the underlying and much more menacing cause—anger.

I was shocked when I saw cancer on the list.

Oftentimes we dissect and analyze how a person eats or any environmental factors (air quality, chemicals, pollutants, etc) that could have caused the cancer. What if the foundation is suppressed anger that is triggered by diet and/or environment? Or vice versa.

The two known cancers are of the large colon and of the breasts. Think about it. The largest percentage of patients with these types of cancer are women, the reigning champions of suppressed anger. We pack it down and try to pretend it’s not there, as it slow-boils us from within.

Think about it.

Now let’s look at our anger unleashed on others….

The young man in Florida who just shot up the high school. His mother recently passed away and his girlfriend broke up with him. If his family also struggled financially then he too would feel that struggle.

Suppressed anger that explodes becomes displaced anger if there’s not one particular target of your anger. But it’s clear where his mind was and wasn’t because he surrendered without further incident. He had no desire to go down fighting in a blaze of glory. He was remorseful after, placed on suicide watch. That’s what happens when you come down off of the anger high.

Dr. Carlson cited that:

The suppressor” of anger does one or more of the following: 1) he consciously inhibits his anger; 2) he denies that he is feeling angry in situations in which most people would feel anger; 3) he experiences guilt after expressing anger.

Source: Harris. S. Goldstein, et al

Sound familiar?

The DC Sniper’s rampage was all over his attempt to cover up his retaliation against his ex. He wanted to kill her and cover it up by killing others. His anger towards her was so toxic that he couldn’t just focus his rage on her, he rationalized the murders and injuries of numerous other people in hope of fleeing and not getting caught.

Imagine if he had simply found a positive way to release his anger towards his ex, then no one would be deceased and he and his nephew (I believe that was the relationship) would have never taken part in such a heinous crime. They would be living their lives like the rest of us.

The Menendez brothers brutally murdered their parents in what they deemed self-defense. After years of sexual, physical, psychological, verbal, and financial abuse, a moment triggers paranoia that a veiled threat was a clear indication that their parents would keep their word to kill both brothers—to protect the family legacy, reputation and empire. So whether or not you believe the brothers, they purchased shotguns and killed their parents out of fear and rage. Now their parents are deceased, the brothers have been incarcerated in separate prisons, the money is gone, and nothing has been resolved. Those issues still plague and haunt the brothers. They are still being devoured from within. Because they live with the grief of knowing that they killed their parents.

Anger is a thief and a killer.

We will eventually discover the anger issues that triggered the Las Vegas shooter. His suppressed anger boiled over and he made the decision that he would not only take out innocent people but take his own life to spare the torment of facing man’s judgment. As though God’s judgment will be lighter. Yes, that was slight sarcasm.

Look closely at the majority of police-involved shootings. The anxiety and anger that boils up because a person or suspect refuses to comply or doesn’t comply as the officer demands, and the situation quickly escalates. Finger on trigger. Sudden movement. Trigger pulled.

Trayvon Martin was killed because a man got angry at how a boy addressed him and didn’t respect him as the authority figure he perceived himself to be as a neighborhood security patrolman. This man felt that he deserved as much respect and fear as law enforcement officers. He had a gun and he was going to prove a point once and for all. That gun would make the boy respect and fear him. Things quickly escalated and this man shot and killed a teenage boy whose only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the receiving end of an angry, insecure, inadequate shell of a man. Some people quickly pointed the finger of blame towards Trayvon, dug up as much dirt as they could to prove that he caused his own murder. Trayvon did not unholster that gun and pull that trigger. His killer did. Then for several years after we have witnessed this man roam freely breaking laws, causing more harm, auctioning the murder weapon, and never getting help for his anger issues.

Can you see the common thread being sewn?

We’re not just talking about mental illness in the light of the stereotypical crazy person who walks around speaking in garbled tongue, professing to see images and hear voices. That is the extreme case. We’re talking about basic anger left unharnessed and not tended to.

Improper expression of anger over an extended period of time can create mental illness. Research shows that anger can lead to depression and sleep disorders. We read and hear testimony of perpetrators who were severely depressed and suffering from sleep deprivation.

What happens to your mind and body when you don’t get enough sleep?

Now tack on top of that depression and the boiling anger that is waiting to be unleashed on something, someone—anyone.

Just because I haven’t listed examples of women and girls as perpetrators doesn’t mean we don’t have a huge anger issue targeting females. That would be a lie. Do an online search of girls fighting. You will see hundreds upon hundreds of videos and images of little girls as young as age six fighting. Then the brutality increases the older the females involved. There’s footage of bloody fights involving teenage girls and adult women, fighting in the streets, front yard lawns, in parking lots, and at malls and shopping centers. It appears that the public actually prefers watching females fight more than males. You even have videos of women, now-celebrities, like Cardi B, fighting with other young women over who knows what. With society forcing girls to be tougher, girls are rising to the occasion at alarming rates trying to prove that they can hang with the boys and can be crowned the “baddest bitch” so that other females don’t challenge them, and if they do, they might receive a beat down or a chance to snatch that crown.

In many ways I would say that females are more dangerous than males, because that anger is suppressed in a way that mixes an explosive concoction that is difficult to contain once released. We try to channel boys energy through the playing of sports. How do we channel and redirect that same energy for girls?

We’re seeing a rise of females joining male-dominated gangs, and female-led gangs. There’s a rise in the female juvenile detention rates as well as the number of women in prison. Watch the television shows “Scared Straight” and “Beyond Scared Straight”, it’s not just boys in these programs. Girls are facing a lot of issues and those unchecked emotions grow into boiling hot anger, and without proper guidance on how to release this anger, girls are unleashing it with a vengeance.

When we see mothers in jail and prison the first thought is, “where is her child? and who is taking care of him/her?” Well if mom is locked up and dad isn’t in the picture or is also locked up, that leaves family or a child welfare agency. During the most vulnerable and valuable period of a child’s life, they are missing out on the love, nurturing, protection and guidance of their mother and father. Damage done. If that damage grows with the child and causes anger to raise its ugly head, the unhealthy consequences can be detrimental, and create a chain reaction that ultimately leads the child down the same path as their parents.

A negative cycle created.

Bullying is on the rise. We have the traditional face-to-face bullying and now cyber bullying. It’s being experienced by children, teens, and adults of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and socioeconomic statuses.

Everyone is feeling picked on so we’re picking on other people for a moment of twisted euphoria that is quickly replaced by even more rage—because the bullying doesn’t stop the things that are happening to the bully. He or she is still experiencing their own trauma and the temporary thrill they can from bullying someone else is always short-lived which frustrates them, so they increase the frequency and intensity of their antics in an attempt to flood out the feelings and experiences tormenting them.

The tormented becomes the tormentor, and a cycle is created.

The outcome of our 2016 election proved a point—Americans are pissed off. We are angry. We are depressed. We feel taken advantage of. We feel victimized. We want and need someone to blame for all of our financial, mental, and physical problems.

The election cycle played to these concerns and daily plucked at them like guitar strings, until a song was formed that brought forth the unlikely pairing of groups of people to elect the candidate most swore didn’t stand a chance. But people weren’t paying attention to his message and how it would resonate with people suffering. Now the masses are beginning to see but how do you reach those victims who are disillusioned and distracted by the venomous propaganda that has brainwashed their already toxic and tormented minds?

America has anger issues and if we don’t manage them properly we will destroy this great country and others. We have become our own cancer and we are slowly eating away at progress, destroying families, disrespecting the principles expressed and implied by the founding fathers through the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and our potential destruction of amendments passed down over the years that support the earlier documents protecting all men and women who step foot on this land as immigrants and refugees—just like the Pilgrims and the millions of people who arrived to this land as foreigners.

Sadly we are also making a mockery of the Christian Savior millions of Americans claim their ultimate allegiance to—Jesus Christ. For he was and is the example of how we are to care for ourselves and treat others. He provided the examples for how to deal with anger, fear, and depression—and how to heal from sin, disease, and death.

I strongly recommend that you read Dr. Carlson’s book. I also recommend that you create a checklist to identify what things and people anger you, and why. Then seek help with addressing your anger, whether it’s outwardly explosive or tucked in and suppressed, laying dormant until triggered to release a fury no one has ever seen.

Your inability to positively channel your negative energy, called anger, is causing you mental and physical health issues—and it’s negatively impacting the lives of those around you: your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, church members, and complete strangers.

If you have children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or cousins, it’s imperative that you positively intervene to get them the help that they need to learn how to properly manage their anger. We need to break these chains of bondage. We need to break this anger cycle that is passed on generationally.

I want to live a long and healthy life surrounded by loved ones. I’m taking my first steps towards healing. I hope that you do the same.

~Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman/Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

Dwight Carlson, MD. (2000). Overcoming Hurts & Anger: Finding Freedom From Negative Emotions
Harris. S. Goldstein, et al “Relationship of Resting Blood Pressure and Heart Rate to Experienced Anger and Expressed Anger,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 1988, Vol 50, pp. 321-329.