How to fix a broken heart | Guy Winch

How to fix a broken heart | Guy Winch

At some point in our lives, almost every one of us
will have our heart broken. My patient Kathy planned her wedding
when she was in middle school. She would meet her future husband by age 27, get engaged a year later and get married a year after that. But when Kathy turned 27,
she didn’t find a husband. She found a lump in her breast. She went through many months
of harsh chemotherapy and painful surgeries, and then just as she was ready
to jump back into the dating world, she found a lump in her other breast and had to do it all over again. Kathy recovered, though, and she was eager to resume
her search for a husband as soon as her eyebrows grew back in. When you’re going
on first dates in New York City, you need to be able to express
a wide range of emotions. (Laughter) Soon afterwards,
she met Rich and fell in love. The relationship was everything
she hoped it would be. Six months later, after a lovely weekend in New England, Rich made reservations
at their favorite romantic restaurant. Kathy knew he was going to propose, and she could barely
contain her excitement. But Rich did not propose
to Kathy that night. He broke up with her. As deeply as he cared
for Kathy — and he did — he simply wasn’t in love. Kathy was shattered. Her heart was truly broken,
and she now faced yet another recovery. But five months after the breakup, Kathy still couldn’t stop
thinking about Rich. Her heart was still very much broken. The question is: Why? Why was this incredibly strong
and determined woman unable to marshal the same
emotional resources that got her through four years
of cancer treatments? Why do so many of us flounder when we’re trying
to recover from heartbreak? Why do the same coping mechanisms that get us through all kinds
of life challenges fail us so miserably
when our heart gets broken? In over 20 years of private practice, I have seen people
of every age and background face every manner of heartbreak, and what I’ve learned is this: when your heart is broken, the same instincts you ordinarily rely on will time and again lead you
down the wrong path. You simply cannot trust
what your mind is telling you. For example, we know from studies
of heartbroken people that having a clear understanding
of why the relationship ended is really important
for our ability to move on. Yet time and again, when we are offered a simple
and honest explanation like the one Rich offered Kathy, we reject it. Heartbreak creates
such dramatic emotional pain, our mind tells us the cause
must be equally dramatic. And that gut instinct is so powerful, it can make even the most reasonable
and measured of us come up with mysteries
and conspiracy theories where none exist. Kathy became convinced
something must have happened during her romantic getaway with Rich that soured him on the relationship, and she became obsessed
with figuring out what that was. And so she spent countless hours going through every minute
of that weekend in her mind, searching her memory for clues
that were not there. Kathy’s mind tricked her
into initiating this wild goose chase. But what compelled her to commit to it
for so many months? Heartbreak is far more insidious
than we realize. There is a reason we keep going
down one rabbit hole after another, even when we know it’s going
to make us feel worse. Brain studies have shown that the withdrawal of romantic love activates the same mechanisms
in our brain that get activated when addicts are withdrawing
from substances like cocaine or opioids. Kathy was going through withdrawal. And since she could not have
the heroin of actually being with Rich, her unconscious mind chose
the methadone of her memories with him. Her instincts told her
she was trying to solve a mystery, but what she was actually doing was getting her fix. This is what makes heartbreak
so difficult to heal. Addicts know they’re addicted. They know when they’re shooting up. But heartbroken people do not. But you do now. And if your heart is broken,
you cannot ignore that. You have to recognize that,
as compelling as the urge is, with every trip down memory lane,
every text you send, every second you spend
stalking your ex on social media, you are just feeding your addiction, deepening your emotional pain and complicating your recovery. Getting over heartbreak is not a journey. It’s a fight, and your reason
is your strongest weapon. There is no breakup explanation
that’s going to feel satisfying. No rationale can take away
the pain you feel. So don’t search for one,
don’t wait for one, just accept the one you were offered
or make up one yourself and then put the question to rest, because you need that closure
to resist the addiction. And you need something else as well: you have to be willing to let go, to accept that it’s over. Otherwise, your mind
will feed on your hope and set you back. Hope can be incredibly destructive
when your heart is broken. Heartbreak is a master manipulator. The ease with which it gets our mind
to do the absolute opposite of what we need in order to recover is remarkable. One of the most common tendencies
we have when our heart is broken is to idealize the person who broke it. We spend hours remembering their smile, how great they made us feel, that time we hiked up the mountain
and made love under the stars. All that does is make our loss
feel more painful. We know that. Yet we still allow our mind to cycle
through one greatest hit after another, like we were being held hostage by our own
passive-aggressive Spotify playlist. (Laughter) Heartbreak will make those thoughts
pop into your mind. And so to avoid idealizing,
you have to balance them out by remembering their frown,
not just their smile, how bad they made you feel, the fact that after the lovemaking,
you got lost coming down the mountain, argued like crazy
and didn’t speak for two days. What I tell my patients
is to compile an exhaustive list of all the ways
the person was wrong for you, all the bad qualities, all the pet peeves, and then keep it on your phone. (Laughter) And once you have your list, you have to use it. When I hear even a hint of idealizing or the faintest whiff
of nostalgia in a session, I go, “Phone, please.” (Laughter) Your mind will try to tell you
they were perfect. But they were not,
and neither was the relationship. And if you want to get over them,
you have to remind yourself of that, frequently. None of us is immune to heartbreak. My patient Miguel was a 56-year-old
senior executive in a software company. Five years after his wife died, he finally felt ready
to start dating again. He soon met Sharon, and a whirlwind romance ensued. They introduced each other
to their adult children after one month, and they moved in together after two. When middle-aged people date,
they don’t mess around. It’s like “Love, Actually”
meets “The Fast and the Furious.” (Laughter) Miguel was happier
than he had been in years. But the night before
their first anniversary, Sharon left him. She had decided to move to the West Coast
to be closer to her children, and she didn’t want
a long-distance relationship. Miguel was totally blindsided
and utterly devastated. He barely functioned at work
for many, many months, and he almost lost his job as a result. Another consequence of heartbreak
is that feeling alone and in pain can significantly impair
our intellectual functioning, especially when performing complex tasks
involving logic and reasoning. It temporarily lowers our IQ. But it wasn’t just the intensity
of Miguel’s grief that confused his employers; it was the duration. Miguel was confused by this as well and really quite embarrassed by it. “What’s wrong with me?”
he asked me in our session. “What adult spends almost a year
getting over a one-year relationship?” Actually, many do. Heartbreak shares all the hallmarks
of traditional loss and grief: insomnia, intrusive thoughts, immune system dysfunction. Forty percent of people experience
clinically measurable depression. Heartbreak is a complex
psychological injury. It impacts us in a multitude of ways. For example, Sharon was both very social and very active. She had dinners at the house every week. She and Miguel went on camping trips
with other couples. Although Miguel was not religious, he accompanied Sharon
to church every Sunday, where he was welcomed
into the congregation. Miguel didn’t just lose his girlfriend; he lost his entire social life, the supportive community
of Sharon’s church. He lost his identity as a couple. Now, Miguel recognized the breakup
had left this huge void in his life, but what he failed to recognize is that it left far more than just one. And that is crucial, not just because it explains
why heartbreak could be so devastating, but because it tells us how to heal. To fix your broken heart, you have to identify these voids
in your life and fill them, and I mean all of them. The voids in your identity: you have to reestablish who you are
and what your life is about. The voids in your social life, the missing activities,
even the empty spaces on the wall where pictures used to hang. But none of that will do any good unless you prevent the mistakes
that can set you back, the unnecessary searches for explanations, idealizing your ex instead of focusing
on how they were wrong for you, indulging thoughts and behaviors
that still give them a starring role in this next chapter of your life when they shouldn’t be an extra. Getting over heartbreak is hard, but if you refuse to be misled
by your mind and you take steps to heal, you can significantly minimize
your suffering. And it won’t just be you
who benefit from that. You’ll be more present with your friends, more engaged with your family, not to mention the billions of dollars
of compromised productivity in the workplace that could be avoided. So if you know someone who is heartbroken, have compassion, because social support has been found
to be important for their recovery. And have patience, because it’s going to take them longer
to move on than you think it should. And if you’re hurting, know this: it’s difficult, it is a battle
within your own mind, and you have to be diligent to win. But you do have weapons. You can fight. And you will heal. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “How to fix a broken heart | Guy Winch

  1. I was sitting here still 'Heartbroken' 2 years on – and just by chance i came upon this Video of this great man – I feel hope now – Thankyou Guy! – 🙂

  2. This is so hard to deal with. I broke up just over a month ago and I still find it really hard. It's not just the relationship, it's the friendship as well. Just when everything seemed to be going right for me, the relationship ended….
    I've not felt this bad since my mum and dad separated in the 90's. Some women think men don't get upset, but we do and we have feelings too. I've cried so much and have to move on, but I'm finding it really hard at the moment. It's not a nice place to be and I wish everyone in the same position all the best. Regards

  3. I'm in my senior year of high school. My girlfriend broke up with me 3 months ago. My whole life, I had never felt accepted or loved by anyone other than my family. But when I met her, she made me feel so loved and accepted, and so happy. She was my first girlfriend, and when she broke up with me, it was the first time I'd ever felt that kind of heartbreak, and it hit me harder than anything I'd experienced before. She's the only thing I've thought about for the last 3 months and as hard as I try to let go, I just can't do it. Everything he says here perfectly describes what I went through and how I tried to cope with it. Listening to this video brought me to tears. For the first time in months I finally feel like I have some sort of direction, or at least a start, to try and recover. Thank you.

  4. I don't Idealize him ! I hate all the horrible things he did to me I resent what he's done that's what I can't get over so how do I heal when the hate overcomes me you didn't address that specifically

  5. I just got dumped today
    My first girlfriend
    But I don’t want to give up. Most unselfish person I’ve ever met and I know there aren’t many like her. I’m aiming to change my ways of what I thought was right. Selfishness ruins everything. I hope she can understand my efforts one day again. All reflection and doing what I should have done.

  6. 6 years we were together. We both left all of our friends and even my future plans and her future plans. All because we loved each other so much. Worst part is, we didn't break up because "it didn't work out", she was my first love and I was hers. She had a multiple personality disorder and had a breakdown and really let me down…

    I really don't see life the same way, I got severe depression from this and also derealization and depersonalisation…. i want to die 💔

  7. My ex who I was with for an entire year lives next door to me. I see her with her new boyfriend every day. It seems like the only relief would be swinging from an extension cord..

  8. Sometimes people can be heart broken from depression and then it just gets harder to hide the depression when your soulmate breaks up with you

  9. I'm so broken rn! All alone. Nobody knows but God. Dealing with this person for about 2 years. I've been abused verbally, physically and emotionally. I cry to myself….I'm always happy around my family but when I'm alone the tears start rolling and my heart aches again. I'm depressed and can't function sometimes. Idk how I'm still alive sometimes. Can y'all just pray for me! I'd appreciate it. I pray you're all doing well. God bless❤️

  10. Every woman I've been with has cheated. They always have a plan B. Men need to go their own way and avoid women altogether.

  11. If I can give one good piece of advice it'll be to never start watching "pick a card" videos on YouTube🥺 they'll make you fall even deeper in love with someone, who hasn't been talking to you in months and make you believe that they're your soulmate or twinflame🙈 trust me, your heartbreak will be intensified times 100 and you're gonna miss them even more💔 don'!

  12. Basically the whole video
    1. Learn to let go.
    2. Accept That its over.
    3. Remember your bad memories with them. Write them down and see them whenever you feel stress.
    4. To fix your broken heart, you have to identify the voids in your life, voids in identity, social life etc. Reflect on your life and goals.
    5. Talk it out with friends or family
    6. Have patience

  13. 6 months post break-up. It’s supposed to be okay. You are supposed to be okay. You want to be. It’s been a long time since you readapted to life without him. 6months. It takes 21 days to make a habit and it’s been almost 180, but breaking the habit of loving him has been the hardest. You think you’re through with it, but remembering very randomly the sound of his laugh, the way he looked at you or his gestures when he speaks brings you to tears. Accessing that old file of the past makes you bawl. The memories force you to hold on when you know you shouldn’t. You don’t want to anymore, it’s draining but which is harder? Letting go or holding on? You don’t even know what you want when you see the number 11.11, when you’re lighting a candle at the church or when you simply explain it t your friends. It’s a huge debate. You know what you should do but you pretend to be lost because the easy way is to hold on. The most challenging thing you ever had to do is letting go of this relationship that really took so much of your time and energy. But you’re so used to his presence even when he wasn’t even here. You keep having those epiphanies that life goes on, that this could happen to anyone, that you will eventually find love and it’ll all be worth it at the end but when you remember those tiny details of the past, it all goes past to the 11th of march, the day you broke up, 6 months ago. You can’t imagine him with someone else. You know this day will come. You know you’re not allowed to be crashed anymore because it’s been a long time. But you can’t. Breaking up is a grief. It’s having so much love to give but giving it to the wrong person because you can’t give it to the one you want. You will read this when you’ll finally move on, which is very soon. You’ll have that constant epiphany and you’ll be so glad to have had this experience because it undoubtedly made you grow. This day will come. Stay patient.

  14. I am a young man. Barely starting my life. And I found the girl of my dreams. The love of my life. I found her, then I lost her. I did some horrible things as a boyfriend and as a friend. I have made mistakes that have left holes in our relationship. But the biggest holes are the ones in my heart. My ex, or also known as, the girl who ran away with my heart will always have my heart and that will never change. The relationship ended with her giving up on me… And the relationship. The future we used to plan out has been crushed. Just like my heart. I have never felt so alone even though I go out and hang with friends. I feel like a part of me is gone and I can't find a way back to it. I feel so broken that no one could ever put me back together, or my heart back together. I have lost hope in the future because the future I wanted was with her. I am so madly in love with her and she doesn't even believe it or willing to hear it. Im not mad at her, but mad at myself that I could do this to our future. Im so distraught that someone else is going to make her happy. But I know for fact, no one is going to love her the way I loved her. No one will look at her the way I looked at her. And no one will appreciate who she is like I do.

  15. It’s already one month. I am still miserable while i am pushing myself to forget him. My heart is broken and it does take more time than i thought to heal.

  16. Took me 10 years to stop caring, which was torture, but still thinking about her for 6 years after that (although completely numb), which makes it now 16 years.
    If nothing fills the hole, it's easier said than done, buddy. On a side note, "I love you!" became such an overused sentence. People give it away like candy.

  17. In some way this helps me. Its just hard to believe that somebody who just 10 days ago show'd you love and care for over a year, now quits on you and does not have the will to save your relationship, while i would give every ounce of my strenght and will for our future together. Time will heal i guess.. 🙁

  18. Wow. I listened so intensively to this. Both great content and a very great speaker. It feels like I can trust this guy with my life even though this is the first time I ever heard of him.

  19. My problem isn't that I idealize my ex or that I want them back. My problem is how much of an idiot I feel like for ever being with them in the first place. My ability to trust myself was completely shattered and is still recovering years later.

  20. I just broke up with a girl bc it was too much drama. We dated for 3 months and I’m 16. Ik my life is just starting. But it hurts. I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t regret it…but it just hurts.

  21. I listened to this everyday last year and sincerely it helped me. I was getting happy again but you know healing is a process. Recently, I contacted my ex again and did all the begging and crying for us to get back together. It only left me broken in more ways that one. I am back to listening again. I I will get there 😘

  22. How can you let go a person you still see and making love with? I can see she don't feel the same thing as before , she used to always kiss me now i gotta bag for one or i have to kiss her, "i don't wanna lose you but i don't know if We could ever Be together like We was" its so destructive and painful

  23. If you hurting, know this : it’s a battle whitin your own mind, and you have diligent to win but you do have weapons.. you can fight and you will heal 💛

  24. Have You Ever Been In Love ? i doubt it… who cares if it takes time to get over someone… Being in real Love is amazing, and Heartbreak is part of the cycle, as is death. Should we just get over death ? Heartbreak is similar to a death and needs time for grieving. Some of us have more emotion. You clearly dontl i cant finish watching this… bye bye

  25. I’m so broken from her. Betrayed. Inept. Worthless. You said youd never leave me. I gave you everything. My heart. Undying devotion. And you just threw me away. I hate you for for giving me false reassurances, but I hate myself more for giving you a piece of my heart. A piece I’ll never get back. You said goodbye at the airport. I didn’t deserve that. Love doesn’t leave like that. I deserved a better goodbye.

  26. It sucks being so emotionally invested in anyone or anything…

    Best thing you can do is to prioritize yourself. Do everything you do for yourself and not the human who’s broken your heart ❤️ Unfortunately there’s no immediate cure to a broken heart, but we can make it less painful day by day.

  27. I am gonna try and love again and everytime I did and open up my life and heart to someone or people I end up the victim….. But I think that's life..
    So this is what I do!? I cut off people from my life and walking alone ain't so bad …
    Makes me feel strong
    Life is beautiful who ever you are or where your from

  28. How calmly and effectively you spoke sir it directly hits on heart and mind …its soothing .Its immensely healing words from you sir

  29. I saw this video a few months ago and said it would be terrible to be heartbroken. Now im here after I was dumped because he didnt feel a spark between us after a few months. I guess it doesn't matter how long it lasts, it always hurts.

  30. hearts been broken for like 4 months and I still can’t sleep at night, even worse when you witness your ex move on so quickly after such a long relationship and you’re just left to wonder where it all went wrong

  31. I work with my ex it’s so hard she acts like nothing happened. And she cheated on me just kiss the guy and i forgive her. But it was never the same and we broke up and I still what her but than I don’t Im so confused. It’s my first real relationship.

  32. My boyfriend blocked me out of the blue on our 11 month ani and my friends told me they saw he was with another girl on his sc story and yeh, he promised to always be there for me and support me, sucks man, it rlly sucks.

  33. I’m just here because I was reading a really sad Manhua and it broke my heart… if you read “10 years where I loved you the most” make sure to have a doctor nearby.

  34. Dated a girl for three years broke up a month ago and she’s already with another guy. This guy speaks the truth. Keep the grind! GET OVER THE ADDICTION

  35. All of this is hindered if your stuck in a situation were the person who broke you continues to walk in and out of your life.

  36. For every woman who has a broken heart…you deserve it you wont find love you are not special you will die alone or be cheated over and over again.

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