Dear Dr. Darcy,
My boyfriend broke up with me recently and I’m having a super hard time with it. I’ve never experienced pain like this in my life. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I can barely function at work. I honestly feel like I’m losing my mind. I’m not a kid, I’m 29, and I’ve had breakups before, but I’ve never felt such pain. It’s causing me to act in ways that I’m not proud of. After we broke up, he unfriended me on social media, but because I can’t tolerate not knowing what’s going on in his life, I set up a fake FB account with a hot girl’s profile picture, and I sent him a friend request and he accepted it. So now I can see him flirting with other girls and he’s actually flirting with my fake account. But I can’t stop. Do you think I’m crazy? What should I do?
Deep breath. Here’s what I want you to do…
Delete your fake Facebook account. What you’re doing is the technological equivalent of self-mutilating. I don’t think you’re literally crazy (though I can’t say for sure since I have one paragraph of data on you), but I can confirm that what you’re doing is crazy-making. You need to stop Facebook stalking him. It’s hurting you. It’s not helping. You think it’s lowering your anxiety but it’s just feeding it, and the only way to stop is to hit the breaks all at once. Rip it off like a Band-Aid. There’s no titrating here. You can’t control your urge to look at his wall, so delete the account. Now.
Do some soul-searching. Your reaction to this breakup is not just about the breakup. How do I know? Because your pain is too extreme. It’s out of proportion to the loss of a 4-month relationship. I’m betting you’ve had other losses that you never fully processed or mourned. Or maybe you’re a relationship parachuter – someone who glides from one relationship into the next without a period of time in between to grieve.
This should give you hope because if your pain is a result of your unresolved issues, you can do something about it. So what should you do?
Find a shrink. Get into some counseling to unpack your baggage so the next breakup doesn’t trigger this loss and every other unprocessed loss that preceded it. Email me if you’d like some names.