“Trying to figure out how to forget about your ex,” should be the definition of all-sh*t-lost insanity.
Whenever I was going through a painful breakup, I would Google “how to forget about your ex,” and besides “stop stalking” (yeah right), “get a hobby,” “remember who you are,” “volunteer,” “travel,” there was really nothing. No way could I have done any of these things. I was too emotionally fixated and frantic.
You can’t invest in anything when all of your emotional currency is already being invested wit a non-existent return. All of the suggestions just seemed to affirm my aloneness and make me miss my ex even more. For a really long time, I was convinced that the only way I could move on with my life and forget about him was if I experienced some kind of brain damage.
Your thoughts, actions, level of control, and life are no longer yours. Friends and family start to get annoyed and avoid. You’re exhausted. All you want at this point is relief via a magic eraser.
It is impossible to completely forget someone. This post is not an amnesia initiator.
It’s about forgetting all of the toxicity that’s weighing you down so that you can REMEMBER how to swim back up to land.
For this post, I’m going to focus on how to forget about a toxic ex – this is someone who at any point dishonored, devalued, lied to you, and made you feel like loving you was hard. Even though it may seem easier to forget and move on from mistreatment, these can be the hardest types of exes to forget.
Although empathetic and connected people are extremely hard to forget, they always leave with respectful transparency. The breakup is still very painful but it’s clear-cut. There is no confusion, ambiguity or bs with these people. Ten times out of ten, they speak with dignified action and stay on their white horse. Losing someone like this is excruciating, but at least there’s no unknown due to clear actions that follow clear communication.
Toxic exes are especially hard to forget due to their capacity to mix signals, two-time, lie, contradict, disrespect, be insensitive, and passively yank your chain through social media showmanship. It’s bullsh*t artistry at its finest.
I’ve tried everything to forget toxic exes – hypnosis, mantras, meditation, law of attraction, yoga, facial tapping techniques, acupuncture, Ayurvedic enemas, rebound relationships, going out with friends, dancing the night away, being set up on dates, random make outs, blocking/unblocking, following/unfollowing, tagging/un-tagging, new hairstyles, “ridding-my-life-of-toxicity” quote posting… you name it. Nothing worked.
In the end, I just hated myself more as I watched my emotional and financial wallets drain.
This left me no choice but to inflate, pedestal, and romanticize someone whose absence I was more fearful of accepting than the empathetic bankruptcy, relational ineptness, disconnection, and narcissism I was afraid of acknowledging.
Acknowledgment is scary because it goes hand-in-hand with acceptance. And once you accept who someone has revealed themselves to be, you then have to bring the focus back to yourself and identify your own dysfunction that got you to this point.
I think about those exes now that I worked so hard to forget and honestly, I’m glad that I didn’t find a way to impose selective amnesia.
Without my memories, I wouldn’t have this blog.
I wouldn’t have the empathy that I have, the obsession with helping everyone I can out of pain and suffering that I know all too well, and an appreciation for the people in my life who consistently show me that a memory is the last thing they ever want us to be.
I actually BLAME my inability to forget exes on most of my relational, professional, and emotional success. This isn’t about obsessing over the past. It’s about psychologically positioning yourself to forget what you need to so that you can redirect your focus and reclaim your life.
Memory is like gasoline – if you drink it, it’ll make you sick but if you allow the fuel to go into your emotional gas tank, IT WILL give you the energy, belief, and confidence to drive yourself out of the wreckage.
Even though it’s impossible to completely forget someone, it IS possible to unplug them from your power source. It IS possible to ALLOW the memory that can’t get erased, as painful as it is, to propel you out of powerlessness and back into shot-calling control.
Want to know how to forget your ex?
Here are 3 simple rules that are better than amnesia.
Remember, amnesia leaves you powerless. Action EMPOWERS you.
How to forget about your ex RULE #1: In order to forget, you HAVE to remember.
You will never be able to accept what is until you recognize what isn’t.Same with forgetting. The more you focus on forgetting, the more you’ll remember. And you will never be able to forget what you need to until you make the effort to remember what you have to.
The only way that you will ever truly forget to the point of indifference and peace is by REMEMBERING your ex’s character flaws and what he/she DID/DIDN’T DO that robbed you of it.
What you’re doing now – blaming yourself, buying into the baseless belief that he/she has changed (they haven’t), being scared of them forgetting you, etc., is so.much.harder. that what I’m suggesting here.
All I am asking is that you REMEMBER what your eyes, ears, gut, and instinct have ALREADY witnessed and been exposed to in real time. Don’t buy into the theatrics of your insecurities.
Replace fear with FACTS and allow the facts to disgust you. Allow your ex’s misrepresentation to disgust you. They came to the table representing themselves as someone who was relationally ready and ended up sh*tting their emotional shorts. That’s not a signal for you to change them, it’s a signal for you to be disgusted by an un-potty trained adult. Gross.
Disgust is such a powerful emotion. If you’re truly disgusted, you won’t want to think about what it is that’s disgusting you. You’ll want to forget it asap. Disgust also disallows desperation.
How to forget about your ex RULE #2: Know the point of no contact.
No contact is about creating space so that you can gain perspective, heal, redirect your energy and rebuild.
At first, it can seem like a diet and we all know why diets fail – they make us focus on avoidance and the subsequent lack more than the reason why we need to avoid in the first place. This sets us up for feeling like we’re being punished and deprived. And no one likes to be reduced to emotional infancy.
Over 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. There were times that I missed bread and gluten-containing foods so much, I’d just cave. Gluten is in everything. HOW was I going to carry on? I tried to stay focused on the one thing I was told by my doctor that I had to – avoid gluten.
The more I focused on avoidance though, the more I’d miss gluten and get even more depressed. After some time, I realized that I needed to focus on alternative food options instead of the lack of the one option that many people with this disease were living very happily without.
The few times that I ended up having gluten, it made me so sick and broke me out so badly, I quickly lost interest because I realized that I could no longer incur the cost. I can’t have gluten because it’s bad for my health and also, because I work too hard to keep my skin clear and healthy – breakouts and oozing eczema patches aren’t fun.
Understand that no contact is for your emotional health and also, it’s okay to be superficial/vain about it too – breaking it is just a bad look all around.
When I tried to forget gluten, all I could do was remember it. Instead of making my life about assuming the identity of someone who’s gluten-free, I started focusing more on the reason why I couldn’t have it in the first place – my health and well-being. SAME goes for no contact with your ex.
I always say – contradiction is the root of all misery. You can’t spend your time focusing on NOT contacting/thinking about your ex and then beat yourself up for obsessing and not being able to forget him/her.
How to forget about your ex RULE #3: It’s not about erasing, it’s about phasing out.
Trying to erase your ex from your mind is not only unreasonable, it’s holding yourself to a standard of emotional perfection and perfection is the lowest standard that you can hold yourself to.
It’s okay to not be able to forget about your ex. What isn’t okay is remembering him/her through a filter that caters to your insecurities and cuts you at your emotional Achilles. You have the power to disempower. You are the C.E.O. of Y.O.U and only you can decide who gets less airtime, who gets promoted, demoted, hired, and fired.
Think of your belief system like a set of employees. By promoting your fears, you’ll end up hiring employees that will rob you blind while speaking your praises. You already went through that in the relationship you are mourning the loss of. If you continue to do it to yourself, how are you really any different from your toxic ex?
Loving yourself is not complicated. It’s making the decision NOW to have your own back and reinforcing that decision by rejecting the hurtful inconsistencies of toxic people.
You got this.
And you’re never alone.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your breakup, please look into working with me here.