So many cultures celebrate holidays, traditions and festivities around the spring equinox – Easter, Holi, Passover, Norooz (the Persian New Year), Hanami (the blossoming of cherry trees in Japan), etc. – Why? Spring is the season of new beginnings. It’s the time of year when everything is in bloom. Animals awaken, the conditions are ideal and everything just comes to life again. The air no longer has the abrasiveness of winter’s chill and everything seems to be in the kind of order that you’re convinced, is how it was always intended to be. So, you commit to and embrace the new beginning, hoping for your heart to forget an ex that has somehow disabled the switch from ever shutting off. And then… it happens: you see him. Not just in your head and heart, but right in front of you. What do you do when you see your ex?
What do you do when you’re suddenly face to face with the one person who, despite how deeply they broke your heart, you still compare everyone else to?
When you see your ex, you convince yourself that everything you’ve worked so hard to glue back together is now irreparably unglued… but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Years ago, I dated a man that made me feel like I had never experienced anything before him. He redefined it all and was unlike anyone I had ever been in a relationship with – much older, very successful, an intellectual encyclopedia, well spoken, traveled everywhere, had an infectious sense of humor and a personality that was larger than life. I can still hear his laugh. I made many mistakes in the relationship, but his emotional unavailability and lack of empathy ultimately proved to be a deal breaker that no matter how hard I tried, my disease to please couldn’t salvage. It was one of the most painful breakups I had ever gone through, but after lots of stalking and tears, I finally found a way to put one emotional foot in front of the other (despite terribly missing what was).
Fast forward to about 9 months later. I had just finished having lunch by myself at Spago in Beverly Hills and was waiting for the check. All of a sudden, I.hear.that.laugh. With every antenna up, I turn around and see him in conversation with 2 beautiful women. Before I can look away, we lock eyes. He immediately excuses himself and walks toward me. I don’t remember much of our exchange because there wasn’t much that we exchanged – we said our hellos as quickly as we said our goodbyes. He seemed a bit uneasy, but I was uncharacteristically calm.
The one thing that I remember more vividly than anything though, was that for the first time in my life, I was INDIFFERENT. It was the weirdest thing. I went about my day after that and didn’t think about it at all. I didn’t even feel the need to tell any of my girlfriends that I had run into him. I didn’t spend the next month comparing myself to the women he was engaged in conversation with, trying to find them on social media or obsessing over how I looked and what I said. Pigs were officially flying.
That night, I got a text from him saying how great it was to see me. I didn’t respond, deleted it and never heard from him again. There was absolutely no ill will, just pure indifference.
SO, with it being Easter today and the start of a season that’s known for new beginnings, I wanted to share with you how to emotionally navigate when you see your ex.
Here’s what to do when you see your ex (& how to not let it unravel you):
Today, I don’t drink alcohol but in college I did. I remember one night of my freshman year of college, I had so much raspberry Smirnoff Vodka that I threw up. To this day, if I smell raspberry Smirnoff Vodka, I’ll get a gag reflex.
What fascinates me about this, is that it’s been a DECADE since I consumed that raspberry vodka and all I would have to do today is SMELL it and I’d gag. We’re not even talking about taking a drink; my body would literally prevent that from happening. It’s amazing to me how our senses will remember trauma and toxicity to such an extent that it will signal a “do not proceed,” to our brain, decades after the initial exposure to toxicity.
I started to wonder, “if I can get a gag reflex from just SMELLING something that was so toxic, it made me physically sick 10 years ago, why can’t an emotional gag reflex be induced from exposure to the toxicity of emotionally unavailable, narcissistic and/or empathetically bankrupt exes, family members & friends?”
As I’ve said before, the root of all misery is contradiction. You know that on some level, you have the ability to not only recognize that something isn’t good for you, but also ACT on the dis-ease that you feel when exposed to it.
The reason that it’s so much harder to do with matters of the heart is because our low self esteem convinces us that if we were “enough,” we would’ve been able to transform the toxic venom into a healing tonic.
HOW did indifference permeate a situation that I was convinced, would have had me so weak at the emotional knees that I’d be ovulating at “hello?”
My gut recognized the toxicity and an emotional gag reflex ensued.
When you’re gagging, you know it’s not because everyone else would gag in this situation or because whatever it is that’s making you gag is “bad,” it’s just bad for you.
So, when you see your ex, you no longer make it about you because it never was. You now know the cost of reinvesting and are thus able to allow indifference to do its thing.
When you see your ex that consistently treated you in a less than manner and it doesn’t induce an emotional gag reflex, that’s just because you’re still arguing with what your gut knew from the very first red flag it was introduced to.
Avoidance just buys you more time in the headspace of delusion so that you can have a renewed lisence to blame yourself while pedestaling a f*cktard (& remain invested).
The body doesn’t lie and neither do our emotions.
The only reason why you feel so conflicted when you run into a toxic ex is because you’re equating the danger of their toxicity with 50 shades of passion – being chosen, winning over, being good enough, etc. That’s not passion, that’s emotional poison that just like the vodka in my case, had the same capabilities before I decided to consume it.
It was your CHOICE to engage and consume to the level that you did. You don’t have to anymore.
Wishing all who celebrate a very happy Easter Sunday! I’m off to give out Easter baskets to my God children, have a late lunch in Brentwood and a relaxing dinner in Malibu with friends. Nothing but non-stop eating and a very grateful focus on the slate that this beautiful season has wiped crystal clean 🙂
Love to you all!