One day, the week before graduation, he drove me home from school. As I was about to get out of the car, he stopped me and told me he was breaking up with me. He said it was because we were going to different colleges, that he had heard you shouldn't marry the first girl you fall in love with, and that was it. "But, I'm going to be allowed to date now!", I replied. It didn't matter. That was the end.
I went inside to my house and wailed. My heart was broken. My mom was still at work but I knew that I had better get it together because she didn't even know that he was my boyfriend. But, when she got home, she took one look at me and asked, "What's wrong? Did Mark break up with you?"
I cried on her lap for about 10 minutes and then she said, "Okay let's go shopping." After that, I was no longer allowed to feel my sadness and disappointment. She wanted me to feel angry like she did. "Anybody who breaks my daughter's heart is not worth it. Just be mad at him." And so I was. I never let myself open my heart and feel that wrenching heartache ever again.
Until recently. In a group of people I didn't know while attending a workshop on Intimacy, I felt all the pain I wasn't allowed to feel back in high school. A woman held me as I cried for a long time - she held me in a way that my mother never could back then. The leader asked the group if there was anyone in the room who had never suffered from a broken heart and in that room of about 30 people, not one person raised their hand. Something about knowing that I was not alone gave me the courage to feel what I was not allowed to feel way back when. I had no idea that the pain of that heartbreak was still inside of me! And as I felt the pain, I could literally feel my heart open again. In that moment, I realized that holding on to the pain of my broken heart had prevented me from fully giving my heart to anybody - including my husband to whom I have been married for over a decade.
Something shifted in my marriage as a result of that workshop - as a result of having people support me and witness my heartbreak - as a result of my heart opening. Feeling that has given me courage to risk having my heart broken again...what will happen if I love my husband with my whole heart?
There are many miraculous stories of heart transplants where the recipient of the new heart has memories of the donor. If that is really the case, then our hearts really do have memories. So, even though my brain didn't remember the heartbreak, my heart remembered.
I want to say that I knew back then that my mom loved me and that her intentions were good but it was too difficult for her to watch me go through that pain. It happens all the time. Someone was not able to be fully present at a most crucial time in our lives. That is why now it is so important to ask for and receive that support - to have witnesses to our pain and heartbreak and disappointment and sadness and fear and anger and hurt that we weren't allowed, able or encouraged to feel. Otherwise, it stays in our bodies as a stagnant, blocked energy. Unflowing, stuck energy that blocks us from opening our hearts to all the love, wealth, creativity, joy and Life that is waiting for us.
So, what do you do for a heartbreak? Get support to feel it all the way until your heart opens again.