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. It is very interesting how advice of an expert is to find negative experience in good person that we lost;
    It is very interesting how advice of an expert is to find a friend that will fill the gap that we had;

    It is very interesting that he didn't mention once that we should look inside and stand in front of a mirror: "I lost her because I was lonely; I lost her because I didn't love myself; I lost her because I was not giving what she gave me"…

    When you meet the Perfect girl, you should've prepared all your life to become Mr. Perfect, otherwise she will not pick you…

    Work on yourself people, at least try (once) to put happiness in your hands…

  2. I’ve gotten my heart broken but I’m still ready to give all of my love to the one I fall in love with next. Don’t let the past stop you from being happy in the future, Kings and Queens

  3. My girlfriend broke up with me after 3 years, in that 3 years the moment we met, we clicked and everything went so smoothly, our family loved us, she was my best friend as well as my girlfriend, i spotted her before she even knew me and always had a space in my heart for her until 2 years later we went on our first date.

    I literally adored the girl.. i treated her as best as i could and i tried my hardest to make her happy, thinking of her with every decision i made.

    I cant even begin to describe the way im feeling now, i haven't felt even 10% of love than what i have for her. I really dont know what to do, i just wish i could have that one more chance to prove to her that we were meant to be together, she was my soul mate and even though we've just broke up i can't hate her for it, i don't know what more i can do because i really feel like im never going to find anyone again.

    I hope one day she see's this, and i hope we can give things another try because i know deep down that we belong together.

    I seriously need help :'(

  4. my boyfriend just left me after two years and told me he doesn’t love me anymore and this is saving me from sad thoughts. i just wish i didn’t feel the pain in my heart. i wish my heart was as strong as my brain

  5. Honestly when u do describe heartbreak it sounds so self centered and it's so easy to say move on. But the pain is just so hard u have to experience it to understand. I just can't help feeling like I can't breathe

  6. I broke my own heart by accidentally breaking someone else's
    I didn't mean to hurt anyone
    I just didn't know whats wrong and what's right but who listens
    Now I don't have anyone
    With my broken heart
    Suffering

  7. "Noone breaks our hearts, they break our expectations; and by doing so they bring us closer to our hearts." – Kyle Cease

  8. When😦 im still carrying pain from 17yrs ago it dosnt ever heal the pain dulls & calm down but never goes away. Life takes over but the pain never goes away its like losing a familt member u never forget them but u go on without them

  9. “If two people are truly meant to be, they will be bright back together” I believe everything happens for a reason and we were brought back together for a reason 💕💕

  10. Pick up your shattered heart up off the floor, walk away from the person or person's that broke it. Than VOW to never allow anyone near it again.

  11. Here is my story. I still shade tears when I read it, I wish to never go through such again, but it taught me a lot about myself. And the best part, I fixed a broken heart. https://medium.com/@rainermbongo/shes-gone-and-she-s-never-coming-back-832f9c42c340

  12. I don’t want to feel like this again I already have depression now I’ve gotta go through a breakup which I don’t even know why it’s happened

  13. I broke up with my ex because she stopped communicating as much as she did with me when we first started dating and I begged for her back every month, well over the 9 months that we were broken up I decided to try no contact and when she replied she told me that she dated another guy but regrets it… i shouldn't feel heartbroken but i cant understand why she started dating so quickly… we were together for 3 years and she dated not even a year after we broke up… I feel as though it's my fault and I wanna drop it but it feels like she doesnt love me as much as she did because shes upset over the guy breaking up with her, I just dont know what to do, I still love her and wanna forgive her but I hate her

  14. WHO knows were the Cold winds blows i ask My Friends buy nobody knows. WHO am i to belive in Love ???? Do you know what i am most proud of that is that i actually not have cheated in any of My relationships. I dont sit at some computer pointing My Handsome fingers down on guys like Huge Grant who practiced a bit of THE old in & out with Divine Brown. I dont need to take THE whole world at hostage just becuse i fear THE truth. Why nobody punished Huge Grant for hooker purchess has to do with social status. High valor VS low valor & Still they claim this equality deal. They hate THE truth & Will not have anything with THE truth to do.

  15. don't break it in the first place.
    imagine a world where no one committed adultery.
    That kid that got adopted out and grew up in a home only finding out the same day his parents got a divorce?
    yeah that kid would not turn to drugs and the crime underworld for the next 15 years.
    Imagine a world where everyone kept just one of the ten commandments?

  16. Figuring out why someone breaks up with you is a good way to avoid it in the future. A break-up compelled me to start lifting, and now I rarely experience them anymore.
    She would never call me unfit of course, she just said she 'didn't love me'. It was my inquiries that helped. Love is not something detached from real, often superficial factors.

    Stalking of course never helps.

  17. We are all in the same boat, just trust the universe and try to let go but be thankful for the time you had with your ex. Instead of hate, love your ex (not in the same way as before obviously) and you will attract the right person for sure. Thats what happens when you are in a state of peace and love ❤️

  18. I was in love with a girl who I cared for 4 years a I thought she loved me back but manipulation was replaced for that word care where I fell she stood tallest and the time I wasted feeding her attention all the night's I stood up when she was suicidal she finds out I'm sick and can't feed into her time because I'm mostly medicated and asleep she just leaves and I finally understood my place.

  19. I dont know where I can find that person again in other person but next and last will be my husband no one else
    Promise to myself 💕😕

  20. My story is that there's that boy, with who I really conncected or at least I thought like that. He was giving me all that signs that he liked me and I just fell for him, because he's really amazing and I feel like I want to be next to him. All my friends knew of our relationship and everyone was telling me to confess my feelings to him. I was so scared, because it was my first time confessing to someone and in the same time I felt like it was the right thing to do.. So, there was this party. When I came he felt that I feel anxious and immediately came to me. We talked about an hour until I managed to tell him that I liked him, but his words were "This is the way I communicate with all the people I care about. Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression." I felt so heartbroken and deceived. Now I'm trying to get over the whole situation but he keeps texting me and reminding me that he's there and I just can't get over my emotions. It's so frustrating because now I have hopes that he'll eventually change his mind.

  21. Anybody watching this while heartbroken. ✋🏾😢💔 the worst part with me is that I had spent 8 years single and not thinking of a relationship again, I was living in peace, focued on my football and art 🎨 until this girl who came into my life and I couldn't fight to resist and deny my feeling, only to find out that she got a boyfriend after only 8 month, all I've been thing she is the one, and I was planning a future with her, and now here I am, alone again, but this time gonna be forever. Wish you all luck with the love ❤ of your lives 😢

  22. This is so true I struggled for almost 6 months with a heartbreak and I took LSD with a friend and after a week my brain was settled and I felt a deep closure and a month later I was myself again and my family and friends would agree. Psychedelics have been proven to stop addiction reflexes and I am so happy that my friend offered me a psychedelic, I would not agree that everyone should go for it but I do agree that heartbreak is like addiction.

  23. Thank you very mutch Dude! This will be the source for my healing! Keep looking forward! #Team positiv Vibe. ❤

  24. I would heal if it wasn't for the rebounding feeling of unhappiness I'm getting from my ex. I feel like I've built a happy house for us both and knocked it down. Things weren't right for me but they may have been great for her. I feel like a drug pusher who is making the addict go cold turkey forever.

  25. I’ve never felt so hurt in all my life. My whole world revolves around them. How do I stop being so obsessed when they clearly don’t like me anymore

  26. He is so passionate about his work. That makes his words sink into the listener's heart with ease. It was very motivating to listen to him. Thank you.

  27. Man I'm sitting here wishing I could love someone, I always would like a girl and another guy, the bad one would Kno that I like her start talking to her just to end up dumping her💯 it's men and women that do that. So when u start a relationship make sure their real💯 Cause it's men like me forever single and would love to just simply love someone. And not ever leave💯

  28. Thanks man!
    It’s really sad emotion, losing meaning in everything, one time you think that’s over, but the night has come and everything starts with new power. But I know that the day will come when everything sad will be forgotten, and your energy will come back to you. Wish you all the best!!!

  29. It doesn't ever truly go away, it's sad but a little part of it will stay with you for life. Its almost 8 years ago and I still think about it time to time, took me 2 years just to stop thinking about it

  30. I just finally got out of a toxic relationship October 1st 2019. We were engaged but I knew in my heart he didn’t love me. I don’t love myself enough… I let him run over me, I was constantly scared, he hit me with a car while I was pregnant, cheated several times… I don’t know why I didn’t leave when he took a picture of my debit card & tried to steal from me. I was just hard up for love & didn’t want to be alone. I’m bipolar and I’ve been alone for along time.

  31. I badly needed this today, I am still grieving. But slowly, I am picking up all the broken pieces. I know it will take time but I know healing will come.

  32. I want to get ovet but I also want to get him back more than anything else and I am going to try. He left me because he thinks I'm dating another man behind his back. But I am not, I love him maddly.

  33. omggggg, thank you thank you thank you, you confirmed my thoughts and beliefs ;-;
    now time to HUSTLE AND GRIND ~
    No more heartbreaksssss ~

  34. I cried for a lot of that. It's very nice to hear things that we already know but purposely block out day to day. It's a good starter video on recovering from a broken heart. 20 years for me and still no progress at least that I can see or feel. I'm 38 now

  35. What a stupid speaker. Or title is named wrong. He totally undermined how people’s heartbreak works in single paragraph. He need to shut up

  36. “They say it’s better to love then lost than never love at all”

    But people who say that never feel the pain of heartbreak

  37. He made mistakes and I forgave him. I made one mistake and he left me. I don’t think it was worth ending the relationship. But something convinced him to leave. My chest hurts. I can no longer cry. My lungs feel empty.

  38. This seriously changed so much for me. I was miserable for weeks. After watching this everyday for a few days, changing my thought patterns, making my list I woke up and finally felt better. Like someone had taken off the blindfold I had been wearing and finally I can see my ex for the toxic manipulative person he is.

  39. Well, we had been together for almost 1 year and officially dated 5 months ago. We broke up last Thursday and the reason is that he no longer has feeling for me and he cannot try to love me more. 5 months is not that long but I am still hurt a lot because he was my 1st one and I do a lot of stuff with him. We planned so many things to do together but now, its all gone, in one night. I just feel lost and hopeless and I really miss him. But I guess I still have to move on and the one to blame is him, not me anyway.

  40. Bro, When I break up I want the stalking thing and thinking about that person. That isn‘t bad. You‘re sad in this moment because it was so beautiful. So you are happy sad. I don‘t know how to say this. But I like it man. 🙂

  41. The biggest heartbreak of my life was 9¹/² months ago. 1st rejection ever!🤧
    I was so obsessed AFTER we broke up.Literally,i didn't realised I Feel nothing for her now. ⌛😎Her loss!

  42. She wasn’t perfect for me, the relationship was alright but it got worse, it dragged on for far too long.. yet I miss her like crazy. F.

  43. We weren't even dating yet I fell so far for her. We talked all the time for a year and all of the sudden it just stopped. Turns out she got a boyfriend and didn't need the attention I offered anymore.
    I was simply her consolation prize. I've been used for things by "friends" before but the fact that she did it has left me empty.

    I don't think I'll ever be full again.

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