The Benefits of Having Your Heart Broken by a Weasel
by Michele Quintin, LCSW
Everyone has past relationships that didn’t work out, but some of us also have “That Ex,” otherwise known as a Weasel. Weasels include abusers, narcissists, manipulators, and self-absorbed, selfish people of both genders.This is the ex that manipulated you, repeatedly lied or cheated on you, took advantage of your love and caring, and drop-kicked your heart on the way out the door. Having your heart broken like that is undeniably agonizing and terrible. Losing the person that held your heartstrings can feel like the worse thing that ever happened to you. But, it’s not. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be. Because:
1. You don’t get to “win,” but you don’t lose either.
Weasels, by definition, are not emotionally reliable. Most of them are experts at keeping you hanging on when everything self-preserving in you says it’s better just to let them go. If you’re like most of us, you go through the roller coaster of disappointment and heartache when your weasel once again fails to live up to their commitments, followed by the rush of joy and excitement when they do come through. Some part of you believes if you only work on being “good enough,” they will love and care for you as much as you do for them, and the good times will be more consistent. These hopes keep you on the ride. But, after a while, you realize the roller coaster is really a merry go round, going round and round the same cycle.
Investing your love and emotional energy into a weasel is just as fruitless as spending hundreds of dollars in a rigged carny game to win a teddy bear you could buy elsewhere for $20. Once you get some emotional distance, you will realize the only way to win is not to play, because:
2. You will understand the difference between “hero” and “heroin.”
The agony you feel without them, the obsessive way you think about them, and the bittersweet memories of the good times are not signs that your relationship was “true love” or “meant to be.” Instead, these are the marks of an addict. When you are addicted, you will do almost anything to stop the suffering that comes from withdrawal. This is the most difficult time. More than likely, this is the time when your weasel is used to riding in as the conquering hero, there to rescue you from the emotional pain. He or she may conveniently glossing over the fact that they caused the pain in the first place and, undoubtedly, will cause you more emotional pain, if you let them.
Resist the urge to relent! The heart wants what the heart wants, so waiting for your heart to catch up with your brain is a bad strategy. Realize that you are dealing with an addiction, and treat it as such. Don’t believe the lies your heart will tell you in order to feed your habit. If you can stay strong long enough to beat the addiction, you will realize:
3. Liking and respecting someone is just as important as loving them.
We like/respect people who are good to us, and your weasel wasn’t. Once you are able to step out of the emotional fog of the relationship, you will look at the lies, the manipulations, and the lack of integrity and see them for what they are: weasley, unlikeable behaviors. If you’re really honest with yourself, there is a part of yourself that already feels this way. Which brings up another benefit.
4. Letting go of your weasel teaches you to love, respect and care for yourself.
The hurt you feel that your weasel didn’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated? This is proof that, despite the weasel’s ill treatment of you, your sense of self worth hasn’t entirely died. There is still a part of your soul that demands to be treated well. If you feed this part of you, it will grow and help heal all the parts of you damaged by the weasel.
A caveat: At this point, fueled by your indignation of having been bamboozled by a weasel, you may have the urge to warn others what a jerk he/she is. Resist the temptation to put the weasel on blast, unless it is a situation where, under normal circumstances, you would feel compelled to speak up (such as weasel is physically or sexually abusive, the situation involves a close friend, or someone specifically asks about your opinion/experiences with weasel). I say this NOT to dismiss or discount how horrible emotional abuse is, but with the knowledge that your weasel is most likely a master manipulator who will spin your stories with lies and manipulation. Ultimately, the weasel will out themselves for who they are, because:
5. A tiger doesn’t change its stripes, and neither does a weasel.
This is particularly important to remember once your weasel enters a new relationship. Even if you are finally in the “Never going back again” mindset, it can be hard not to feel jealous or wistful. Superficially, at least, it may seem that Weasel is treating their new partner better than they treated you. This can lead to miserable recriminations such as “Why wasn’t I good enough for him/her? I tried so hard!”
Remember, a jerk will keep on jerking, no matter who they are with. All relationships are good at the beginning. Weasels, in particular, are effective at “love-bombing,” which is when he or she makes great efforts to be perfect and shower their partner with loving attention. It’s helpful to know love-bombing is also the first stage in the cycle of abuse. Having a longer history with Weasel, you know that the other 2 stages, tension-building and abusive incident, are soon to follow. The merry-go-round is still open for business, but you chose to reach for something better. In this way, you have an advantage over others who have not had this difficult experience, because:
6. You won’t hold on to a new partner who isn’t a weasel, but still isn’t the right partner for you.
A big advantage of the soul-searching required to let go of a weasel is that you belong very clear on your intentions and the qualities you are looking for in a partner. There are plenty of good people out there who just aren’t the right person for you, nor you for them. One of the hardest parts of dating is letting go of relationships that aren’t bad, but aren’t great either. If you’ve gone through the agony of letting go of an addictive, unhealthy relationship and walked away stronger and better, you are less likely to waste anyone’s time on a relationship that ultimately isn’t meant to be. Which brings up the absolute best part of falling out of love with a weasel:
7. Letting go of the relationship that you don’t want frees you up for the relationship you do want.
Ultimately, you don’t want a relationship with a weasel. You want a relationship with an emotionally available, loving person who cares for you as much as you care for them. When you find this person, you will know them not only by the beauty of who they are, but also by the beauty of what they are not.
Letting go of a bad relationship isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. And so are you.
If you are having trouble prioritizing yourself and your well-being, or just need an objective, caring resource to help you improve yourself and your relationships with others, finding a good therapist to help can make all the difference. To learn more about finding the right therapist for you, visit my blog at www.shifthappenstherapy.com/read-me/