August 13, 2019

What’s On My Bookshelf: Getting Past Your Breakup


Getting Past Your Break-Up: How to Turn a Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You by Susan J. Elliott

Another book I highly recommend. Susan Elliott uses the wisdom that she has gained from her own loss as well as anecdotes of clients that she has worked with to develop a pathway to healing and growth that you will appreciate.

Reflections of Relationships Past

The goals of Susan’s inventories is to help you grow in greater awareness of yourself so that you can create new rhythms and patterns of engaging in future relationships. It takes a deep dive in the same way that you would in counseling. When clients have moved through many of the stages/phases of grief, they often come to the end and want to know, “how did I get here,” so that they don’t have to be here again.

Attachment Styles

I often ask them to consider their patterns of attachment to others. We start with their relationship with their parents or guardians and then move on to their attachment with previous significant others. Side note for those who are spiritual, did you know that your attachment style can also be felt in your connection with God?


Did they feel anxious in their connection with others? Could they trust that person would constantly be there for them? Or was it sporadic and difficult to predict? They often question the status of the relationship and will check often for reassurance. If you struggle with an anxious attachment, you likely also struggled with a secure sense of yourself. The story you may tell yourself is, there must be something about me that is causing them to not be there for me.


If the anxious attachment style doesn’t feel like their past relationships, we then explore the avoidant connection. The avoidant connection doesn’t trust or believe that the person will be there for them and they don’t ask for it either. They are fiercely independent and have a strong confidence in their own resiliency. They may be dismissive of intimacy. The story they tell themselves is that no one is dependable.


If that still doesn’t fit we will explore the secure attachment. This is the person who is comfortable being close with others, feels confident in themselves, and does not worry about the status of the relationship. Check out this blog post from one of Optimum’s counselors that breaks down attachment styles.

Why Knowing Your Attachment Styles Matter

Recognizing our attachment styles is so vital in helping someone move past their breakup. If they can recognize their attachment style, they can begin to recognize other’s attachment styles as well. The remarkable, redemptive piece of attachment work is that when you are with a significant other that meets your attachment needs and attunes to you, you ultimately can have a new experience of yourself with others. It is this new experience that I believe rewires our brains and can heal any attachment wounds.

My Rating

Susan’s first recommendation is to cut off all communication with your ex. She then shares the phases of grief and recognizes the beauty that can occur when we grieve well. The reason why I have recommended this book to others is because of the relationship/life inventories and to develop rituals for letting go. Susan has her own phases (instead of stages) of grief.

Written by therapist Pamela Larkin


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