Yearning, craving, and dysregulated emotions can happen in response to any significant relationship ending. It’s normal.
One of the reasons for this craving is a powerful system within our brain – the Reward System. Due to significant activity within the brain’s ‘reward system’ and associated neurochemistry (e.g., dopamine), we can easily feel intense emotions toward another individual.
The reward system has a few responsibilities. The one most relevant to this situation is that it’s associated with ‘seeking’ behaviors, yearning, motivation, and drive toward pleasure.
It feels like craving and aching for something – even if that something was not good for us (e.g., a substance, an unhealthy partner).
In this state of mind, the cravings can feel like withdrawal from a drug. Like with an addiction.
This is not personal weakness … it’s a neurobiological response that can easily accompany a break up. Even a ‘bad’ breakup.
With effort one can learn to tolerate these sensations without acting upon them, thereby avoiding risk to ones’ self respect, emotional/ physical safety, or life.
Craving a relationship that has ended can be difficult for anyone. However, what makes this experience more difficult for the survivor of a psychopathic/ narcissistic relationship is that her cravings are often in direct conflict with her beliefs.
Although, she may have a full understanding of the emotional risk he poses and in fact may no longer love him. The cravings can take place in the face of logic or her true feelings for him.
Within these relationships, there may have been abuse, betrayal, attempts to alter her reality, blame shifting, and severe disrespect. She may have feared him. She may have no interest in living her life with a man she cannot trust. Yet to have those thoughts, while simultaneously craving him can be quite distressing and confusing. Some survivors might even harbor guilt for feeling a desire toward someone that has caused them harm.
The survivor may completely understand (cognitively) that remaining with a dangerous man could result in severe emotional injury or loss of her life. However, once the reward system kicks into high gear, even she will have to fight against craving a man she knows is not good or safe for her.
This is a crisis that many who have been through ‘regular’ relationship breakups are not likely to understand. The intensity may be more profound and longer lasting than one who was with a normal/ non-psychopathic partner.
Often, this type of break up requires resources that extend beyond that of others reminding the survivor to “just move on” or “let it go.”
The good part is that with a bit of discipline, a warm support system, educational resources, and boundaries that protect ‘the self’ this phase of the heartbreak fades and passes.
The Wrap Up ….
For those experiencing cravings or a desire to reignite the union , it can be helpful to acknowledge the following:
1) Understand it is a brain response
2) The yearning is typically not a calling that one ‘should’ be with someone who hurts them. (e.g., Would I miss him that much, if it wasn’t meant to be?)
3) The cravings are not a reflection of love. It can take place in the absence of love.
4) Cravings are normal and tend to fade, so long as there is not indulgence or acting upon satisfying the cravings (e.g., calling, spying on his social media, texting, etc). Hence, the reason the tactic of ‘no contact‘ can be helpful to so many survivors.
~ Best to you in your healing!
(Updated 2020) © 2013 NeuroInstincts | No Unauthorized Reproduction Permitted