“Are you real?”
That was a very surprising question that I received via e-mail.
That got me thinking.
I thought that I revealed plenty of myself:
My suffering, my recovery, my mission to help people who were in the same position as I have been.
Throughout all of my articles, I have revealed more and more about my past. Hence, why would someone ask the question of whether or not I was a real person?
I refuse to think that my whole story looks like a marketing invention. And yet, maybe I haven't revealed as much about the PERSON Eddie Corbano as I have thought?
That's when I decided to write some more about my personal story and my life.
First, I started to write a “5 things you don't know about me” kind of article, but then again, what would you gain from it? Isn't it more useful to write more details about my experience and how I used it to become a better person?
I know that this will help you in two ways: first, it will make you realize that you are not alone with this problem, others have suffered and overcame it before.
Secondly, it can give you a new angle and incitement on what direction you can take.
I am sure many of you will recognize yourself in my story.
Even if my breakup was very long ago (1998), I still remember everything in detail, especially what kind of person I was before that.
To make clear something from the start:
This break-up was the best thing that ever happened to me. Eventually, it changed my life for the better by forcing me to confront my inner fears and problems.
I had to change or die.
I was raised by a very dominant father, who didn't tolerate many initiatives.
“You have to do what you are told,” not to think for yourself.
Being a very sensitive person, I did what I was told and never rebelled.
As much as I wished I had rebelled against the authority, (for a long time I was sure that this would've saved me), today I accept the fact that I haven't, and that I couldn't.
If you are not encouraged to be independent and to “march to a different drummer” as a child, and if you are additionally a very sensible person by nature, this could lead to two problems:
1. A lack of self-esteem
The combination of these two will most certainly cause an exaggerated, if not pathologic, suffering when a loss occurs in your life.
That was definitely the case with my very first real relationship break up when I was 18 years old.
In the following years, I've made mistakes which are very common among break up survivors with the flaws mentioned above:
I jumped from one relationship into another – break up -> rebound relationship -> break up -> rebound relationship… etc.
The dilemma here is not far to seek:
By not facing your problems, but avoiding and stalling them, they will come back to you eventually with even more force.
I was afraid of being alone, and by avoiding and not working on this issue, I further developed something else very dangerous:
The fear of loss.
Fear of loss makes you vulnerable to many bad things, like infidelity and clinging. Furthermore, you don't see things as they really are – you live in a bitter cloud of hope and assumptions.
You especially tend to overlook things you don't like about your partner or tolerate circumstances even if your needs are not being met – all this out of fear of losing them.
This fear does not permit you to be who you really are but degrades you to acting like a fearful and over-controlling person.
The truth is – fear of loss often drives the partner away.
The fatal thinking behind this is the firm inner belief that you don't deserve this partner – that you are not worthy of their attention. This gives all your power away, and you are entirely dependent on your partner.
They sense that, and it is most often too much for them.
The premise of a stable relationship is that both parties are stable people for themselves.
The Personal Nightmare
It happened in 1998:
When my Ex broke up with me, we were about to get married. It was like the whole world as I knew it collapsed. I couldn't function properly for weeks.
It was as though someone had stolen something crucial for survival from me – something I needed to exist.
I couldn't stand the pain or the thought that she wasn't by my side anymore. I made her the center of my life and now that she was gone, what was there left?
I had no perspective, no joy in life – all the things I once liked to do stopped being attractive. I had no interest in the other sex whatsoever.
In fact, I had no interest in doing anything besides lying around or sleeping. And sleeping lost its benefits due to extremely painful dreams that renewed the initial pain each time I went to sleep. (Check my newsletter for how to deal with such dreams).
Luckily for me, I intuitively felt the necessity for No-Contact – a rule which I broke only once after one month.
Breaking this No-Contact Rule was terrible and extremely painful – to talk to that stranger who was my great love once upon a time.
The pain was much worse after this, and I needed several weeks to reach the level I was at before the No-Contact break.
This existence, if you could call it such, lasted for six months.
Recovery Finally Started
Then suddenly it got better. I clearly felt an improvement in my overall state.
I made a decision.
Standing at a crossroads, I made the decision whether to go left or right.
Turning left meant to continue with this pathetic existence without joy and perspective – an existence that equals death. Turning right meant to change, and eventually, head towards a new and better life.
I consciously took that step into change. I decided that I couldn't go on like this.
All of that meant: accepting the fact that it was over and letting go.
Man, that felt good! I felt an instant release.
Yes, it meant accepting that she would never come back.
Yes, it meant saying goodbye to that golden future together that I had painted so well in my mind.
Yes, it meant standing up and taking back what was mine – even if it meant that I had to kick myself every day.
While this day marked a milestone in my recovery journey, the way that followed was still a long, rocky road.
The Painful Road Ahead
I had to go through all the painful phases – through the depression, the missing, the anger, the lonely nights where I wondered if she slept alone, the guilt, the endless times I checked emails, mailboxes, picked up the phone and hung up again.
It was like two steps forward, one step back.
The next few months were tough.
I had one especially bad problem: I was constantly rethinking and reliving the past, and every time I tried to block my thoughts, I would feel guilty.
As if NOT thinking about her was a betrayal.
It was impossible to let go while I kept her alive in my mind.
So I decided to approach this problem a different way.
The Secret Of Mental Control
I remember that I visited some friends, (the first time I had gone out to meet someone), and I forced myself to NOT think about her for one hour.
Only for one hour.
What now seems almost laughable was nearly impossible to carry out back then.
I committed not to beat myself up or feel guilty if I didn't make it the hour.
But it worked. I made it – one hour without thinking about my Ex.
This was a real victory.
With time I expanded the time frame more and more. Additionally, I learned some mental control techniques, like meditation and yoga.
The less I was thinking about her, the more I was able to let go.
Step by step, I learned to function again, to find myself again. The more I concentrated on myself and not on the outside, the more I learned who I really was.
I found out many things about myself back then, things I didn't know before: what kind of a person I was and why I'd become like that.
For a few months, I focused very intently on this task: to learn who I was.
I worked with counselors, (a very good friend who is a psychotherapist helped me tremendously to reach my personal goals), and educated myself in different categories of self-improvement.
It was all about self-improvement. Find out who you are and become a better person.
I learned more in 2 months about myself and how to improve my circumstances than in my entire life until then.
And you know what happened? As I got to know myself, I started to like myself for the first time in my adult life.
After that came a period where I wanted to give back what I had learned.
I decided to help others because I honestly believed, (and still do believe), that this is one major secret to overcoming a breakup.
I joined a breakup helpline, run by a non-profit-making organization. I had to take a counseling course for a few months first before they would let me take calls from real people.
The experience was overwhelming.
I learned so much about breakup recovery and what people are mostly suffering from.
I learned what helped them and what didn't.
I learned that I wasn't alone, that nearly every caller had the exact same problem that I had.
Additionally, I did surveys with family, friends and other people on how they overcame their breakups.
I was determined to find an applicable method to shorten the recovery time of a breakup, and at the same time to improve themselves as a person.
My next personal hurdle was something I was terribly afraid of: to face my Ex again.
I maintained No-Contact for almost two years and didn't know what to expect.
The result after I saw her again for the first time was very surprising: I was completely indifferent about my feelings toward her, and it felt like I was meeting an old friend.
That was the proof for me that I was over her.
I finally did it.
A New Man
What happened after that?
Well, my life took a very fortunate turn after that.
I had been able to resolve most of my issues, became stronger and confident, and understood the main pillars of a fulfilling relationship.
Like a phoenix, I rose from the ashes and became a new person, a better me.
I've learned even more about effective break-up recovery, and together with my friend the psychoanalyst, I developed a 7-step coaching program which has helped many people to get over their breakups in record time.
So, what would you say – am I real?
Man, you won't believe how real I am.
Your friend and coach,
I think it will be easier when i move home near my friends and family. I go to work and then come home and sit in the house as i have nowhere to go. weekends are awful. I speak to friends on the phone but it’s not the same. I have had to move out of his house, now i am trying to get back home and will have to move all my stuff again half way across the country while he is going out on dates and getting on with his life. it hurts like hell. nothing has changed for him except his house is a lot nicer than it was and he is now a good cook and that is down to me and some other woman will now benefit. i chose all the decor and furniture in the house. cooked cleaned and did everything for them just to be tossed to oneside like i never existed. I guess i’m angry at the moment. it’s good that trying to move on. i want to be the person i was before i met him too but feel i can’t start to put it behind me while i’m still in this city. too many reminders. can’t wait to go home.
How long till you move back home?
Iv had a (bad) day today as i call them im now off work for 13 days and im thinking bout her today and itr hurts a bit today just wanting to text but knowing its a no no. Its sounds like you invested a lot of effort into your relationship marie the house teacher of good cooking but look at it another way yes some other woman is going to benefit short term but I bet long term there will be another marie soon, remember the reasons why you had arguments and stuff that will be there with his next lady and I would expect regardless of how good a cook he is there will be trouble not far away. Marie when you get home I hope you have a little time to recharge ya love batteries and then move on and find someone to share happy times.. I am also in hope that I can push theses feelings away and move on myself I know its hard I beat myself up every night over what ifs and I should of done this I should of done that but Im in hope things will get better soon. by the way I found that im not very fit at the moment the gym was very hard work haha take care marie
Sorry to hear you have been off work. I had a few days off but it’s the only thing that takes my mind off it. I do exactly the same as you, beat myself up and blame myself for everything but it takes 2 people to make a relationship work and 2 people for it to break down. We all have our faults. Every time we fell out i would always be the one to try and save it and convince him things would get better but they never did. I would complain about the same old things and nothing would ever change on his part. it was his way or no way. Compromise in a relationship is very important and that is something he could not do. He was selfish in a lot of ways and your’e right! I don’t think he will change for anyone else either. I have been here before when my ex husband left me for someone else and it took me a long time to get over it but i know we will. I just think now that there is nothing i can do. He knows i’m moving back home soon and he knows where i am if he wants me but i also know that he wants to move on and will not come after me. if he loved me he wouldn#t have let me leave but he did. Why would we want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with us. They are not sitting around crying and feeling sorry for themselves so why should we. The grass isn’t always greener but it will be for us one day. I have been told that he is at home this week and not at work and he would never take time off unless he has the kids which i know he hasn’t till the weekend. Maybe he is ill and is all alone with nobody to look after him KARMA lol
Take care Andy
Oh my goodness Marie , I feel the same way I cooked , clean , helped made his yard look beautiful . Bought flowers , trees , and totally made his backyard look gorgeous . I feel as if all the work that I had put in his house and his backyard is now to be enjoyed and admired by another woman . I guess what I’m saying is I cooked up a storm but never got to taste it or enjoy it . It’s just life is never fair to the good people cause good people usually are the ones been taken advantage of 🙁
I am having the same problem with her just getting on with it now pretending nothings going on and not talking to me at ALL.. Your man going jogging is a way of him not having to deal with the issues buying new things for the house too is another sign of taking mind off it to not have to deal with it.. My ex has through mutual friends let me know in a way that she is going out enjoying herself then the next min im getting told she is in bits.. I dont know the answers marie but I know this much im sick already of being the one crying the on thinking about them all the time wondering what there doing if there thinking about me or someone else im so sick of making myself ill over this and iv decided blow to her im going to force myself to get on with life to stand up and stop being the victim.. I have joined the gym i have started to see friends I havnt seen in ages im going to move on and when im back the the person I was before this relationship it will be them who are sorry. I suggest marie you try and follow what im going to do it will be hard but we can support each other on this im happy to help and be helped along the way.
I’ts been a month since i moved out and i’m still devastated. I have no family or friends here and i’m not coping very well. i have emailed him to tell him how sorry i am for my part in the breakup and also told him i’m moving back home 200 miles away and he hasn’t even replied. i bumped into my old next door neighbour who said he is out jogging and buying new things for the house and just getting on with his life. he is also on 2 dating sites and i’m in bits. it just doesn’t seem fair. I thought the least he would do was have the decency to mail me back. he is 44 years old not a child.
Dear Marie ,
He has already moved on and probably has another woman already 🙁 you need to do the same and find a man that cares about you and loves you . Don’t waste your time thinking about him when he’s over there gone on with his life . Why torture yourself if someone has no more feelings for you and doesn’t care about you . My husband & I knew each other for 3 years and we got married last month . Believe it or not I was married to a Narcisstic man , bi polar , and a mental case . We are getting a divorce next week and I’m going to go find me a man that does deserve me and makes me happy . Life is to short to not be happy !!! My name is Megan and you can call me anytime at eight three two four nine one three zero six seven if you need a friend to talk or cry . Take care of yourself and be strong !!! There’s MILLIONS of mans out there waiting to date you , want to get to know you , treat you like a princess , why waste time on a jerk and a loser .
My partner ended our 5 year relationship a couple of months ago. we lived together and i moved across the country to be with him. he has children who he sees regularly and they are his whole life. while i know kids come first i felt neglected in the relationship as they are teenagers but need his undivided attention. he got a job working away during the week a few months after moving in with him and left me alone with no friends and in a new area. it was meant to be a short contract and the money was great so i agreed but he is still doing the same job 3 years later. we had lots of arguments due to my resentment i think and what i had given up but it was always what suited him and what he wanted to do with his life and how much money he wanted to save. he would never treat me or take me out and i became depressed. even started to drink as i was so lonely but that is when the arguments would start. he said i verbally abused him and he had had enough and asked me to leave. i moved out 3 weeks ago into a little place of my own but im so unhappy and i am going to move back to my hometown soon. i have apoligised to him for my behavior and tried to make him understand his part in it but he takes no blame. i have cried and blamed myself for 3 weeks now while he is back on dating sites looking for another relationship and i am devastated. i feel like 5 years of my life have been wasted on investing in the children and HIS HOUSE ( WHICH I WAS REMINDED OF MANY TIMES BY THE KIDS). i also feel like someone has died. i cant eat or sleep and im struggling at work. I hate the way i feel. i love him with all my heart but feel like i messed up big time
Marie i understand your feeling like me its so very hard to understand how they can just say i dont want you anymore I have started blaming myself for all of the break up. I am thinking so many different things, if only id done this said that, taken her here and there I really cant beleive this time last week I thought I was in a happy relationship its night time now and my stomack is in knots and i expect to get just a few hours sleep I still cannot eat.. The sad thing is im hoping that she will change her mind as our mutual friend said she is very upset at the break up but I know its hard to change her mind about anything. How long will I feel like im in a very bad dream??
My girlfriend of 2 years finished our relationship via text message 3 days ago and im so so upset iv not eaten been to work I cant get her out of my mind iv been to talk to her and its like im talking to a stranger she seems to have a heart like a stone! Iv sent the presents letters and stuff over the last 3 days but its a hopeless task. I today have removed her phone number from my phone iv posted her house keys back and im going to try and keep to the no contact 60 day rule, I know this is going to be so so hard as I feel like someone has died.
The “7 steps program” is my one-on-one live coaching program that I do since 2005.
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This article is so true.
I know because I have experienced the effects of not loving yourself and relying on your partner for happiness.
This really contributed to my breakup. At the moment I am really struggling with feelings of self-worth.
Because the FIRST time he dumped me, I told myself it would get better.
I found this site and read Eddie’s advice… Started working on loving myself and realising he wasnt good enough for me….
But then I broke no contact accidentally- we bumped into each other,,, and it led to me falling for him again, and him AGAIN dumping me…..
So I am back on this site re-reading Eddie’s advice…
It is a lot harder for me this time around, because I feel i let myself down..
I should have followed the NC… instead I let myself become the needy emotionally unstable person I had been months before…
So that scares me. But I know I have to make an extra-big effort this time round…
He dumped me, I tried to make it work- but it could NEVER HAVE WORKED while I didnt love myself.
So like Eddie says, him dumping me is going to be the best thing that ever happened…
And I need to start believing that and rebuilding my confidence after the knock it has taken in the last few months.
Have you had any breakups post 1998 that made you feel as bad as that? and how different was your reaction and how did you handle it in comparrison to 1998? Thanks.
I have not had any break-ups where I was the “dumpee” since that time, believe it or not (and I am married since 2007).
I attribute that mainly to the fact that I gained a new sense of ME. A stronger me that does not rely on a partner to find happiness.
If you need a partner in order to feel good about yourself you will always be in a needy and low power position. That was MY personal main issue.
However, I had quite a few breakups where I was the “dumper” since then. This was very difficult at first as I knew how devastating it was, but later on it became easier (due to different reasons).
Hmmmm…does tht mean you broke up BEFORE someone could dump you ? was that a reactionary response as to what happened as oppossed to it just being a stronger sense of self…obviously I realize you cant quiet respond in depth and there were probably many different experiences and different reasons for any and all relationships. I am happy that you are happily married. I wasnt reliant on my partner for happiness. I am still very happy with myself and my life and I actually have a higher than normal need for alone time. I was in real love I loved him he was awesome and a good person I am the one feeoling rejected and angry about it out of pain but my rational mind understands this. I dont regret the relationship I was very lucky to have had an incredible 10 months with someone who I was happy to be around and luckier than alot of pople who havent ever felt such connectedness and love with someone. It ran its course we never fought, disagreement maybe once. it just wasnt meant to be I had too much baggage with a special needs child and it was too much, I think. I feel strong in myself, just so sad at the loss of such an incredible time, even tho logically I KNOW there will be happiness as I am happy and have a happy full life and am sure , only because I choose to want to share my life with someone, that I will have more chances that will happen. I LOVE your site your insight, your words are wonderful and am thankfull it helps me as it does others. thanks for responding, take care. NC working on day 9 tomorrow 1.5 hrs away…its tough LOL. Its for me!!! 🙂
Well I never thought i would be writing this, but I dumped a guy after a relationship of 5 years. I loved him so much, but when he moved out of the country, just to get some emotional support i fell for some other guy. All this while my ex was trying to get back to me, and I was feeling very guilty. But i really did not wanted to go back to him and be alone here. Now this new guy is nice to me, but he is very practical, on the other hand i am very emotional and thought of being alone scares the hell out of me. We fight a lot, so he thinks that it is best we break up. I too want to get back to my ex and break up with thsi new guy, but just because I don wanna leave my life here and this guy with who i have so much fun and a great life (if we don fight), I don wanna go back. I am guilty and sad that i left him, and i don love this new guy much, but i still want to be here with him. And i cry whenever he says that he dosent want to be with me, even though i don love him much.
This am sure is so confusing, for you to understand may be. But this is, how much confused I am.
Thanks so much for sharing, I felt like I was reading about my childhood in your post, but instead of it being my father, it was my mother. And instead of being the dumpee, I've been the dumper in my long-term relationship (over 8 years)- not once but at least 4 times. Each time going back because I loved her so much, and needed her constant acceptance of me as a way to boost up my self esteem. I also felt such guilt about being the dumpee and almost used that as a way to punish myself for not making it work. Needless to say, I've been in this vicious cycle for a long time. I left 2 years ago and went to New Zealand and thought that was it, but I left a lot of my stuff at her place. Now I came back thinking I could handle being 'friends', and take my stuff, but seeing that she is doing great without me, even better actually leaves me devastated. I also realize that I gave everything to her, all of me. How do you take that back? How do you start? I'm doing the no-contact rule as soon as I get my stuff out, but I'm terrified of who I'm going to find under this layer of guilt and loneliness. I just hope that I can move on the way she has.
I have been googling how to get over a break up for several days. I was in a 6 year relationship with someone that I thougt was great for me since we had alot of the same interests and goals. Although I look back and I knew the last few years that things weren't that great. We both had problems the last few years with adjustments to our lives outside the relationship. I just hoped that things would improve I really wanted us to be back to the way we were before. Anyways I read the article and I saw myself in much of it. I had a controlling mother who clamped down on everything I did, she is very religious and got pregnant with me before getting married and was very controlling on everything I did outside of home. I guess she just didn't want me to make her mistake and get someone pregnant too, but it just made me want to just stay home and not do anything so I wouldn't get the fifth degree afterwards. It made me bitter to my mother and not talk to her but I have started again because I realize she was just doing what she thought was best at the time. It just stinks that my relationship ended and now I see all of this when it is too late to save it. I am feeling scared of being alone, I moved out of my hometown recently (my dilema outside of the relationship) due to my place of employment closing and had a hard time adjusting. Having a hard time meeting people when I had a good core of friends back at home. I guess that might have to do with my low self esteem too. I just find things frustrating and here I am just sitting in bed typing away when normally I would be out hunting, one of my favorite pastimes. I just don't know what to do or how to go about it.
Eddie, I'm from Brazil and really pleased to read about what you went through, because I felt just like you, being in this shoes of a person who lost the will to carry on, and had to make that choice. every single step, and the duration is about the same. I broke up a year ago after a 4 year destructive relationship full of jealousy, I had abandoned all that i was before and was merely a shadow to my partner. It took me 4 months in the first stage, i dropped out of university, went back to my parents', it was a very difficult period, i took anti-depressive pills, went to counselors and group therapy, churches and shamanic rituals, its almost comic looking back. Then it was another 6 months in the second stage, missing, feeling lonely, but i was taking better care of myself, looking better, lost all the weight i gained during the relationship, started dating again… but getting over made me feel guilty, like i had to be loyal to someone who didn't exist anymore. I started dating a month ago, and for the first time i feel in love again, ready to move on, to face my ex again, because i'm letting go. It's still painful, and i got really traumatized, but I'm in love and determined to make this new relationship works, to marriage. I'm trying to act more healthy now, and I won't accept anything but a happy and healthy relationship. i would pretty much like to help people too, here in Brazil. is there a way we can keep in touch?
i really enjoyed reading this article. you made me realize what i was when i was with my ex. i never realized that i was so afraid of losing him, just bec i felt that i never deserved him… and just like you, i was very dependent on him… and he became the center of my life. there was even a time when i absolutely dont care if i lose my family, as long as his still with me…
after he broke up with me this January, my world literally crushed. i couldn't study or concentrate. it was torture.. the worse of it all after not talking for 4 months, he texted me and i told him that we needed to talk.. i guess i thought i wanted closure..
and when we met, i cried and told him everything that i felt.. now i realize that it was so wrong.. showing him my true emotions.. i even asked him if we have a future together.. and he told me no, saying that we were so different.. before the day ended we agreed to be friends and managed to be together the whole time talking about the past and having fun ( so i thought) when i went home we texted again and he offered to teach me for my finals.. and so we met again 2 days after
and from that time i was so happy, that time i said to myself that i'd rather be his friend than lose him forever… before we met, i was so excited to see him.. and when we finally met at the library he told me if it was a good idea meeting.. i told him whats wrong since he was the one who offered to help.. he then shrug his shoulders and said that maybe its not a good idea.. i felt bad… before i went home.. he told me that maybe after tonight we shouldn't be friends for a while and should wait it out…
and once again he dumped me.. this time as friends..
after some soul searching, i felt really tired of this feeling. feeling like a doormat.. i feel really better now.. your site really helps me regain my confidence back…
maybe someday, i could really get over with this feeling and trully grow as a person.
Thank you for sharing.
You WILL feel better and more confident, just give yourself time and permission to heal. And most important: maintain no-contact!
Good thing I stumbled unto your blog. My girlfriend broke up with me and we have dated for the past 7 years. I’m having the difficult time to move on because she has been a part of me for the longest time. Reading some of your entries, it got to me, that I should rediscover my self again, though it sounds easy, I know it takes a lot of hard work and focus. But can I ask you something? What coping mechanism can you suggest for me? I think I’m being clingy to her to the point that I can’t stop thinking about her and I want to be updated to her activities. Please help