How, you ask yourself, can my relationship with this person have gone off the rails so easily? What did I miss over the past months - or even years - that made it possible for such a derailment to have occurred just like that? What has the other person been seeing in this relationship as opposed to the way I have been seeing it?
At this point you may begin a period of - potentially - painful rumination (rumination is rarely constructive). You may go over past events or conversations trying to find clues that lead to the point at which the rails separated (and remember, I'm referring to any close relationship: friendship, family, or life partner), and you may or may not be very successful in this endeavour.
If you're fortunate you may find clues in the most unexpected places, realizing that subtle signs had been pointing towards the potential derailing long ago, but that you - complacent in your belief in the underlying health of the love that bound you together in this relationship - chose, not to ignore, but to pay scant importance to. You could not imagine that the little pebbles you were stumbling over could unite to form the mountain you are now facing.
After a period of reflection on your part - and remember that reflection will often serve you better than rumination, and certainly better than immediate blind and reactive reaction to whatever it is that has caused the slipping and sliding that led to this derailment - you may still need to reflect further and give space, most especially if you believe you are the one who has been blindsided because your reactions under such circumstances will tend to be defensive. Giving some space for pause and reflection on the part of the other person may lead to a more transparent future conversation. Or not. It depends on the amount of damage done on either side.
If you use this period of reflection to purposefully practice mindfulness in order to come back to your inner calm or peace of mind, learning "how to ride the energy of the mind with a sense of stability ... [because] ... if you are going to become completely identified with nowness, then you have to be open to whatever arises: good or bad, happy or sad" (quote from The Practice that Brings Bravery), then you will find - in time - that your suffering diminishes.
Is this easy? No. It may number up there among the most difficult things you've set out to do. But no one said life is easy.
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Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch
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