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By Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D. MFT

The breakup of a relationship is a journey that most people dread. But at the same time we can
look at the dissolution of a relationship as a process that has a vague but definable beginning and
a possible happy ending. That may sound ridiculous and even condescending to anyone who has
ever gone through the pains of separation. But a happy ending is precisely what happens to many
people who navigate the treacherous waters of a relationship breakup.

Relationship breakup, though being a time of great pain, can also be a remarkable period of
growth and recovery. Even though hope for reconciliation may dwindle, hope for self-growth is a
very positive outcome and a definite possibility for many.

Emotional Pain

At some point in a relationship there comes the realization that something has gone terribly
wrong. Signals have been sent and received that someone is not happy and that needs are not
being met. Violations of long held relationship expectations and rules have occurred and what
was once loving and close becomes a relationship of distrust, defensivness, desperation, anger
and pain.

It is ironic to state that in the very pain caused by the breakup, comes the seed for recovery and
redemption. Why is pain such a two edged sword? Suffering in hurt, disappointment, rage and
betrayal is agonizing. But in the pain lies the secret of salvation. Going into, fully feeling and
expelling the pain of separation/divorce through Deep feeling therapy is a scientifically and
patient tested method for recovery. Listen carefully to that apparent paradox. How can someone
who is already in pain, be asked to go deeper into it in order to expel it? That's the secret to the
method of deep feeling. By going deep into it with the help of deep release methods, the person
expels the pain, relieves the suffering and unleashes the recovery/healing powers of the
subconscious mind.

The Problem

Here is the problem. A person perceives threat to vital emotional centers so s/he defensively goes
to the head as a bastion of protection. The ego, trying to protect itself from from hurt, mistakenly
thinks that being in the head can somehow be of help. Vacating one's emotional centers and
retreating to the questionable safety of the cerebral cortex only makes matters worse.
Defensively retreating to the head puts a burden on a part of the brain that was not intended to
handle overloads of pain from the deeper emotional and survival areas of the mind. Emotional
pain resolves itself by being fully, and I emphasize fully, felt and resolved in the emotional or
limbic mammalian centers of the brain. The cortex aids by processing, organizing, directing, and
integrating the feelings of the other brain centers. An overprocessing cortex that is disconnected
from the feelings of the lower brain centers only gets exhausted from straining its resources. It
overworks by being called to do a job it was not meant to do.

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By weeping, crying, and even screaming out the pain, the hind and midbrain pushes up and out
blocked feeling and energy through the cortex for processing and integrating. Pain that is
exorcised from deep brain centers moves up and then out. It is examined, organized, understood,
acknowledge and then it is expelled to no longer plagues those vital emotional survival centers
and the overworked cortex. When all of the pain is brought up and out, the person relieves the
brain of its excess of neurotransmitter outputs and restores the equilibrium of a balanced, healed
brain system. Instead of investing all of the brain's defensive chemistry to holding in and denying
pain, the pleasure and joy centers become activated and ecstasy returns to the person's life. I have
seen this phenomena happen time and time again; even with people who were suffering form
severe mental disorders.

So What Is The Job Of Deep Feeling Therapy?

By taking the hurt, injured party from their head into their feelings, deep feeling therapy heals a
real mental illness. What do I mean by mental illness? The losing of the self, the repression and
blocking off of the feeling/healing brain. By unblocking the neurotransmitters that shut off
feeling, we release those overworked chemicals and allow for a new more integrated chemistry
to take over. Divorce and separation is traumatic and the meaning/message of that feeling is
conveyed to a place in the limbic system which includes the amygdala and the thalamus. The
hippocampus, an important structure of the limbic system, is considered the gateway to memory
and the unconscious. When a person is traumatized by abandonment, abuse, rejection, etc.,
memory will remain somewhat cortically intact, but the feelings will become disembodied. The
amygdala stores pain, aids gating functions, and is also loaded with pain killing endorphins.
When painful emotions move from the limbic system to the cortex, morphine type opiates block
their route. When these emotions partially infiltrate the cortex, the person becomes aware of
pain. These painful emotions move towards consciousness into the cortex for resolution, while
the neurotransmission gates simultaneously try to block it, thus causing suffering. By deep
feeling methods we change the brain's chemistry, allowing for the release and resolution of pain.
Repressed realms can then be felt and the look and feel of pain is relieved.

"Life" Style Crises

When a person suffering from separation or divorce enters deep feeling therapy, they are shaped
and molded by the lifestyle that they have just previously been entrenched. They built that
lifestyle and they have fitted their whole being into it. Being in the head, rather than deep into
their healing emotions, has been part of that lifestyle. Their marital or relationship lifestyle has
been an extension of the lifestyle that they had before they were coupled. If incest, sexual abuse,
smoking, alcohol, drug addiction or one of the mood, anxiety, personality/mental disorders was
part of that lifestyle history, then the onset of deep feelings dramatically intervenes and interferes
with that lifestyle.

A deep feeling lifestyle is a profound, and real change. To trust one's deeper hidden healing self
is such a marked difference from the dysfunctional aspects of a past lifestyle. Some people have
a hard time breaking with the habits and repressive defenses of the past. Because the past, with
all of its feelings, attachments and memories, has such a hold on a person, they may resist feeling
the deepest profoundly transformative parts of the self.

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When a couple collides head on with their conflicted lifestyles, they might find that life together
is unbearable. One partner may enter some aspect of the Deep Feeling Therapy and desperately
want and even try to get the other partner involved. When both partners enter the deep feeling
realms together, their chances of relationship reunion is heightened. But reunification of a couple
back into an old, held onto lifestyle is not the ideal goal of deep feeling excursions. The full
knowledge of the deep feeling realms helps to unify couples. But if a defense against deep
feelings enters into the relationship then that relationship will only last until that defense proves
to be too obnoxious for the parties to endure.

Presenting a Better Front

The partner who initially resists getting involved in Deep Feeling Therapy is usually afraid that
the other partner will present a better front. Evaluation, real or imagined, is a real fear of many
separating partners. Being seen as deficient as a partner, spouse or a parent is a frightening
prospect for those who have been involved in a relationship that may have contained some very
questionable behavior. It is common for one of the separating parties to reform their presenting
front in order to look better as a partner, parent and, in general, a person. There are also attempts
made to make oneself look better and the other to look worse in one's own eyes, in the eyes of
the therapist, courts, friends, children and other relatives.

Competition over who is going to look better to the world may begin here and even if both
parties entered therapy, attempts at creating favorable impressions on the therapist is expected.
But impressions are just that; impressions. Taking sides based on impressions and
impressiveness should not obscure the real goals of the therapy, which is the digging down into
the pain, etching it out carefully, learning from it, and eventually moving onto a richer, more
fulfilling life.

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