08 December 2022

Why You Shouldn’t Bad Mouth Your Ex After a Breakup

The dissolution of a relationship can be a difficult stage of your life. Sometimes, even weeks or months later, emotions can still be high, and depending on how the relationship ended, you may have some negative things to say about your ex. It doesn’t make a difference whether you instigated the breakup or not, if you are particularly bitter, you may feel the need to bad mouth your ex. Your observations and grievances could range from the petty, to deep emotional scars, but there’s one thing that you absolutely have to know – you shouldn’t bad mouth your ex.

It seems counter intuitive. Many times, you will be told that venting is part of the natural process of getting over a relationship. It’s impossible that you won’t have bad things to say, but this venting should be limited, it shouldn’t become a habit, and it should be kept between your closest friends and family members.

Let’s take a look at what happens when a relationship ends, and the right way to deal with your thoughts and feelings, especially when it comes to those regarding your ex.

Immediately After the Breakup – The Critical Stage

The end of a relationship can be traumatic, and psychologically, it can create similar levels of stress as the death of a loved one. Stress and pain is greatly increased if you were heavily emotionally invested in the relationship, and also if you had psychologically committed yourself to long term plans with your partner.

In any case, the breakup will be a harsh event, leaving you with feelings that can range from denial and shock, to anger or intense rage, and deep sadness and regret. One of the problems that occurs right after a breakup, is that most of the emotional support you will receive from friends and family will not be effective. Although words are often well meant, you’re not likely to be in a rational state of mind to listen to clichés like ‘time heals all wounds’, ‘you’ll get over them’, and similar phrases that are commonly passed around.

The risk is that when words don’t heal (they rarely do), you will be left grasping for coping mechanisms that provide you with short term relief from the emotional pain that you’re dealing with. Almost without a doubt, you will at times feel the desire to bad mouth your ex.

Why bad mouthing your partner is a bad habit in the long term

Bad mouthing is not always a coping mechanism, and can sometimes be associated with the need to maintain pride and dignity. In a case where you didn’t initiate the breakup, bad mouthing may be seen as a method to save face. Criticizing your ex as a liar, a cheat, an inadequate partner, or attacking them in any negative way can provide a short term boost in mood and confidence.

The key here is short term. The gratification that can be obtained from bad mouthing your ex will only temporarily benefit you, and doing so will not address what you are actually feeling. Over time, the behavior can become destructive and consuming. When you create a habit of bad mouthing your ex to deal with the break up, you ignore your own flaws, you fail to recognize the true factors that lead to the breakup, and you discard the opportunity that exists to grow and learn from the experience.

Acceptance Comes Naturally

The end of a relationship won’t kill you. No matter how painful or confusing the situation might be, or no matter how rejected and alone you may feel, you need to take the opportunity to grieve, and look within yourself to find positives, or even create new positives as you move on with your life.

Rather than bad mouthing your ex, you can find positive ways to heal:

  • Write about the relationship. This is for your eyes only. Write about the things you enjoyed, the things you didn’t, and the way that you felt about your ex. This puts everything in perspective, and can help to provide closure.
  • Accept that things are over. It can be difficult to be brutally honest, but it is for your benefit. Know that there’s no going back, and no amount of spiteful comments or negative thoughts will change this.
  • Take time to grieve and be with yourself, but make sure that you show yourself compassion. Allow yourself time to be upset, and do positive activities that make you feel better. Restart an old hobby, or try to develop a new passion. Be creative, learn an instrument, or travel somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go.
  • Look to your future and not the past. Don’t dwell on the relationship. Learn from it, but don’t let it define you.

Although overcoming a breakup is simple, it is rarely easy. Dealing with a breakup while in a negative mindset will not benefit your mental health in the long run. Don’t waste your energy bad mouthing your ex. Focus on healing yourself. Eliminating the negativity you feel towards your ex-partner will mean that you can focus on your true feelings, and you will be a better person for it.

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