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Yes, Valentine’s Day is just a day. Yes, Valentine’s Day can be viewed as a hyper-Hallmark holiday taking the everyday tokens of love and appreciation to extremes. For some, however, Valentine’s Day is a painful reminder of trauma in romantic relationships or partnerships which never came to fruition. Moreover, the day of emphasizing the celebration of love can be triggering for people who have unresolved issues with abandonment, rejection, or neglect in many different relationships in life like parents, siblings, family members, or friends.

When someone is struggling to cope, whatever the occasion, the last thing to do as a supporting friend or family member is minimize or discount their experience. The key words are their experience. Having empathy and compassion for someone you care about means taking time to step into their shoes and understand what they are going through. Empathy and compassion does not mean stepping into someone else’s shoes and telling them how you would do it. Everyone experiences heartbreak differently. As Valentine’s Day comes near, tread carefully with your words in order to honor and support the experience of the people around you who might be having a hard time.

Don’t exclude them because they’re ‘a downer’

In the movie Patch Adams, the famed doctor portrayed by Robin Williams states that indifference is the most terrible disease of all. Indifference toward a friend who is grieving the loss of a relationship in their life is hurtful. If your friend is still actively mourning a relationship lost 10 or 20 years ago, there may be reason to create distance. However, if your friend’s breakup is recent, including them on activities is more important than ever.

Don’t trash talk their ex

People turn to trash talking a friend’s ex as way to vent their own anger and to cope with a situation of their control. It feels easy to trash talk an ex in order to make a friend feel better about the loss. However, too much negativity can turn the criticism inward for your friend for having dated such a ‘terrible’ person.

Don’t tell them when to move on

Another way friends try to support friends recovering from a breakup is to encourage them to move on, have a ‘rebound’ or get out and have some fun. Depending on what a person has been through in their life in regards to relationships, such behaviors can be more detrimental than helpful. If someone is truly struggling to overcome a breakup, the best thing to do is encourage taking time for treatment or therapy.

Everyone comes to The Guest House Ocala with a story. We are here to welcome you with open arms, no matter what has gone on in your life.  Specializing in traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues, our staff knows that you need a customized treatment plan to heal from and overcome the difficulties you have been facing. For information on our residential programming, call us today: