After her devastating breakup, counselor Rebekah Freedom McClaskey became inspired by her work in the field of addiction recovery to craft a safe, step-by-step path to forging healthy relationships based on honesty, love, integrity, and trust. Breakup Rehab addresses post-breakup chaos, providing clarity and direction so that your next relationship will be your best relationship.
This wise, real-world, and often humorous guide acknowledges the state of grief or resignation that comes with a breakup and then walks you through the stages of forgiveness and letting go. Along the way, you'll experience a more compassionate self-awareness as you rebuild self-confidence and learn how to be loved for who you truly are. These steps will propel you forward on your unique path, as you recognize your life's purpose and then travel toward well-being and a love that will set you free.
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About the Author
Rebekah Freedom McClaskey is a Manifestation Expert and a Love and Relationship Specialist and writer whose work has appeared on Elephant Journal. Her private practice focuses on helping people get what they actually want out of life and love. Rebekah calls upon her clairvoyant skills and five years as a counselor to create true-to-life strategies that result in clients manifesting their desires. She lives in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.
Read an Excerpt
STEP 1 Let Go and Forgive
"Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny."
— STEVE MARABOLI
Step 1 of Breakup Rehab helps you begin healing and moving forward by learning to let go and forgive. Every breakup is different. Some hurt more than others. Sometimes one person cares more than the other does. A lot of us cling tightly to some semblance of connection and try to remain friends with our exes. Some of us are successful at it. But for the rest of us, it's not so easy. So no matter if it's been one day or several years since your breakup, right now we begin the process of starting over stronger.
Let's get some tools under your belt. As we move through the steps together you'll get guidance in how to use forgiveness, trust, wisdom, love, purpose, compassion, humility, gratitude, growth, integrity, truth, power, service, and connecting to your ability to create the love you want. We start with letting go.
Relationships are cycles — beginning, middle, end. Of course, relationships are an extension of life and life is reflected in our relationships. After a breakup, we retrace our steps. We cry, contemplate, cajole, contort, complain, and cycle around again. Each phase involves letting go.
The beginning of a relationship starts by letting go of being single. The end of a relationship is marked by letting go of being a couple. In every rotation we're given the chance to forgive ourselves for only knowing our biased narratives about love, sex, connection, and partnership. We see what we want to see and shut out the rest.
Here we are together. I want you to know some things about me. I might want you to know everything. Maybe even show me the things I don't know about myself. But only if you play by the rules. And I might want to know some things about you. I might want to know everything. I might want to show you some things about yourself that you haven't discovered yet. But I'm not going to play by your rules. I'll play along for a while. But first you'll have to unveil me because I'm hiding behind what I think I should be. I don't tell people that. I just expect them to know how to "get me." If you love me, you'll get me. If you get me, you won't leave — will you?
Then we have sex with each other. But being naked doesn't mean being vulnerable. Having sex doesn't mean being successful at unveiling our deepest desires. Our clothes may come off but our walls don't always come down.
Oh yeah, this is how we're dating nowadays. We get naked first and ask questions later such as, "Why didn't that work out the way I had hoped?" Each relationship is like a fingerprint. It's totally unique. Some begin slowly and end with an explosion. Others are fiery and passionate and end with ghosting. Either way, we must let go.
Let It Go
Okay. So, let go. Simple enough, right? Ha-ha. I mean, what is there to hold on to anyway? I can tell you that when I feel the slightest twinge of rejection I go running to my oracle card decks and start pulling cards looking for insight. I don't want to let go. I want to know what is going on and what is going to happen next. Then, like any child of hippie parents, I pull out the sage, start speaking in tongues, and feverishly contemplate becoming vegan.
We all have our own brand of neurosis that makes the simplest thing — letting go — seem like mission impossible. That's a reference to the movie and I think it applies to our breakups: "This is your mission, should you choose to accept it...." You will self-destruct in five seconds.
Letting go and forgiving is the first step of BRx because the primary reaction to heartbreak is to wall off, throw a fit, become frantic, regress into an immature version of ourselves, beg, whine, blame, bitch, seek revenge, stalk, one-up, fall apart ... I can keep going. Essentially we try to control what is beyond our capacity to change.
You don't have to let go. Go ahead and cling tightly to all the points of view about who you are because of the breakup, because of the relationship, because of what your parents told you, because of what your boss said, because of what you think is the right thing. Spoiler alert: what you hold on to you get more of.
At the very least, it would be wise to acknowledge that you're being let go of. Both the person who ended the relationship and the person who got dumped are being released and relinquished. The forms, identities, and structures that were in place, that the relationship was composed of, are being reorganized.
Give yourself some grace because letting go is a process much like the stages of grief. The last step of grief is acceptance. You have to go through denial, sadness, anger, and bargaining before you get there. Letting go can help us effectively release all the automated and repetitive crappy stories we live with. Letting go means choosing acceptance of who we are instead of emotionally contorting to fit the judgments of who we think we should be.
If I were talking to you about letting go, I'd say, "Listen, man, there are about a billion factors that you don't have dominion over." But we want to have control over our relationships. I get it. When I broke up with my ex(es), I just wanted to do everything I could to recreate the magic. After a breakup, we generally want to speed past the pain and reinstate the pleasure. So the first thing we do after a breakup is use various methods to try to "fix it."
There are thousands of remedies that you can try in order to feel better, to get relief, and to heal from your breakup. You're welcome to try them all. But in this instance you only need to become an expert at one — letting go.
Letting go isn't about giving up something. It's about surrendering the barriers we build by holding on to how it was supposed to be. These barriers begin to come down when we take an honest inventory of our situation. Okay, so in order for you to really get this next part of letting go, I have to give a lil' Psych 101 lesson sampled from Harville Hendrix's Imago therapy.
The things that attract us to someone are the things we deny or hide in ourselves. I can't tell you how many men I've tried to mother because I feel as if I can't "do" life without my mother. I try unwittingly to force my relationships to conform to my lingering unmet needs. It gets ugly real quick.
As a coping mechanism, unflattering, traumatic, or uncomfortable events, thoughts, and points of view automatically get stored in our subconscious. Bringing them back out again is work. That is why relationships are work — they tend to shine a light on all our unprocessed pain. This next part is tricky, so stick with me.
Each one of us is already whole. However, our aversion to pain results in forgetting our connectedness. We then feel separated because the avoidance of pain takes precedence. The messages that pain is trying to communicate are suppressed, repressed, ignored, denied, or subjugated by circumstance. We cut ourselves off from our wholeness through this instinctual avoidance. But the body and mind seek to feel whole. Total numbness isn't sustainable.
We long for integration in the face of abandonment. Therefore all the places that we're unwilling to feel pain, we feel a muted version of it in the form of desire. Desire then becomes the guiding force for us to realize and release our pain because it can prompt us to choose people and situations that will facilitate new awareness. We somehow gravitate to partners and lovers who mirror the pain we wouldn't allow ourselves to feel.
Basically, your ex has all the qualities that you're unwilling to look at inside of you. We're attracted to what we wish we could be and think that we're not. The interactions that result in attraction are in fact open doors to learning more about yourself by relating to another person. This creates a feedback loop. Your breakup is shining a bright light on the beliefs that originated with the avoidance of pain, which then resulted in patterns of behaviors that tanked the relationship. In summation of our lil' Psych 101 lesson, we're attracted to people who give us the chance to process our unmet needs because when we're loved for the things we feel are our flaws, we feel whole again.
I'm sipping my chai tea right now and wondering, "Did that make sense?" I'll keep trying to explain.
We want things in other people that we won't let ourselves express. I dated an artist whose parents totally paid his way. I wanted that kind of support. I wanted to be able to run off at a moment's notice and be irresponsible. But, goddamn it, my parents died in their fifties and that meant and means there is no one to fall back on. It's all on me, which made a partner who could escape both attractive and annoying as hell.
You don't know me, so let me clarify: dad, heart attack at age fifty-three; mom, colon cancer at age fifty-seven. My boyfriend had both his parents, their money, and their unwavering support. When my parents died, I had their money — $200K. But I wanted to be my ex. Since I couldn't do that, I tried to make him "independent," like me. My unresolved pain and lack of awareness was the thing that led me into and out of that relationship.
You see, it wasn't ever about him. I was trying to heal myself so I could do what I came to earth to do. My real breakthrough was when I realized that letting go of the pain had everything to do with giving myself permission to feel it rather than place blame on the events that created it.
I hope that whole explanation just got highlighted and that you wrote something in the margins like, "I'm the person I've been looking for!" I invite you to reframe your breakup as a completion of a cycle. We look for ourselves in others. When we feel loved, we are reminded that pain won't kill us. But the avoidance of it will destroy us. Forgiveness stops avoidance.
Letting go allows for surrender. Surrender creates a pathway for unresolved pain to be processed rather than walled off. As our pain comes into consciousness we may feel guilt for not knowing better or doing better. That's okay. You did what you knew how to do. Learn from it and grow.
Letting go will create greater self-awareness. New awareness requires forgiveness so that you can be released from your past.
Forgiveness and Healing
What is forgiveness anyway? I offer you this: forgiveness is not holding yourself or another hostage to the past. It means giving yourself permission to be who you are — a perfectly flawed human who had an imperfect relationship.
It's over. Everything you were building toward, the time you invested, and the moments you shared stopped. Who is to blame? What is to blame? Is there even anything to blame? I invite you to invest less time in avoiding the pain by playing the blame game and more time forgiving yourself and your ex.
But how do you forgive someone who hurt you so badly? How do you even begin to be kind to yourself after making such a dumb mistake? Hey, at least you tried. You put your heart out there. You got hurt. Now you have some big decisions to make.
Allow yourself the grace to say enough is enough and start to construct new boundaries. Oh, boundaries. I can hear the Dr. Phils of the world using this word as a catchall. We've talked about dropping our barriers and not walling off. How can we do that and still have boundaries? What do boundaries have to do with forgiveness?
Well, we teach people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. We learn how to treat ourselves by how people treat us. Letting go and forgiving can break destructive cycles so that we can have healthier relationships. Breaking destructive cycles is the same as setting healthy boundaries. So forgiving yourself and others is a healthy way to set boundaries.
If you're afraid to hurt your ex, if you're a people pleaser, then setting boundaries is brave. In other words, if it's over, let it be over. Bishop T.D. Jakes has a powerful sermon where he says, "There are people who can walk away from you. When people walk away from you, let them walk! ... Your destiny isn't tied to this person who left, people leave because they aren't joined to you. You just have to let them go. ... You have to know when a person's part in your life is over so you don't start trying to raise the dead." Love won't leave or forsake you. Trust that losing a relationship doesn't mean you lose your ability to love or be loved.
Just keep surrendering the pain. Keep letting go. Keep forgiving.
Is this starting to sound like all the other books out there? Ugh, I know, right? But there is no way I could write this without including the timeless lesson of forgiveness. Without it, we don't get a chance to try something new because we keep trying to repair the old. You can't skip over learning to forgive.
The noun forgiveness means the act of pardoning someone or something. To pardon a sin is to have mercy on the sinner. A sinner is simply a person who didn't stick the landing. The verb forgive means to actively behave in a way that demonstrates releasing yourself and others from accusation, blame, condemnation, judgment, and sentencing. Can you imagine the freedom you can have right now if you don't make yourself or your ex wrong for what went down?
Do it. Imagine your relationship as one of many poignant experiences you'll have in your lifetime. To forgive is to accept that what has been done to you was also done for you. Your relationship was your experience to have and so is your breakup. In some ways, forgiveness is the acknowledgment that there is something bigger than your agenda unfolding here. Like, "Okay, universe/God/whatever, I don't understand exactly what is going on here, but I'm going to surrender my agenda and see what happens next."
Did you have an agenda in the relationship? Don't lie. Did you? Some of us feel bad about not being perfect (in everything we do) and that's why we keep trying to improve ourselves. But self-help is kind of redundant if you consider that what is happening is what is supposed to happen. The thing that needs to shift is our perspective.
Forgiveness requires shifting your perspective. The roots of forgiveness begin by naming everything just as it is and accepting the past for what it was. Name it. Feel it. Then take inspired action to change it.
Do you know what happens after you let go and you forgive? Your life begins to change. Shit starts to shift. Old stuck patterns clear up. Then, like a winter's thaw, new life arrives. New possibilities spark the soul. Destiny coaxes you forward with inspiration.
To be inspired simply means to be connected and tuned in. "Like, dude, chill out and feel the vibes. Mother Earth is trying to talk to you." Imagine sitting under a redwood tree or a massive tree with deep roots and sharing in the energy of that. Start to imagine you're rooted like that tree. It feels good, right? Letting go will feel good. Forgiveness will feel good. And inspiration will feel great because we can surrender what was for what else is possible.
If we act from this place of connection then there is no other option but to forgive because we can see that the same pain we're enduring isn't ours alone to bear. We're all in this together. We all feel disconnected from time to time and lean on each other to restore that connection. I like to play "Lean on Me" on loop until I feel inspired enough to go to the gym or do something other than obsess about the meaning of my life. Music, dancing, and being creative go a long way in being able to let go.
Learning to let go is an ongoing action. In simple terms, it's a form of acceptance — if not the purest form of acceptance. You can let go and forgive in any situation. But both are skills that take practice. Like any skill, letting go and forgiveness take time to master.
On the onset of your breakup, forgiveness may not look like forgiveness at all. From the outside, it may look as if you're blaming your ex for the breakup or wondering, "How could I have been so stupid?" Because he was hot. I was horny. I was tired of being alone. Right?
It's easy to come up with all the reasons you got together but not so easy to explain why love slipped through your hands. A breakup can make you feel as if there is an automated tape playing in your mind. You spend endless days and nights imagining elaborate scenarios or long-winded conversations that could have led to a different outcome. The what ifs bang around in your mind like a shoe in a dryer. Reclaim your mind by letting go.
When going through my breakups, my ego was always like, "Yeah, they're uneducated and ignorant of their 'wounding'" — the pitfalls of being a counselor is that you're too educated for your own good sometimes — "and they're dumb and I'm right." But I still kinda wanted them to like me. So then I would start to work on "fixing" myself, which meant more education that lead to my mind running the show. The head can protect you to a degree but it can't connect you to your destiny like your heart can.
Excerpted from "Breakup Rehab"
Copyright © 2017 Rebekah Freedom McClaskey.
Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Breakup Rehab: The Twelve Steps
Step 1: Forgive by no longer holding yourself or others hostage to the past.
Step 2: Own your part by taking full responsibility for the restoration of your sanity.
Step 3: Make a continual commitment to act from a place of wisdom.
Step 4: Trade your judgment for curiosity and compassion.
Step 5: Uncover your unique life purpose by saving your own life.
Step 6: Take fearless inventory of where your choices have led you.
Step 7: Focus on what's working for you and what you're truly thankful for.
Step 8: Travel your unique path.
Step 9: Recognize the strength in your vulnerability.
Step 10: Be true to you— maintain integrity while moving forward.
Step 11: Embrace the reality that relationships are the place to give.
Step 12: Start over stronger and share true connection.
LiberationAbout the Author
What People are Saying About This
"Rebekah Freedom McClaskey's book will open your eyes to how fabulous you've always been. Breakup Rehab made me run faster and jump higher, and it made me incapable of dating losers." Meaghan Hammarsten, owner of Morning Dove: Self-Discovery and Projection"A reassuring guide through the steps of putting yourself back together after a breakup. If your heart is broken, this will help you heal." Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners
This is not an Alcoholic Anonymous branch-off book. Although it was created from the blue-print that is AA. This is not a “Get your ex-back” book. Although you may end up getting back with your ex. This is not a “Learn the tricks” book. Although you may get the exact tool you needed to shift everything. And mostly this is not like every other breakup book on the market. It was written as a love letter to you.
I get you are reading this book for one of two reasons: You want to go back or you want to move forward. Of those reasons there are endless variations. Some people are feeling a sense of contrition for not being the person their significant other wanted them to be. Others are reacting to loss, fear of being lonely, or just really love the person they lost and can’t imagine life without them. I’ve been there. But, this is not about me. It is about us.
Breakup Rehab has existed in the world for four years now and through a series of miracles, it has been reborn anew. It took me two years and three breakups to write the original manuscript. Then it took another year to edit the book and birth it into the world using Amazon Create Space. After it was self-published I mostly ignored it.
Then, in a seemingly unconnected action, I wrote an article for Elephant Journal and got a response from my now book agent. Then I got a book deal with New World Library. I share all of this to say, that when I was first wrote Breakup Rehab it was from the perspective of having been freshly broken up with. And it has been years since that breakup. In the years following I’ve dated, practiced radical self-love, and dug deep into the realm of relationship.
So, reading Breakup Rehab will be a comprehensive experience that will handhold you through grieving your loss to learning the necessary steps you need to create the love you want.
I pride myself on pushing the edges of awareness and digging up perspectives that are unencumbered by tradition. That being said, we all have to start somewhere and the best place to build from is the wisdom of those who have come before us.
This book is predicated on conventional wisdom in that I preach that familiar sermon of “loving yourself first.” It follows a set of guidelines that were gleaned from the Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 steps. The central premise of the twelve steps is to surrender to a higher power and to not skip steps. Breakup Rehab was built from the essence of the 12 steps but deviates from its format in that the steps are not identical and they esteem awareness of our choices as the premise needed to relate to a higher intelligence. Also, while the original 12 steps are intended to convert addiction into sobriety, Breakup Rehab seeks to reacquaint the individual, or half of the couple, with the absolute knowing that he or she is a powerful creator.
And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about being a powerful creatorif you don’t learn the techniques needed to acquire and maintain a healthy relationship, life is going to basically suck. In other words, maybe your breakup is an opportunity for you to break tradition and figure out what actually works for you.
That may sound stupid. But don’t stop at the edge of your understanding. Keep reading and everything will start to make sense.
The skills required to navigate contemporary life let alone relationship have to be acquired and refined through practice. There’s a lot of information to sort through with a variety of messages to subscribe to. “It is a hopeless place for the hopeless romantics”. “It is a cynical place for the cynics”. And relationship is a spiritual place for those to see beyond the veils of comparison right to the clarity of knowing we are all in this together.
Okaymy work here is done. Just kidding.
I also know if you are reading this book it is because you want epic sex; because you want to wake up next to someone who “gets you”; because you thought you had that; because you realize you didn’t but wish you did; because being single sucks; because being with the wrong person sucks; because you had a friend tell you about this book and you will try anything; because drinking isn’t working; because drinking is working too well; because you lost yourself and want to find yourself; because you’re tired of dating apps; because you didn’t know you could hurt like this and you want it to stop; because you want to get back out there; because you “want them back”; because the internet doesn’t have the answers on this one; because you don’t know what to do.
So, while the most complete thought we can think is “we are all in this together” the last thing in the world we want to feel is that we aren’t. There is a story of two horses that can pull more weight in tandem than they can alone. That is to say, that we can do more together when in harmony with one another than we can do alone. Conversely, when you are “unequally yoked”, as it states in the Bible, one person ends up pulling more weight than the other. Simply, being in this together does not mean that you don’t feel alone.
I’ve been there in every capacity from madly in love, to chronically single, to experimenting with being a slut, to celibacy, and to infinity and beyond. And I’ve brought back a gift from my journeysthe twelve steps of Breakup Rehab.
This is the definitive guide to getting your life on track and learning to love without limits. Turn the page and begin your journey now.