Is FEAR holding you back from moving on after your breakup?

Uncategorized Nov 17, 2020

When I ask my clients what they think is stopping them moving on after their breakup, more often than not, the answer is FEAR.


The fear can be about many different things such as:

  • The future and what that looks like for them now
  • Being alone and single for the rest of their lives
  • Being with someone else after a long-term relationship ends
  • Financial security
  • Being rejected and hurt again


What is Fear

Fear is a natural, powerful and primitive human emotion. Our brain is programmed to keep us safe, so fear alerts us to the presence of danger or the threat of it. It’s not a sign of weakness. The threat of danger can either be real, such as a fire, or imagined like a fear of being single for the rest of our lives.


Your body responds physically when you’re faced with a fear. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released. Your blood pressure and heart rate can increase, and you start breathing faster.


Early humans were often in situations of physical danger, so they needed the fast strong responses that the fear evoked, and which caused a fight or flight response. For example, when they were faced with a bear, they could either stay and fight or run from it.


Fear can be a one-off feeling in response to a trigger or an everyday long-lasting problem. Although we don’t face the same threats today, our bodies still react to fear in the same way as our ancestors, for example going for a job interview, on a date or taking an exam.


We can’t physically fight or run away from the situations we face today. We either freeze and stop what we’re doing to focus on the threat and decide what we’re going to do, or we do fight or flight where we either deal with the situation directly or work around it. When the situation is overwhelming for us, we can experience fright where we do nothing but obsess about the situation, dwell on it and complain. If we stay in this response it can lead to depression and anxiety.


We react differently to real and imagined threats. Imagined threats can cause paralysis. Being scared about all the bad things that may or may not happen in the future causes you worry and anxiety, but you take no action because you’re stuck and overwhelmed.


Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and be over very quickly, or they can last much longer causing you to get stuck.


You can become overwhelmed by fear and avoid any situation where you expose yourself to it. Or you can be afraid that you try something to become unstuck and fail at it, or you can fear that the new things you try will be worse than where you’re at now.


Because our brains are designed to keep us safe, they want to keep us in our comfort zones as that’s what we know, even if that’s not the best things for us, for example being in a relationship that’s not good for us. We stay stuck because we know stuck and it’s familiar – even if familiar is bad for us.


Being stuck is not somewhere you want to be. It can make you feel hopeless and useless and a failure. You can end up convincing yourself that this is just the way it is and there’s nothing you can do about it.


At the crux of every fear is the limiting belief that you can’t handle the situation or that you’re not good enough.


But there are lots of things that you can do to help yourself become unstuck. Here are some tips that may help:


  1. Understand your fear – This is not always as easy as it sounds, and you may need to reflect on it. What are you really afraid of? It could be useful to journal on it and keep asking yourself what you’re really afraid of so that you can go deeper to get to the underlying cause. For example, you’re afraid to start dating again, because you fear being rejected again as then you’d feel like you’re not good enough and feel worse than if you’d done nothing.



  1. Know what you’re trying to achieve - Understand what you want for your future as this gives you a reason to face your fears. If you don’t tackle your fears, then you can’t reach your goals. If you want to find another partner, then you’re going to have to start dating again to increase your chances.



  1. Focus on the present – focus on what you can do in the here and now instead of worrying about the future. All we have at any point in time is the present – the past is gone, and the future hasn’t happened yet. This can help to reduce any anxiety.



  1. Reframe your limiting beliefs – we all have these, most of them are formed in our early childhood years. They don’t serve us well and just hold us back in life and keep us stuck. For example, you could have a limiting belief that you’ll never meet anyone else. If that’s what you’re telling yourself then that will become your reality. Look at the actual evidence for your belief. In reality there won’t be any – just because you haven’t met anyone YET doesn’t mean you won’t meet someone. Reframe what you’re telling yourself to “I haven’t met anyone else yet” or “I will meet someone else in time”



  1. Face your fears – not facing up to your fears makes them scarier and even more of a big deal. Break it down into small actions that you could take instead of looking at the end result which can make it too overwhelming. Think of it as rungs on a ladder. What small steps could you take to start tackling your fear for example, ask a friend if they could recommend a dating site, research the dating sites out there and which you like the look of. All you need to do is take the first step and you’ll start to feel better. Then you can take the next step which could be signing up for one of the sites and just having a look round on it. Over time you’ll look back and realise you’ve made some significant progress.



  1. Visualise success – Imagine yourself facing your fear or in the scenario that you fear. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and imagined so if you visualise the situation enough, when it comes to the actual event your body will be prepared for what to do. Successful athletes use this practice all the time. You could imagine yourself on your date having an amazing time, feeling confident, relaxed and happy.



  1. Imagine your future if you don’t address this fear – ask yourself how you’d feel if you’re still stuck in the same situation in a year’s time. Chances are you’d be pretty annoyed and frustrated with yourself. Surely facing your fear can’t be worse than how you’d feel still being stuck in a year’s time? If you’d still not been out on a date and you’d missed out on all the fun and been on your own for another year – how would you feel?



  1. Ask yourself what’s the worst that could really happen? - This can help you get a sense of perspective on the situation, especially if you’re completely overwhelmed. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you went on that date? You might not get on so you leave early – he might not like you, so you don’t see each other again. Is it really that bad in the scheme of things?



  1. Exercise – This is a great way to reduce any fear and anxiety as it changes your state immediately. If you can get out in nature, even better. It helps to remove yourself from the situation and gives yourself some space to think, to gain some perspective and come up with some solutions.



95% of what we worry about will never happen. Worrying is a waste of your time and energy as things rarely turn out as badly as you fear. Instead try and use that time and energy to take small steps to start tackling your fears. Every time you overcome a fear you create new neural pathways in your brain, so you become more confident and accomplished.


Life’s too short to stay stuck after your breakup, use the tips above to help move on and find the happiness you deserve.


If you need some support moving on after your breakup then drop me an email and we can book in a free discovery call to have a chat. [email protected] 


You can join my free Facebook group – The Breakup and Divorce Lounge here


I’d love to see you there. You’ll find a group of supportive women who get what you’re going through.







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