Shame and embarrassment after a breakup

By Leah Sheppard

Shame and embarrassment after a breakup

Embarrassment is a feeling we all know and have felt way more often than we would like. From a young age we have understood what it’s like to do something that gains us the wrong sort of attention, and the absolute fearful desire to never have it happen again.

When it comes to a breakup, ‘embarrassment’ is unfortunately part of the terrain. Any of us who have been dumped before know that with rejection comes an unwanted shame, whether it was our fault or not. You weren’t good enough’; ‘you didn’t see it coming’; ‘you chose the wrong person, that’s why this happened to you’ – ‘You’, ‘You’, ‘You’. It’s amazing how we assume blame so easily when we run it back in our heads.

It’s even worse when it’s our friends, family and Facebook get to finding out too. Even if they aren’t saying it, we have this constant belief running through our minds that everyone is judging us for not being good enough to keep our partner, or saying ‘I told you so’; perhaps because we may have even done it to someone else in the past. Pitying looks, mutual friends with your ex may stop talking to you; and oh the unwanted spotlight that we get thrown into when Facebook announces we are ‘no longer in a relationship’. It’s hard because you so genuinely thought you were doing everything right, and suddenly it feels like you got everything wrong.

Look, we have waaaaay too much going on in life that we have to worry about without having to second-guess ourselves, and our abilities as a fully-functioning adult woman. Yes, being dumped is a kick in the guts, and yes we may have got some things wrong. But so what?! So what if we believed in happily-ever-after with our ex; So what if we chose someone to love that in the end didn’t love us back; So what if we chose to see the best in someone? These are the attributes of a caring, compassionate and loving individual, and being blind-sided by something you had absolutely no control over is NOT a reason to feel anything less than you are. Healthy reflection on your actions and attitude is fine; But running through every fault, and every deed you had done trying to reconcile why they left, and what you could have done to stop it only makes your recovery harder and more painful. It also makes you fearful for potential relationships in the future.

In our pursuit of happiness in life there will always be some stumbling blocks. There are so many things that you cannot control, and the actions of another are exactly one of those things. What you can control is the way you deal with it.

Treat your breakup like falling over on the street. You didn’t plan for it, you didn’t see it coming and it hurt like hell. Everyone may be looking, some may even laugh. But do you sit there on the sidewalk and tell yourself ‘I shouldn’t have gone outside’, ‘I should have kept my head down the whole time so that nothing would ever hurt me’.

No. You pick yourself up; you dust yourself off, and keep walking your fine ass down the road. You are a good person, with a kind heart that is going through some stuff and dealing with it the best you can. There is no room on this trip for anything or anyone trying to bring you down; only love and support – especially from yourself!

Remember, one foot in front of the other; and dream, risk, hustle and repeat as necessary.

embarrassment after breakups



1 comment

  • thank you for this post! This helps me so much.

    Lee on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published