Why Did They Do This to Me? Why Did I Do This?

Why Did They Do This to Me? Why Did I Do This?

After a breakup, almost everyone agonizes with the same questions: “Why was I abandoned? Why did they do this to me? Why did I do or did I do that? What did I leave or did I leave for?”

Something inside of us makes us rack our brains, looking for an explanation for what happened. Until there is clarity, there is no peace! Thoughts bring us back to events and people again and again.

As soon as we find an answer that seems right, we are relieved: “That’s why the other person acted that way! It’s just that he/she…” Next come character assessments, conclusions about the qualities of the other person, about the reasons for his or her behavior. Like: there were problems in the other person’s family; his mother was bossy; his father did not love him; that is why he behaved this way!

But do our conclusions correspond to reality? Do our conclusions make any sense at all? Let me tell you how our mind works in these cases, and then everything will immediately become clear to you!

There are two mechanisms of our psyche that work.

How the first mechanism works is well illustrated by the experience made at the end of the 19th century by the famous doctor Berngheim, a hypnotist. The hypnotized person was led to believe that after he was brought out of the trance, he should take the umbrella of one of the guests from a coat rack and open it. As he was compelled, the man does so. He is then asked the question, “Why are you in the room opening the umbrella?”

Before you read any further, try to imagine what the person will answer.

It would seem that one would expect the answer to be, “I was ordered to do so,” or “Out of an inner impulse that I can’t explain to myself.”
But when the hypnotist asked: “Why did you take the umbrella?”
The man answered without delay, immediately and confidently: “I wanted to see if it was my umbrella lying there!” There was no doubt!
When he was then asked why he was holding someone else’s umbrella, he was extremely astonished and hurriedly took it to a hanger.

The motives expressed did not correspond at all with the real reason for the action and were evidently invented, though the man’s mind was quite satisfied with them. He was convinced that he had opened the umbrella of his own free will.

From this experience we can draw the following conclusion.

We have a subconscious part. We do not control it, but it keeps us in control.

We can observe in ourselves impulses of desire and reaction to something. We are compelled through feelings and sensations from within to do or not to do something. We don’t consciously create these reactions. And we certainly don’t want to live through unpleasant ones, such as fear, anger, resentment, irritation, etc. At the same time, they arise in us without our permission.

The same is true of desires. We simply want something very badly. The desires come by themselves.

How do all these reactions and desires get into our subconscious? I don’t think anyone can answer that for sure. In the experience described above, the desire to open the umbrella was put in by the hypnotist. We are hypnotized by hundreds of people in the course of our lives, starting with our parents. Upbringing is also a kind of hypnosis, where certain reactions, evaluations, and stimuli are put into us. But this hypnosis continues even after we grow up. We do not know the contents of our subconsciousness. That is the motives of our deeds are unknown sometimes even to ourselves. We just want to do it this way.

There is a second mechanism of our consciousness. When we do not understand our own or others’ actions, we become very anxious. A sense of danger emerges.

It is uncertainty that poses a danger to our psyche. Therefore, we need to find an explanation for what is happening so that we can feel grounded again.

How does our mind find the explanation? Very simply! By old patterns, by the stories we hear, by similar situations. Very roughly. The main thing is convincing. That is, our mind doesn’t need the truth, it needs to quickly explain to us why things are the way they are. To relieve intense anxiety and worry.

This is the reason we search so painfully for answers to the questions: “Why was I abandoned?” and other such questions. But can we accurately answer these questions when not even the person who left us can answer them? At best, the answer is along the lines of, “Feelings are gone.” Why are they gone? Who knows! Or at first everything was fine, and then it stopped. What’s more, between “everything is fine” and “I don’t want to be with you anymore” can take decades.

A practical tip is to pay attention not to the intrusive questions that arise in your mind, but to the feelings of anxiety and worry. Shift your attention to your body when the question of your motives for breaking up with the other person reappears in your mind. You will feel something uncomfortable in your body.

The point of the question in your mind is not to find the right answer, but to get rid of that unpleasant sensation. If the discomfort disappears, you become completely uninterested in these questions. And you will calm down.

About the Author

Monica Cross

I have several hundred happy couples to my credit. For many years I have been practicing and helping couples. Or singles, but who have problems with love affairs. Over my career, I've picked up some tough issues. I'll write about them here. All names have been changed and all stories and issues are published with permission (where appropriate).

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