Support Group

Thank you for stopping by.  We have moved the commenting to a CLOSED Facebook support group which is a strong, tightly-knit support group.  To join be sure to answer the questions (why you want membership and you agree to the Group Guidelines [the pinned post]).  To keep the group safe, we do not approve anyone who does not answer the questions OR who JUST joined Facebook. If you don’t want to do FB because you’re NC and FB is a trigger, email me your real name and FB profile and then the NEW FB profile so I can approve it. For more about the groups we have to help support you through a trying time, continue reading.  All the links to all the groups are on the following page:

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The Wisdom of Hanging In There

Sully: Hang in there.
Toby: Hang in there? That’s the sum of your wisdom on the subject?
Sully: That’s the sum of my wisdom on most subjects.
~ Nobody’s Fool (film) written by Robert Benton 1994

Sometimes the simplest advice is the best. When we don’t know what to do, we should do nothing.

When we are overwhelmed by the enormity of our tasks and the state of our lives, we should look at things one day at a time or one hour at a time or one minute at a time.

It is imperative, a lot of times, to bring the solution down to the simplest task and the smallest measure of time otherwise looking at everything will just paralyze us. Continue reading

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Standards and Boundaries

You get what you put up with.

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Many of my Getting Past Your Breakup (“GPYB”) readers think that my second book, Getting Back Out There (“GBOT”) is for when you are getting ready to date again. Not so! Many people are leaving less than stellar relationships and yet pining for the person who treated them poorly or was a subpar human being overall (yes, I know that’s harsh but many of the stories I’ve heard are also harsh).

Once you get out you have to think back on what wasn’t good, what hurt you, and decide that you will never again put up with this treatment. You must have faith in yourself that it’s okay to have standards and boundaries and it’s okay to leave if your mate does not respect those boundaries or live up to those standards.
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Would You Love Me If You Know I’d Leave You?

The 1996 photo was taken during our wedding vows. The 2007 photo was taken dancing at my son’s wedding. We looked at each other with as much, if not more love, than on our wedding day. Michael was not a dancer. I was, during the parents’ dance, more or less dragging him around the dance floor and the smirks were our private jokes about that.

But, the years between those two photos had pounded us with many adversities but we stood together through thick and thin. I went back to New York after 2 years in Texas and left Michael there to sell the house. I had no idea the house would take 2 years to sell.  We spent a lot of money, not only on my Manhattan apartment and the Texas house, but flying back and forth at least once a month. We spoke every day.  It was a difficult separation but we trusted each other completely and never argued about anything in those years.
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Recycling in Recovery

Recently I’ve received several emails with similar themes. It can be summed up in a sentence in an email I received last night that said, “I thought I was over this. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. What does it mean?”

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Recycling in Grief or What? Not Here Again!

Requested repost

Grief is a spiral. But am I going up or coming down?” ~ C.S. Lewis

I talk about recycling in GBOT because dating often triggers recycling, but so does an anniversary date, the ex’s birthday, moving into your own place, going on a trip you were supposed to go on together etc etc etc. Many things can trigger recycling.  Recycling often happens after we’ve been thinking we’re starting to get over it. It can feel very upsetting to be back “there” once again.

There is a standard body of grief and loss literature but it’s still evolving. Still, I’ve read most of it over the past 20 years or so. I’ve written countless papers and 3 college theses on grief.

One thing that researchers do agree on is that grief is a process and it can vary wildly from person to person depending on the person, the loss, the type of loss, the person’s history with grieving (or not) and environmental and social factors.
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The Pathological NARCISSIST

A person void of empathy, love or enjoyment is not someone to love

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2008-2018



Kernberg and Kohut are known as the “fathers” of narcissism.  As I am hard at work on my new book based on this post, I have been re-reading Dr. Kernberg and Dr. Kohut. Many of my clients have been involved with pathological narcissists and it is difficult to treat them until they understand, truly understand, what pathological narcissism is. The bottom line is that a narcissist is completely incapable of love and void of empathy. This person will never ever ever love you. Any overtures they have made that appear to be love have simply been to get you to admire them.  Yet, because they suffer from feelings of inadequacy, they actually disdain those who admire them. There is NO winning with the narcissist. 

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D-Bom Moments

The “older” group of members (from the blog) tend to use D-Bom so I thought I’d share where it comes from for the newer members:

“We see and understand more about our behaviors. We come aware. And aware. And aware. . . Often, we feel uncertain about what to do with all this awareness.” – Melody Beattie

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
Copyright 2005-2018

A friend of mine used to say that her awareness was like “Dawn finally breaking over Marblehead.”

Marblehead is a coastal Massachusetts town. I started my journey in Rhode Island, but moved to Massachusetts within a couple of years. Marblehead in MA is used often by natives as a metaphor for a thick skull…and “Dawn breaks over Marblehead” is a Massachusetts expression which means “Duh. I finally get it.”

I think it’s a terrific expression to define a defining moment, an epiphany so to speak, and when I lived there I heard it used it all the time. I started using it because it sums things up quite nicely. I now call it D-BOM (DEE BOMB) for short. I’ve used that expression a lot in the more than 20 years since I first heard it. I used to use epiphany but d-bom is so much better.

The beginnings of awareness are incredible. We start to feel as if we’ve been asleep for a million years. Suddenly we can see, really see, what other people are really up to. Whereas everything baffled us before, we now have clarity. Sometimes we feel we have too much clarity. It’s like being on a diet and losing some weight where nothing you own fits yet you are not at your goal weight yet so you have nothing to wear. It’s a feeling that you’re in an in-between stage but you need to get where you’re going and you don’t know how. GPYP/GPYB/GBOT all require observation, preparation and cultivation. We start to observe our thoughts, feelings and interactions with others. We learn to step back and look at the world around us and the people in it. Then we start to prepare to change things and later we cultivate that change.
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Becoming Who We Are Meant To Be

I wrote this post in the second week of the blog. I had no idea the blog would lead to a book and be relevant 11 years later. AND that someone in a Facebook group would ask a question about how this happens. AMAZING.

Here is an oldie but goodie from December 2006. I am posting it in its original form.

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be” – George Sheehan

Each of us has a clue, somewhere deep inside, of what our life should really look like. Although there may have been a lot of setbacks, there are things we long for and things we think we would be if we were somehow born into another life, with different people, under different circumstances.

When I was a senior in high school I wanted to go onto college Continue reading

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There’s Hope after Heartbreak: 5 Things to Help You Heal

Don’t give up the day before the miracle happens

Every few months I read an article about someone who committed suicide after a breakup or a person who went on a shooting rampage after a breakup.

I urge people to spread the word that a breakup is a temporary thing and that you can get over it. Let people know that a breakup is NOT the end of the world. Then I will, inevitably, get an email from someone saying, “I’m not getting over it. I will never get over this.”

I want to address the “I’m not getting over this, I want to die.” feeling.

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Leaving The Abusive Relationship

Part 1 of 4: I Didn’t Know That I Didn’t Know

By Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2008-2018 All rights reserved

Abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, verbal and sexual. It can be but doesn’t have to be all 5. Just because someone isn’t hitting you doesn’t mean they are not abusive. Name calling is abusive, cheating is abusive. Feeling as if you’re walking on eggshells is abusive. Being put in no-win situations is abusive.

If you know someone in an abusive situation, it is imperative that you get them to understand all the things they might not know. I lost friends as a DV victim. I had people who truly cared but then were so put off when I went back.

What they didn’t know was what to tell me. These are all the things I needed to be told. Some are quite rudimentary and you would think a smart person like me would know them, but I didn’t. And chances are, if you are or know someone who is a DV victim, they don’t know them either.

I am a pretty smart person. Fairly high IQ, well-educated and born and raised in New York City. Street smart and book smart, yet I didn’t know that being a DV victim was not my fault or that it didn’t have to be that way. Not knowing is not stupidity. It’s just not knowing. Here are things to tell someone you love who might be in an abusive relationship. Abuse of any kind – physical, mental, verbal etc.

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My Relationship Ended. Now What?

How to face your loss, feel your feelings, and come out stronger than ever

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Time does not heal all wounds. If it did, no one would have unresolved loss or be bitter years after a breakup. 

Why We Don’t Know How to “Do” Grief

If you were hurt long ago, even as a very young child, you are most likely carrying it around inside.  Every new loss triggers the old grief and, before you know it, you are awash in crippling, debilitating grief that you attribute, wholly, to the most recent loss.  For those whose most recent loss is a breakup, many times they believe that the depth of the grief signifies how much they loved their ex-partner, how they will never get over it, and how – SOMEHOW, they have to put the lost relationship back together.

When little children hurt over a loss, whether they’ve lost a cherished toy, a good friend, a family member, or a pet, well-meaning but ill-informed parents, try to take the hurt away.

They offer ice cream, a new puppy, a better toy. It’s about distract and replace.  Children get the message that showing hurt is not okay and they shut it down. They think that replacing the loss is okay.  They think that eating ice cream or going shopping is the right way to deal. Very bad habits, sometimes full-blown addictions, are formed early in life because our caretakers taught us how to deal (or not deal) with loss and our feelings about it. 

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Moving On, Letting Go & Finding “The One”

When We Don’t Share Values and Morals, It’s the Wrong Relationship

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Several years ago I worked with a guy who was sweet, soft-spoken exceedingly polite and just all-around wonderful. He became engaged and gave his fiancée a $40,000 engagement ring and bought a very large and expensive house which was in the millions at a time when the real estate market was going bust. We were both working as attorneys at a high-powered law firm, but even for us, the price tags were incredibly extravagant. He never struck me as the type to be that materialistic. 

Then the next thing I knew it was over.

It turned out that she wanted the expensive ring and house and refused to settle for less.  In fact, she belittled him when he suggested downsizing a bit as they were just starting out in life.  She was very controlling and got upset even when he visited with his family including his mother and older brother with whom he was very close. She didn’t want him talking too much to his family. He had a twin brother and they were remarkably close (as twins tend to be) and she gave him an ultimatum where the twin was concerned. Limit his time with his brother or it was all over. 

Despite the fact that he loved her and would be ultimately saddled with both the house and the ring (he took a bath on both), he had to break it off. It was very hard for him (he doesn’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings and he is a church-going person who wrestled with the idea of calling off the wedding in front of his family and church members). When he broke it off, he felt guilty and embarrassed and experienced a very dark time immediately afterward. I didn’t know him all that well and yet he spent hours one night, at a firm event where we just happened to be seated next to each other, telling me all about it. It was obvious he was in excruciating emotional pain and that he needed to talk.

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Putting Change, Real Change, Into Your Life

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Your ultimate goal in life is to become your best self. Your immediate goal is to get on the path that will put you there. – David Viscott


A friend of mine said, yesterday, “I’ve broken all my New Year’s resolutions already.”  I have told clients (but, obv, forgot to tell friends as they hate being lectured) for years:  a New Year’s resolution stated once, and soon forgotten about, amounts to nothing more than a wish.

Many times the resolutions are gone by February (or, in my friend’s case, the middle of January). So the new “do over” time becomes Monday. Sometimes, for some people, it’s EVERY Monday because they lost their resolve the previous Wednesday and the Wednesday before that and the Wednesday before that. And that Monday to Wednesday ping-pong becomes their “normal.” And no matter how many times they do the Monday morning diet, they do the Wednesday afternoon snack attack. And then they think, “Well, I’ll start again on Monday.” As if, by some miracle, it will be different this time.

Are you guilty of this? If so, how can you break this cycle of broken promises to yourself? The GPYB workbook contains the Goals chapter which I could not convince my publisher needed to be in GPYB or GBOT.  This is a mini -version of it:

Well there are a few keys to breaking the cycle…..

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Courage, Hope and Deciding to Change

sunriseby Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow. ~ Dorothy Thompson

Tough times befall most of us; some, it seems, more than others. While there is some level of self-pity in our struggle for wholeness, there cannot be too much. Self-pity will de-motivate you. No one loves me will de-motivate you and to change and grow and have a happy life, (yes HAPPY!), you have to be motivated to charge toward that life.

To overcome what has happened to us takes courage and that courage is the power to continue to believe that we are good, life is good and there is always tomorrow which will be better than today.

Trudging onward takes a lot of work sometimes and we get tired and sometimes falter. Continue reading

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Grief vs. Self-Pity

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2007-2018

There is a difference between self-pity and grief.  It’s just not always easy to figure it out when you’re in the throes of emotion.

Last year someone asked me to describe the difference between grief and self-pity. Not that self-pity is necessarily wrong, but too much of it will keep you VERY VERY stuck.

Listen to your words, listen to your actions. Are you grieving and saying “I hurt and this sucks”? or are you saying “Look at what you did TO ME.” Therein lies the difference. Continue reading

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