How to Use The Books and Workbook to Do the Work !

This page is in response to many questions about how to use the books in what order etc.  There are links to finding the podcast and the videos at the end.  Please supplement the books with the podcasts and the videos. Use the audiobooks as reinforcement.

These steps are also listed in the Workbook V3.  For a list of all the GPYP/GPYB and GBOT resources to help you do this work, go HERE

The work is BEST DONE using the paperback or electronic copy of the books or using the audiobook  with the workbook. The audio should be used as REINFORCEMENT, not as the original way to absorb the material.

GPYB is the most successful, comprehensive breakup program in the world and one of the first books to discuss breakup grief and no contact and how to resolve historic (meaning, in your personal history)  unresolved loss and move on to a happier and healthier relationship at some point.  This is the most comprehensive program for getting over a breakup and getting on with a NEW LIFE. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is the Workbook Called “Getting Past Your Past”?

This program started out as GETTING PAST YOUR PAST in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the mid-1990s. ‘

It was in hiatus from 2000-2005 when I went to law school and worked grueling hours as a first and second year associate.

In 2005, it was restarted in New York as a much smaller version, and a blog, for a handful of students. 

After a few of the posts were forwarded to friends and then friends of friends of students, the blog went viral.  The post that caused the biggest sensation was When The Person You Love Doesn’t Love You.  That article has been ripped off so many times, I have had to pull it, but the video is HERE.  That article led to the publication of GPYB and will be the subject of my next book.

The program began in the 1990s as Getting Past Your Past, a general self-improvement seminar/workshop/course. It became Getting Past Your Breakup after most of the attendees were coming off a breakup/going through a divorce and asking for the BOOK (which did not exist).  (There is, believe it or not, an author named Susan Elliott with a book Getting Past Your Past.  People mix us up all the time.  She’s a Christian writer and my books are secular, so we are not even remotely connected. There is ALSO a NEW book by Francine Shapiro about EMDR which is a GREAT and SUCCESSFUL methodology to deal with trauma and abuse.  Her book is also called Getting Past Your Past (but came long after I had coined GPYP).  You CANNOT copyright titles, but we were using it on the internet way back when and in you look at the WayBackMachine, you will see that…but it’s fine…whatever…just know that WE HAVE BEEN GPYP since 1994.)  

But back to how this restarted in New York: The small GPYP classes (mostly the motivational part of the program – 2 hour classes for 6-20 people each week for 6 weeks) became WEEKEND seminars for 30-50 people who came from around the country and several came from outside the US.

At the seminars, people clamored for “the book.”  There had been NO talk of or plans for the book…but it became a reality when an international women’s organization asked for the book.  Since GPYP was a generic motivational program and most of my attendees were people getting over a breakup, I focused the first book on breakups. Although breakups are the main focus of the program, the program takes you back to your past and onto your future.  Hence, the Getting Past Your Past and Getting Back Out There.

So Getting Past Your Past is the ORIGINAL name of the program and we came ON the internet in 2005 with and later   and we were the first to use it.  When we noticed the OTHER Susan Elliott’s book, we moved to referring to the program as Getting Past Your Breakup (  We had for a short time, but it wasn’t really necessary.  So that is the EXPLANATION as to WHY the WORKBOOK is named Getting Past Your Past.

2. When did the first book get published?

Getting Past Your Breakup (2009)

When Getting Past Your Breakup was published, it became a critical success and was named’s 2009 Breakup Book of the Year. 

Because of the attention paid to grief (no book had ever done that before) and introducing the concept of No Contact and insisting upon Boundaries and Self-Care as well as the EXERCISES and CLEAR ROADMAP to get over a breakup, Getting Past Your Breakup quickly shot to the top of the breakup recovery literature.

Since that time, it has been hailed as one of the best breakup books of all time by Marie Claire, Bustle, Huffington Post, and many others…   You can check out some of the accolades it has received HERE as well as the many reviews on Amazon, B&N, and Good Reads (not a single review was requested or paid for or is by a family member or friend).

It has been released  in paperback, electronic, audio and 7 different languages.  If you have a request for a language, please contact Hachette Book Group regarding a translation

International Rights Questions –
Domestic Rights Questions –

Getting Past Your Breakup WORKS. 

3. How? 

This is how:


Buy Getting Past Your Breakup and Getting Back Out There wherever books are sold—on-line or brick and mortar and PLEASE REMEMBER TO REVIEW THEM!!! 

If not, go to a LIBRARY and check them out. 

If you don’t have an Amazon account, please go to review sites like Good Reads and review the books – every bit helps.  If you DO have an Amazon or Barnes & Noble account, please review on Good Reads as well.

You should start out with BOTH BOOKS (Yes, both books!)  and the Workbook. 

The workbook contains exercises from both books as well as the GPYP seminars from back in the day – material that is not in either book.

Getting Past Your Past: the Workbook contains every GPYP/GPYB/GBOT exercise. It’s the full, comprehensive enchilada.

Download the workbook from THIS PAGE 

The two books and the workbook work together. They are guidebooks and should be used as such. They should be opened every day while you’re going through this process (yes, ALL 3 – you will not absorb the 2 books, the workbook and the booklets one at a time – they are all meant to work together and these steps are in the workbook).

DO NOT SKIP portions of the program. That won’t work. Do it as it’s supposed to be done. It works!!!

If you do the Relationship Inventory too early, you will think you are over it when you’re not.  You will think you have uncovered everything when you have not.  You will take shortcuts that you really shouldn’t take.

This work is about working out the bad and working in the good.  There is a system to it and it’s been created over 25 years.  There is a rhyme and a reason to it – if you short cut it, you’re going to have less than optimal results.  Build your foundation; build your life.  Learn your lessons – don’t rush it.

There are 2 books and many articles and the Mean Lady Talking Podcast and the YouTube videos.  We offer courses, workshops, seminars and the boot camps as well as individual coaching and counseling for anyone around the world via Zoom video conference.  If you need the support, please join a boot camp or sign up for individual counseling!  

But this program from the beginning pages of GPYB to the last pages of GBOT, should be something you are familiar with and you see how all the parts work together.

Link to GPYB Amazon U.S.

If you are outside the US or want to purchase GPYB somewhere other than Amazon, go to THIS PAGE for options.

4. I have the 2 books and the workbook – how do I work the program?

Here are the steps:

1. Start with Getting Past Your Breakup (GPYB) paperback book and make sure you have NC, journaling, affirmations, and self-care down.

This does not mean just reading them but that NC, journaling and affirmations and self-care is full of your DAILY ROUTINE.  DO NOT jump to the RI too early. 

You MUST MUST MUST build a foundation under you BEFORE you do the inventories. You CANNOT do ANY of the inventories if you are actively grieving every day. 

This part (#1) can take MONTHS!  If you’re obsessing, you MUST do journaling every day and take the steps TO BUILD YOUR LIFE as outlined in the Obsession post HERE.  Don’t do the Relationship Inventory until you have the grief and obsession under control. It will JUST make it worse.   Go HERE for the Mean Lady Talking series on GRIEF

If you have issues with contact, watch the NC videos below. The No Contact concept – as the world knows it today – originated with GPYB WAY BACK in the early 90s and when GPYP introduced it on the internet in 2006. 

Since that time, no contact it has become a part of the cultural fabric, but it started with GPYB/GPYP.  Others have “bastardized” it as a way to get your ex back or to get back at our ex. It was NEVER intended to be used as either of those things. It is important to do it the GPYB way.  Not out of spite, not as a manipulation – but as a safe, healing space for you. 

While reading the book, you do not have to start at page 1 and go forward. If contact is an issue, go to the NC chapter in the book and this workbook. Watch the NC videos on the GPYP YouTube channel.

2. You should have read through the Grief chapter and understand the importance of balancing grief with self care: RE-READ CHAPTER ONE: THE ROADMAP TO HEALING in the beginning about balancing letting the bad out and the good in.

GRIEF: there are a few things to know about GRIEF. One is that it is going to dictate your breakup healing. If you ignore all the grief that came before this breakup and just zoom into the inventory, you’re going to repeat the pattern.

GPYB’s grief information is what separates GPYB from everything else (it’s NOW appearing in breakup books, but it was not that way before GPYB – and the attention to grief is what has made GPYB so successful.) Please visit the PODCAST pages and the YOUTUBE videos after you read the grief chapter in GPYB at least a few times and you are NOT in the throes of deep grieving. DON’T RUSH IT.

3. When you have a solid foundation of NC, affirmations, journaling and self-care and are not falling apart in grief, you can start the Relationship Inventory. This can be as early as 6-8 weeks but sometimes can take MONTHS or even a year or so.  DO NOT RUSH IT.

I also strongly suggest watching the YouTube videos especially for the affirmations. There is a new Power! Affirmations Booklet as of March 2019.  It is a VERY HELPFUL publication and will help you with absolutely everything. 

If you are still deep in your feelings and/or not succeeding at NC, DO NOT do the Relationship Inventory until you are.

In the very early days, just feel your feelings for a while.  Do a lot of SELF-CARE and stay NO CONTACT.  The most important thing in the beginning is grieving, self-care (including affirmations, and NO CONTACT).  Journal, journal and journal!!!  Journaling is VERY IMPORTANT!

Watch the CLOSURE video below!!!  

Read these important chapters in the book and workbook and do the exercises every day: Observation, Journaling, Affirmations (including Gratitude Lists) and Self-Care. These items MUST be part of your daily routine before you even think about doing the Inventories.

4. If you have kids, read Chapter 5 in GPYB and Chapter 7 in GBOT about parenting children after the breakup.

But the basics are FEELINGS, SELF-CARE (which MUST include Affirmations) AND NO  CONTACT.  If you don’t have these basics down, don’t go any further.

The Affirmations are VERY important. There is an emphasis on affirmations in both books. The Affirmation Section of the workbook was completely redone in V3 and we step up to LEVEL 2 in the brand-new Power! Affirmations Booklet available HERE and the Power! Affirmations course (available since May 2019). 

But you can START Affirmations from the Affirmation Booklet. It takes you through ALL the steps from beginning to end.  There is no better or more comprehensive guide to Affirmations than this Booklet. 



5. When you have a solid FOUNDATION of NC, affirmations, journaling and self-care and are not falling apart in grief, you can start the Relationship Inventory. This is usually after 8-12 weeks, but it can take much longer. It’s okay if you’re not ready at 8 weeks or even at 12 weeks.  Don’t worry about it. You may be processing other unresolved losses.  Your grief – depending on your history and depending on your circumstances – may take longer.  Don’t rush to the inventories. 

6. At this point when you have the solid FOUNDATION, it’s time to open GBOT. It does not mean you’re ready to date or anywhere NEAR ready to date. GBOT is NOT a book for when you’re READY to date.

To purchase GBOT from Amazon US

If you are outside the US or want to purchase GBOT somewhere other than Amazon, go to THIS PAGE for options.

GBOT is a book to GET you ready for a healthy relationship LONG before you are ready to date and that starts when you’re still in the middle of GPYB.



in GBOT (those are the “dating” chapters)

Instead, go to Chapter 4 in GBOT: The Standards and Compatibility List. After some of the thoughts and issues that came up in the Relationship Inventory START THIS. Out of all the things you’re going to work on between the 2 books, this is one of the MOST important and one you will hold near and dear long after you’ve forgotten your ex’s name.

7. As you work through your Relationship Inventory, pull out GBOT and review and re-review Chapter 4 in GBOT.  Then pull out the worksheets in the workbook for the Standards and Compatibility Inventory and the You/Me list.

8. Now, review Chapters 8 and 9 in GBOT, “The Early Relationship” and the “Couples Inventory” and journal about what is healthy and what is not. Think about your previous relationships and what you do and do not want.  Use the exercises in the Workbook to work through this.

These chapters are about what kind of relationship and what kind of partner you want. If you don’t figure this out LONG before you are ready to date, you will fail again. Start to formulate what kind of partner you want NOW. Journal about what your “3 a.m. person” looks like. OTHERWISE you will just fail again. You use these chapters to START an idea of what you want and to COMMIT to it…that when you are finally ready to date you will be able to figure out EARLY if someone is or isn’t it.

These chapters in Getting Back Out There, talk about the most important lessons of Accept It, Change It and Leave as well as communication issues and habits and lifestyles.  This is about learning what a healthy relationship looks like and that it is ACHIEVABLE.  

It’s not about trying to find someone you think is cute and funny and hoping your lifestyles and points of view mesh, but of figuring out what you NEED to have in your life to support your life and what you’re willing and able to do for someone else in their life without giving up who and what you are.

Even though it’s called “The Early Relationship” and the “Couples Inventory” these chapters in GBOT give you ideas about what kind of relationship you want to have and what kind of partner you want to have. It’s about starting to FORMULATE what you want in a partner and in a relationship. It’s about what is healthy and what is not.  Take the time to really think about this and figure out what kind of partner will complement you and be the right type of person for you.

You MUST take this time between relationships to know what you want so that when you DO start to date, you will know immediately when to walk away. If you don’t take this time to figure all this out and COMMIT to yourself to walking away when it’s NOT RIGHT, you’re going to fail again and again and again.

KEEP FORMULATING what you want in a partner. Keep asking yourself these questions and getting this stuff DOWN and committing to this and not settling for less NO MATTER WHAT.

You have to get right about all that as you work through the rest of your breakup issues.

There is A LOT of food for thought in GBOT long before you are ready to date. Read it all (save the first 3 chapters and chapters 5 and 6 for when you actually ARE ready to date)

9. Make a commitment via Affirmations to moving away from any future potential mate the minute they exhibit “Not Acceptable” behavior or are obviously missing a “Must Have.” The advanced affirmation material will include these commitment statements.

10. While reading the GBOT chapters, journal about Accept It, Change It or Leave, Communication Issues and Habits and Lifestyles. Think about what you do and do not want in a partner. Continue the commitment statements.

11. Finish your Relationship Inventory and Your Letter and Letting Go Ritual (the letting go rituals are in the Workbook)

12. Open the Life Inventory/Mother Inventory/Father Inventory in GPYB with the idea of
what you want – it’s time to think about what you’ve had as far as relationships go and the influence of early caregivers (or absence caregivers).

13. When you’ve done the Life and Parent Inventories, it’s time to return to GBOT and do the
Sexual Inventory if you need to.

14. If you are ready to work on Overdeveloped Defense Mechanisms, go to the Overdeveloped Defense Mechanism chapter in this workbook. GPYB Productions is developing a Family of Origin course. Check the Resources page for availability.

15.  Now is the time to read the Real Love Chapter in GPYB

16. Now it is time to read and work through the first 3 Chapter of GBOT. Good luck!

At this time, if you are working with books like Codependent No More or Women Who Love Too Much or whatever, it’s time to make a full program of your own and make it all work together.  For a list of GPYB Recommended Books and Authors go HERE

In addition to the books and the workbook, please check out the Mean Lady Talking Podcast and the YouTubeVideosBy Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. 

If you get something from the books and workbook, please review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Good Reads and Facebook (the workbook has its own Facebook page HERE)  THANK YOU!!!

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