Today Coach Anna and I are going to be sitting down and basically handcrafting through this podcast episode, the ultimate guide to dealing with anxiety after a breakup.

Let’s jump right in.

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How To Deal With Your Anxiety After A Breakup

Anna:
Yes. Yeah, I think it’s really great. It applies to I think basically everyone in our Facebook group.

Chris:
Yeah. There’s a lot of anxiety going on there. We’ve noticed a lot of anxious type of attachment styles are a lot of the clients that we’ll deal with. Anna, as always, came prepared. I tried to come prepared, but she was like, “Yeah, well-”

Anna:
You came prepared too.

Chris:
I had one thing.

Anna:
Your thing was gold, though.

Chris:
It was pretty interesting. But then you-

Anna:
You should talk about it.

Chris:
We will talk about it in the science section. Speaking of the science section, we’re going to be dividing kind of this episode up into three parts. Right?

Anna:
Yeah, yeah.

Chris:
Science and then more-

Anna:
The feelings and then what to do.

Chris:
Feelings and then what to do.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris:
That’s a great way. I’m so glad I have you as my partner here. Because I was literally blanking, I was like, “Okay, after the science, what comes after the science?” I already forgot. So, good thing that you’re here to save me.

Anna:
Well, we make a great team, so I’m excited.

Chris:
We do. We do. All right, so science.

Anna:
Science.

Chris:
Of anxiety.

Anna:
Oh, my gosh.

Chris:
Let’s go.

Anna:
Well, okay, you were telling me before we started about this drama triangle. I want to hear all about that. Tell me more.

Chris:
Yeah. So, my wife actually was … She sent it to me and she said, “Hey, you might be able to use this.” Or course, I said, “Oh, well what is it?” She said, “I don’t know, it just sounds cool.” Before we were doing this episode, I was like, “Oh, I’m going to learn about it.” So, I spent like 30 minutes watching YouTube videos and reading up about it. It’s called the Karpman Drama Triangle.

Anna:
Like Cartman from South Park?

Chris:
No, Karp, like Karp.

Anna:
I’m kidding.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah. Well, I do love South Park.

Anna:
I do.

Chris:
Especially World War Craft Episode.

Anna:
Yes. Oh my gosh.

Chris:
That was the jam back in the day. Now I haven’t watched it in ages. Okay, we’re getting off topic.

Anna:
We always get off topic though.

Chris:
Okay. So, the Karpman Drama Triangle, or as other people have affectionately called it, the Triangle of Terror, is basically this triangle of roles that you can find yourself trapped in and unable to get out of. Oftentimes this can be certain roles that you take on in a relationship. There’s three type of roles. There’s the victim, this is the type of person that’s going to say, “Oh, everything bad is happening to me all the time.” They’re often playing the victim. There’s the rescuer, this is the type of person that’s going to come to the victim and say, “Oh, I will fix your problems.” And then there’s the persecutor, which is someone who’s going to blame other people for all of their problems rather than taking any kind of self-blame whatsoever.

Chris:
What they’ve found is that people who are highly anxious or even sometimes highly depressed, seem to have these roles within this triangle, they’re unable to escape it. For example, a rescuer is a really common thing that I think a lot of the people in our Facebook group can empathize with. Because oftentimes they’re thinking or dating a guy and they’re sitting there thinking, “Well, I can be the one to solve their problems. I can fix this.” I think I have a bit of this, and that’s probably … You definitely have a bit of this because look at our jobs. We are trying to fix broken relationships. We’re the rescuers. But what ends up happening is if you’re too much of a rescuer, you never kind of want to fix the other person’s problems. You are always looking for more problems to solve. And really, your job should be to empower other people to help them learn how to solve their own problems.

Chris:
What ends up happening is sometimes, I guess I was watching this video of this guy who was explaining it. And he was saying he had a coaching client and the coaching client called him up one day and said, “I don’t know if we have anything to talk about. So, I went out and created a problem for myself so that we would have something to talk about.” Which is kind of an odd thing. But in her mind, it was like well, I don’t want to be spending money for nothing, so I created this problem. She was a victim and she found a way to put herself in the victim role again. So, you can constantly get trapped, and this works for all three roles. I don’t know how that applies to anxiety, I just found it fascinating.

Anna:
Well, I think it plays into this idea of a chaser and runner. If we put those parts of the triangle into the … The anxious attachment style is the chaser. And then the runner is the avoidant attachments styles, there are two of them, fearful and dismissive. Dismissive is far more rare, the fearful is much more common. I am a former-

Chris:
Yep, we know all about fearful.

Anna:
Yeah. I am a former dismissive avoidant. That’s kind of fun.

Chris:
Why don’t we kind of solidify the difference between fearful avoidant attachment styles and dismissive avoidant attachment styles.

Anna:
Okay. For purposes of ERP because the nomenclature varies outside of our group and among different experts. All right? But for the purposes of ERP, fearful is just your garden variety avoidant. Commitment-phobes, people who withdraw pretty easily, they also have anxious tendencies. Okay? But the dismissive avoidant … Well, fearfuls also crave emotional intimacy, but they’re afraid, hence fearful, to attach to someone romantically. All right? They often have this underlying belief of I’m going to mess things up eventually, so I should probably push this person away. That’s fearful avoidant in a nutshell.

Anna:
Dismissive is a person who actively avoids emotional intimacy. What will happen is they’ll appear very connected and great listeners on the outside, but when it comes to their own needs or forming close emotional attachments, they will actively avoid them. As a former dismissive avoidant, what would happen is I would get really close to people, and then at some point just push them away and completely shut them out. And it would be immediate and sudden and take forever. It would last a really long time. To try to get through to me, I would not. It would just be like a closed book. But I have tons of friends. That is the two differences.

Chris:
Okay. Those are the most likely what? In regards to anxiety.

Anna:
[inaudible 00:06:52]. Yeah. Well, anxiety is the chaser. So, those are people who need the almost constant validation. Their love languages tend to be words of affirmation or physical touch. Anything that … or gifts. Anything that validates to them or affirms that they are loved and they’re accepted. And they constantly need that. They also tend to overthink. In talking about the drama cycle, that one woman that you mentioned who created the drama.

Chris:
The victim, right.

Anna:
The victim. A lot of, I think, anxious people will play the victim. They’ll ask, “Why me? Why is this happening?” I had a coaching client today who clearly was anxious. I’m not a therapist, right? I’m not a mental health professional, I’m just a coach. But it was clear that she was anxious because she literally said, “I overthink.” And what happens in that overthinking is that she was completely misinterpreting everything that her ex was doing and saying through the lens of he doesn’t like me. She was not recognizing at all that his behavior is because the situation in which they found themselves was very awkward. She didn’t appropriately introduce him to other people. So, he was sort of alone. So, he’s going to withdraw and just be silent. And she thought that he was just avoiding her and didn’t like her at all. And she created this story in her head.

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris:
Well, that seems to be kind of the common theme you notice among sort of anxious attachment people, is they have these stories that they create in their heads. Almost like their own little reality. When the reality itself is a little bit different. I’ve noticed that a lot in talking with people in my own personal life, as well as coaching people or watching people in the Facebook group. A lot of times they do have that victim sort of mentality, but I’m not sure if this helps with regards to the science stuff that all the research that you had done coming into-

Anna:
Well, I mean, I think one of the studies that I had read, there were a couple of studies that I’m going to bring up here. One looked at brain scans of people recently out of relationships. It showed that social pain, in other words the emotional pain from a breakup or rejection of some kind, and physical pain, share the exact same neural pathways. What they saw in one study is that people who’d recently been through a breakup, whether or not they wanted the breakup, had their brains scanned while they looked at pictures of their exes and thought about the breakup itself. As they stared at the photos, guess what happened? The part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up. What this did is it induced feelings of social rejection. It’s activating regions of the brain that are involved in literal physical pain, which are rarely activated during other neural imaging studies of emotion. So, that’s really interesting, right?

Chris:
That’s really interesting.

Anna:
Imagine looking at … Apparently looking at pictures of things that make them happy-

Chris:
Social media, right.

Anna:
Yeah, right? But it induces sharp pain, so we can see why this creates this sort of anxiety. What it states is that social loss literally represents I think a distinct emotional experience that’s uniquely associated with pain. The brain, as we know, craves love. Being in love takes the lid off of various happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin and creates super happy feelings. When our ex leaves us, the supply of these feel good hormones takes a dive and the brain releases stress hormones, such as-

Chris:
Cortisol, right.

Anna:
And epinephrin.

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
What’s great about these hormones is that under stressful times, it allows us to respond quickly and effectively to threats. But in terms of longterm distress, such as heartbreak, these stress hormones literally accumulate and cause trouble. So, what happens in the brain? I hope you don’t mind that I geek out just a little bit more.

Chris:
No, geek out.

Anna:
Okay.

Chris:
You and me find this stuff fascinating, but everyone else wants to hear the feelings stuff. But let’s just go.

Anna:
They’re like, “Anna, shut up.”

Chris:
Let’s go down the rabbit hole.

Anna:
Okay. Let’s go down the rabbit hole, all right? Here are literally the physical symptoms of a breakup and how it happens. All right? Too much cortisol in the brain, so longterm distress, we have an accumulation of cortisol. Too much cortisol in the brain, what does it do? It sends blood to the major muscle groups. What happens then? Our muscles tense up and we’re ready to respond to a threat, like fight or flight. However, without a real need for physical response, I’m assuming you’re literally not fighting your ex, like punching him or her in the face.

Chris:
Right, let’s hope. We have bigger problems to fry.

Anna:
I mean honestly, if you’re listening to this, you just went through the breakup and you want to do that, don’t do that. Because that will put you in jail. And that doesn’t get an ex back. Anyway, the muscles have no opportunity to expend their energy. What happens then? The muscles swell and it gives rise to headaches, a stiff neck, and that awful feeling of your chest being squeezed. I’m sure, if you can remember any heartbreak, it feels like your chest literally it caving in on itself.

Chris:
Yes.

Anna:
Yes.

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
That’s why, because-

Chris:
18 years old, first heartbreak, that was the worst I’d ever felt. I’m telling you, my dad was like, “Hey, let’s go out to eat somewhere.” Because I love going out to eat. And I was like, “F no. I’m not even hungry.”

Anna:
You’re like, “No.”

Chris:
I’m feeling it in here.

Anna:
Okay, so what said … That’s great, because … Well, not great. But that leads to the next thing. Your muscles can’t have an adequate blood supply, thanks to the accumulation of cortisol again, it diverts blood away from your digestive system, which ends up causing loss of appetite, diarrhea, I’m sorry I’m talking about diarrhea.

Chris:
That’s crazy. That’s okay.

Anna:
Or cramps.

Chris:
That’s why I’ve got so many diarrhea problems as a kid.

Anna:
Oh, really?

Chris:
Too much heartbreak.

Anna:
Oh my gosh.

Chris:
I’m just kidding. You bought it too, that’s the greatest part.

Anna:
I did. I did, I totally bought that. I was like, “Oh no, poor Chris. Who broke your heart so many times?” Then what happens is at the stress hormones are running rampant throughout your body, your immune system literally begins to struggle, so increases your vulnerability, exposing you, making you more vulnerable to illness.

Chris:
COVID.

Anna:
And bugs.

Chris:
You get COVID.

Anna:
Yeah, COVID. That’s why a lot of people, after a breakup, they’ll experience a cold or the flu.

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
Right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
Again, there’s this steady release of cortisol, which will result in, guess what? Sleeping problems. And it interferes with your ability to make sound judgements. I remember after breakups I couldn’t sleep for a while. I was only sleeping like two, three, four hours a night sometimes.

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
Breakups activate the area of your brain that processes craving and addiction. I think if you’re a member of our Facebook group, you should have, or if you have coached with me, you will probably have already read a post about one of our moderators who’s literally a researcher. She did work on the COVID vaccine for one of the biggest biotech companies in the world. She wrote an article on the whole science behind no contact and it really talks about this whole craving and addiction that is generated as a result of the anxiety, which is a result of the excess cortisol and epinephrin in the body. That’s the science. Yay.

Chris:
Yeah, well you know, it’s funny, I just recently rewrote the gigantic free guide on the website on getting an ex back in general. In there, I put kind of a science type thing. One of the articles that we had written on [inaudible 00:15:06] recovery is called the Anatomy of a Breakup. We have a lot of graphics, almost like a sound system, you know how sound systems have all those buttons that you can kind of put up and down? Well, we kind of illustrate what all of the crazy chemicals look like. And it’s such an interesting thing because you can see boom, the only button up is cortisol. That was really fresh on my mind when you started talking. I was really geeking out as you were going through the science there.

Chris:
One thing that … I hadn’t actually heard the brain study that you were talking about, where they made them look at pictures and they felt the physical pain. I had heard almost an identical study where they were studying the craving and addiction aspect and they did the same thing. They got people going through breakups, they had them look at pictures of their exes, and they looked at what part of the brain lit up. And also, the same part of the brain that lights up is that cocaine addict withdrawal symptoms.

Anna:
Yes. I mean, literally your body is going through drug withdrawal.

Chris:
Right. And this is also why so many people … I always found-

Anna:
I want to interrupt here for a second. There were actually three studies on that. Not only is it the same area of the brain that lights up for drug addiction, it’s also the same area of the brain that lights up for obsession.

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, it makes sense. You know, a cocaine addict would also be so obsessive about it.

Anna:
So, it’s all the same. Yeah.

Chris:
But it kind of segues exactly into what I was about to say. I always find the searching habits of our customers fascinating. Because they’re always searching in really two places only. They’re searching in Google, which is the most common search. And it makes sense because they want to keep … They’re super obsessed about getting an answer to, “How do I stop this pain I’m feeling?” But I don’t want anyone to know that I’m going through the pain. And they’ll also go to YouTube. They’ll search on YouTube. So, there’s also kind of this element of self-loathing a little bit with regards to embarrassment about wanting exes back. Anyways, I just found that kind of interesting.

Anna:
Well, this segues really nicely into the feelings part of anxiety. For people in their early 20s, because we have a significant portion of people, I think both in coaching and within the Facebook group, who are in the early to late 20s. Often breakups like that could be the end of the very first significant, meaningful adult relationship. And even after a breakup like that of a first love, it can still make you feel like you’re getting stuck in this loop of finding the right partner. I mean, basically no matter what breakups suck, right? But breakups touch on many issues at once that has roots in the science of this anxiety. Sadness, insecurity, self-esteem, role identity, even sexuality. The sadness and the anxiety can amount to feelings of panic and obsession and depression.

Anna:
So, a person with obsessive or obsessive compulsive tendencies could suddenly feel the need to check their ex’s social media incessantly. And a more depressed person could end up just ruminating or just thinking a lot and just wallowing in a pit of despair and self doubt. But-

Chris:
Which-

Anna:
Go ahead.

Chris:
Which I guess goes to that victim sort of part of the triangle.

Anna:
Yeah, that victimhood. Back to your Drama Triangle.

Chris:
Yeah, right. There we go. Finding the connections.

Anna:
There you are. Anxiety is a lot more than just worrying. Research shows that anxiety comes up as part of distress and trauma. Like you were talking about in the Drama Triangle, what else can anxiety include? Again, it’s not just worry, it’s intrusive thoughts, it’s sleeping problems, it’s difficulty concentrating, it’s feelings of panic or pessimism of the future, it’s literally restlessness, it’s racing thoughts or obsession, it could be fixation. Nausea, repetitive behaviors, checking social media, reviewing all the texts that you ever sent one another or listening to all the voice messages or reading all the emails. I’ve done all of those things before in breakups.

Chris:
Yeah. I remember the text thing, I remember doing that. You look and catalog all the texts. That’s when you know you’re-

Anna:
That’s when you know you got it bad. And you’re talking about it with friends and family, even strangers. I remember once talking about a breakup of mine with a stranger, some random dude. And he was just like, “Okay, can I have your number?”

Chris:
He was very … He was after one thing, and that was not to help you.

Anna:
Yeah. It was to help himself, to me. And the answer to that was, “No, you cannot have my number.”

Chris:
You said that so perfectly, like the comic … You said it so perfectly.

Anna:
Aw, thanks.

Chris:
Sorry.

Anna:
My life is hilarious.

Chris:
I think it’s great. I think your life is great.

Anna:
I have a lot of funny stories. But overall, we feel completely consumed what’s happening or not happening. But the thing is, I think anyone who’s watching this needs to understand, it is 100% natural to feel anxious and to feel this level of anxiety you may have about this entire process of a breakup, trying to recover from a breakup, and even thinking about getting an ex back. And it’s okay to want an ex back. It’s also normal I think to seek immediate relief from distressing thoughts and feelings, that’s why we have family and friends who say, “Oh, just go date right away.” Or, “Stop thinking about your ex.” Or, “Just move on.” I want you to understand that this anxiety that you feel is actually a really good time to self-reflect and to really take good care of your own mental health. Unfortunately, everyone is likely to go at least through one or two breakups. You want to be better prepared for the next time it happens. So, anyway.

Chris:
Well, the anxiety and the feelings aspect, one thing I would definitely say that we notice a lot on the Facebook group is people not … They kind of allow that anxiety kind of to control their actions. That’s why a lot of times we’ll tell people to read Calming the Emotional Storm or To Gain Emotional Control. Because we do notice that that seems to have a huge impact on improving conversations with the exes, but also just improving your quality of life. Because it’s pretty miserable when you’re anxious all the time or depressed all the time or obsessive and checking your phone to see if he’s posted anything or she’s posted anything. And oh my goodness, what if there was someone new? And then that plagues your …

Anna:
Your day, your night. I mean, you’re just thinking, “Oh …” This is, I think it’s interesting, we also need to talk about people who have anxiety even before a breakup happens or who has an anxiety disorder. I was doing some reading on this. People with anxiety or an existing anxiety disorder, relationships can feel really scary. In order to get into a relationship, they can often think of so many reasons why the relationship won’t work, why they shouldn’t be in a relationship, why loneliness is better. They overthink everything and have to work really hard to protect themselves against this narrative of this relationship won’t work.

Anna:
For them, for people who are naturally anxious like this, it’s a huge leap to be in a relationship. They’ll often cite trust issues or bad experiences. So, when a person with bad anxiety finally does end up in a relationship, based on my coaching experience what I’ve found is that there’s already so much they have emotionally and mentally invested into their ex and the prospect of a future, that when it falls apart, they don’t know what to do. Just understand that if you do break up with someone or if there’s a breakup involving a person who has an anxiety disorder, it’s not just a breakup. Or if you have a loved one or a friend who’s going through a breakup and they experience anxiety.

Anna:
You need to understand, this is not just, quote unquote, a breakup. It’s not just learning to go through the motions without someone. There’s literally an entirely … A mental war that they have to fight just to get through this. I think it’s noteworthy. We can’t just brush it aside as, “You’re just worrying too much.” Or, “You’re overthinking.” No, you really need to pay attention. And if you have a friend who’s going through something like this and they are anxious, you need to be really supportive of their process.

Chris:
It kind of goes into that mental health aspect. Mental health is kind of that elephant that no one ever wants to talk about. Society often sweeps it under the rug, they don’t really have a good way or the ideal way. This is actually something that we kind of experience when we unfortunately got suicide attempts or threats of suicide in the Facebook group. And we’re like, “Okay.” One of … I can’t remember if it was a moderator or not, they called the actual suicide help line and it was like a 50 minute wait or something, which is showing you how understaffed those particular people are. But also shows you how society does not have specific great approaches to handling very difficult situations.

Chris:
While I’m saying someone who deals with anxiety to the point where they’re having that mental war is not suicidal, I’m definitely not insinuating that. What I’m saying is a lot of times we who don’t have those anxiety issues look at someone and we have no way of empathizing with them. We have no way … There’s this gigantic disconnect. And it’s important for you to respect that. I’m just kind of piggy backing off of what Anna’s saying, I remember there was one time in college, we were at a … it was like an extra credit assignment to go to a museum and do something. I can’t remember exactly. But there was a girl there who I kind of had a crush on. And I remember she had a panic attack. And I was like, “I don’t even know what to do.” At first I thought she was joking. Because it was like something you would see in the movies. I had never seen anyone have a panic attack before. But when I realized it was real, it was like I remember looking around and people just left. They didn’t even try to acknowledge it.

Anna:
What?

Chris:
They were just like, “I don’t want to touch that or deal with that problem.”

Anna:
Were they so uncomfortable by her attack?

Chris:
I think so.

Anna:
Her panic?

Chris:
I mean, it was in public. And I remember she was just like breathing and it was just like everyone starts staring. I guess the thing I kind of took from it was look at these pieces of S-H-I-T. No one is even willing to help. So, it was me that was willing to help. And I ended up becoming pretty good friends with the girl. Overall, my thing is if you are listening to this for a friend or you have a friend that does have panic attacks or severe anxiety before they have a relationship, we need to kind of give that person a little bit more of a benefit of the doubt. And oftentimes … I’m actually kind of eager to get your opinion on this, Anna. A lot of times I think people have certain opinions about things that they don’t have any experiences in.

Chris:
For example, winning an ex back, wanting an ex back. I think the general consensus among most public people is, “Oh, well why would you ever want to get an ex back?” Until that person goes through a breakup and deals with these anxiety issues, and then they want their ex back. And then that kind of puts it in perspective for them.

Anna:
I have a very specific view on that, which is honestly, I felt the same way too. But I’ve been through enough breakups to understand that the grief that a person experiences and the anxiety and depression is not just being sad and worrying a lot. It is a lot deeper than that. When a breakup occurs, it doesn’t matter if you were each other’s boyfriend and girlfriend or if you were married. A breakup is a breakup and that’s loss. And no one has any right to tell you how to grieve the loss that you experience. All right? So, you take as long as you want. And if people are not patient with you about that, you need to find emotional resources who will support you. For example, the ERP Facebook group, a therapist, even … all kinds of things.

Chris:
You were telling me something super fascinating that segues exactly into what we’re talking about here. You’re reading a book called the Courage to be Disliked. And in there they have this really interesting concept about the one person that likes you and the two people that hate you and then all the people that are indifferent. But I guess the takeaway that you took or the takeaway of the book is you need to surround yourself with those people who just naturally will like you.

Anna:
Yeah, who naturally will like you. They are your people. And it doesn’t matter if that’s one person or 10 million. You just need at least one. And for every person who does not seem to support you, spend less time fixating on why they’re not supporting you and go find people who will.

Chris:
Yesterday I bought this YouTube course to try to teach me how to better grow the YouTube channel. I was watching, it’s this guy who’s got like three million subscribers. And he was telling this story about how when he first started out, he was like this boot strapper. He just had started and he’s responding to each comment, it kind of reminded me of me when I started Ex-Boyfriend Recovery, responding to all the comments and everything. And then there was this comment that he got and it was like this person just said something super mean to him. He said it ruined his entire day, to the point where he couldn’t finish work that day and he was thinking about the comment and was like, “How am I going to respond to this? I need to respond with something super witty.”

Chris:
He responded, he was not rude or anything back. But then he heard back from the guy who left the mean comment like 10 hours later or something. And the guy said, “Look, I saw all the success you’re having with your YouTube channel, I’m really, really sorry I said what I said. I was drunk last night, I saw how successful you have been, it made me feel bad that I wasn’t that successful and we’re the same age. I was taking it out on you, that’s not the right thing to do, I need to be better.” So, a lot of times, people who don’t like you, it’s more about them than it is about you.

Anna:
It is almost always about the other person. Similar to ghosting and cheating, it is rarely about the person who’s ghosted or cheated on, or even the person who is the recipient of the hateful comment. I get lots of hateful comments all the time. In my real life and-

Chris:
Me too.

Anna:
Yeah. And it sucks. Do I like it? No. Do I care? I try to care a lot less than I used to.

Chris:
I kind of always just train myself to think for every hater or people who says something really bad, there’s like 15 people who really enjoy or like what you’re doing, they just don’t say anything.

Anna:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the people who are-

Chris:
It’s probably not true, but that’s my head cannon.

Anna:
No, if we think about that book, the Courage to be Disliked, we really should be playing to the person who loves us and the seven people who are neutral or positive towards us. I mean, that’s eight people. Who the eff cares about the two haters?

Chris:
There’s a quote that kind of comes to mind with that Courage to be Disliked, which is, “You can’t really say anything worth saying if you don’t offend someone.” I’ve found that to be kind of true. A lot of times people don’t like … Facebook is really … For whatever reason, I tried Facebook ads once and I haven’t tried it since. But I remember the comments when you just send an ad out to a general audience who aren’t necessarily trying to get an ex back, but they’re going through a breakup. Their response is like, “Why would you ever want that piece of S-H-I-T back?” They’re saying all these really angry things. People are just kind of mean sometimes.

Anna:
Well, that’s their experience. We help people get a lot of exes back. And I know in coaching-

Chris:
Well, I know Anna is amazing at it. I was actually having to go through … I’m re-writing Does Your Ex Still Care About You? Like, how do you figure that out?

Anna:
Oh, yeah.

Chris:
And I was looking through success stories on the … So, I just typed in success stories in the Facebook group. And it was like, “I coach with Anna, I coach with Anna, I coach with Anna, I coach with Anna, I coach with Anna, I coach with Anna.” I’m like where’s the one where I coach with Chris or Chris helped me? Nope. “I coach with Anna, coach with Anna, coach with Anna.”

Anna:
All of my coaching success is-

Chris:
Coach with Jen.

Anna:
Yeah. But all of my coaching success is made possible because of you, Chris.

Chris:
Oh, shut up.

Anna:
Honestly.

Chris:
You are so awesome.

Anna:
It’s true. It’s true though, you’re awesome.

Chris:
Well, the point I’m trying to make is actually that you’re awesome and that you know what you’re talking about.

Anna:
Thank you. I do know what I’m talking about. But honestly, my existence as a coach wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. That’s the truth.

Chris:
Thank you. I will take the compliment and guard it with my life.

Anna:
You’re great, you’re amazing. Look at our mutual admiration society. People are going to be like, “Why am I listening to this now?”

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah, “This isn’t about anxiety, this is about success stories.”

Anna:
Well no, I mean, I think with the ERP Facebook group, it doesn’t have to be the ERP Facebook group. I could be any support group. You don’t have to come to ours, although ours is really great. And honestly, you’re not going to find any group as good as ours, just hands down because we’re just so robust.

Chris:
We are definitely unbiased people, by the way. We are very unbiased about this.

Anna:
Well, I’m constantly looking at different breakup groups.

Chris:
Oh, I am not. I don’t want to. Yeah, I probably should though.

Anna:
I peek in. Because I like to compare. I’m a former public relations executive, so I want to know. I want to know what our competitive landscape is like. And there are some pretty good groups, but honestly, ours is literally the best. Anything that I think we’re not doing as good … as well at, sorry, I need to use proper grammar. Anything I don’t think we’re doing as well at, I talk to you about it.

Chris:
And then we try to do it.

Anna:
Yeah, and we try to do it.

Chris:
We got to-

Anna:
But you notice, I haven’t talked to you about improving the group in any way lately.

Chris:
Well, I have always operated under the ignorance is bliss type of mentality.

Anna:
Oh my God. So crazy.

Chris:
Life works a little bit better for me that way. Especially when it comes to looking at competitors. But then I’ll just be like, “Why is Google ranking this article over my article? My article’s 25,000 words and I put a lot of … This one’s got ads plastered all over it and takes 50 seconds to load.”

Anna:
I know that our coaching services are the best.

Chris:
We have great coaching services. And that is also an unbiased plug for anyone listening.

Anna:
I mean, I think our numbers speak for themselves. The fact that they’re really good.

Chris:
We got a really good success rate. I am super … I think it’s the thing I’m most proud of. Because I was always wanting something to show people like, “Look, we have a vast array of success stories.” I’m working on creating a page for the website that is just this gigantic accumulation of success stories, boom, boom, boom. Still working on it though.

Anna:
I’m excited to see it though.

Chris:
Yeah. Anyways, what do you do? We’re kind of in the what to do section of the anxiety if you’re dealing with anxiety, obviously go to our Facebook group or go to a Facebook group or support group. What else?

Anna:
I think one of the first things obviously is gather the emotional resources around you and really take time honestly to reconstruct yourself first. Because one, that obviously helps reduce anxiety after a breakup. But it also helps you become your best self. And it’s that becoming your best self, understanding who you are outside of the relationship is actually what attracts exes back. You being your strongest self independent of that relationship is attractive not only to your ex, but to multiple people. And what you may find, is that part of the attraction in your relationship before the breakup was the fact that maybe both of you were slightly not existing as your best selves. So, as you become your best self-

Chris:
I always approach it with you got a little complacent in a relationship.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris:
But I can definitely verify what she’s saying. When I interview success stories, I always try to make it a point to probe around and see, “Hey, did you really do anything special?” And one thing that we’ve noticed consistently is a lot of them have gotten to the point emotionally where they’re secure enough even if they don’t get their exes back. So, they come into the process thinking, “I want my ex back more than anything.” Oftentimes driven by those anxious tendencies. And then somewhere throughout working with us, they kind of transition to where they’re like, “You know what? It’s okay if I don’t get them back.” And that mentality I think is key before you even begin having a conversation with them again. That’s kind of what you’re alluding to.

Anna:
Right. Yeah. I mean, I went through this process twice, to get exes back.

Chris:
And you got them both back?

Anna:
Both of them back.

Chris:
And I think you’ve got-

Anna:
I am married.

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris:
So am I. You want to compete?

Anna:
Yeah, so are you. Look at you. Look at us being all married having gone through breakups. But the thing is I think, in a breakup what you do is you learn about yourself. You find ways to lower your stress levels, you cultivate hobbies, you cultivate your friendships. This is a time to immerse yourself in something other than dwelling on your past relationships because it helps you see a future with or without your ex’s involvement. Oftentimes I get clients who will say, “My friends are telling me to go out, have fun or go date.” And they always ask me, “Should I?” And my answer is a question, which is are you ready to do that? Do that only if you want to and if you feel ready. Never date just because someone is telling you to go do it. You need to give yourself proper time to grieve.

Anna:
I’m really serious about this. I mean, loss is a significant thing. You can’t just brush that under the rug. So, anyone tells you just to move on, especially if it’s six months or less after a breakup, is kind of feeding you a bunch of bull. Right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
Yeah. I mean, anxiety can leave you really vulnerable. So, you need to take time to reflect. And it’s especially rough if you suffer from a chronic mental illness or have mental health issues. Because the traumatic stress of a breakup can feel overwhelming or even debilitating. I can’t tell you about the number of clients that I have, who do have some sort of anxiety disorder or suffer from depression. The best thing is really to get professional support for dealing with your mental health concerns to prevent traumatic or lasting traumatic stress and your anxiety disorder from taking over your life.

Anna:
Even if you weren’t previously diagnosed I think with a chronic mental illness, it’s still totally possible and completely valid for you to feel anxious and sad and uneasy after a breakup. It’s just really I think a good time to seek help from a therapist or a counselor. To me, it is gather support resources around you, understand what your life is like outside of a relationship. And honestly, practice gratitude. Because when you go through a breakup, you have these overwhelming feelings of loss and heartache. Thanks to all the stress hormones and the science of anxiety, you will have tunnel vision and see only the negativity of what is going on in your situation.

Anna:
It helps to … I know it sounds sort of hippy-dippy, but instead of focusing on the breakup or the anxiety of the experience, redirect your energy into appreciating what you have. That’s one of the biggest things. Even if it’s small, right? Like food, “I ate a really good burger today.” Or for me, today I had a really good vegan brownie, which I did not think would even taste right. I thought it would taste like poop and it actually was super delicious. So, I am grateful for that today. Yay.

Chris:
Really?

Anna:
Yeah. I thought it would just really be terrible.

Chris:
All I can think of when you said gratitude was, have you ever seen … I know you are into some anime. Right? Some anime, right?

Anna:
Yes. Yes.

Chris:
Have you ever seen the anime Hunter X Hunter?

Anna:
Yes.

Chris:
The 10,000 punches of gratitude? I love that. That’s like my favorite thing ever.

Anna:
Look at us-

Chris:
I will watch that all the time. That’s what it reminds me of.

Anna:
Anyone who’s watching this video or listening to the podcast yeah, you guys need to watch that anime.

Chris:
Yeah, there you go. That’s … But yeah. I mean, the only thing I think to add on is I think a lot of times people who are overcome by anxiety have a huge problem with structure. And sometimes a little structure’s good. So, a lot of times you’ll see Anna or I recommending this thing that we call the holy trinity, which is kind of health, wealth, relationships. And trying to do things to kind of max those areas of your life out. That in and of itself, just kind of getting some momentum, getting the snowball rolling down the hill, can help, on top of the 10,000 punches of gratitude a day. On top of all the other beautiful things, the emotional support resources and all the things that Anna was saying. I think that’s pretty good. I mean, if you want more, hey guess what? Anna’s available for coaching.

Anna:
I am. Well, actually not this week and next week because I’m already full.

Chris:
Yeah, sorry about that.

Anna:
Sorry.

Chris:
But a couple weeks from now.

Anna:
Yeah, a couple weeks from now. I have availability the third week of March and fourth week of March.

Chris:
Boom. There you go. Sign up.

Anna:
We will have a lot of fun. What ends up … It’s really interesting, I don’t know what happens in the people that you coach or with Tyler, but often my session seems to start off with lots of tears and sadness. And then for whatever reason, at the end of it we’re laughing. I don’t know what’s happening. Maybe I’m experiencing the roller coaster of emotions with my clients.

Chris:
When I would coach, no one would ever cry in front of me, ever.

Anna:
What?

Chris:
I don’t know why, I think it’s because I’m a guy. I think it’s because-

Anna:
You think so?

Chris:
… they’re afraid. Yeah, I think … The men were a lot more open than the women, I think. And I think it’s because they’re guarded and some aspects of relationships can be a little bit embarrassing to bring out. And they probably just feel more comfortable with you.

Anna:
I think I give off older sister or mom vibes, honestly.

Chris:
I think it’s more of the older sister. Someone who you know is going to be on your corner all the time, take you under the wing, protect you, get you results.

Anna:
Yeah. I will kick ass on your behalf.

Chris:
There you go.

Anna:
I won’t literally set someone on fire, but I will do my best to mentally envision someone on fire for you.

Chris:
There you. Right. Anna is the best.

Anna:
You are too. This is why we’re friends.

Chris:
I love doing these podcasts with you.

Anna:
Do you?

Chris:
It’s so interesting.

Anna:
I like them too. I love them.

Chris:
The one we did, and they don’t get as many views I think on YouTube just because of the nature. People on YouTube tend to like 10, 15 minute videos. But on the podcast, they’re getting thousands of listens, people just walking around.

Anna:
Really?

Chris:
Yeah. I don’t know if I told you that.

Anna:
Oh my God, no I didn’t know.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah. There’s people listening to you all the time, Anna.

Anna:
Oh my God.

Chris:
But the cool thing is that podcast that we did on the anger and what to do if your ex is mad at you.

Anna:
Aggression?

Chris:
Yeah. That was a really good episode. I remember thinking, “This episode’s going really good.” And I remember getting feedback from people in the Facebook group and then people sometimes in YouTube comments or in the website comments were saying, “Wow, this is something I’ve never heard before.” And I kind of got vibes about this episode the same way. So, I’m hoping the same thing happens here.

Anna:
It’s be we are providing real content that’s helpful.

Chris:
That’s true.

Anna:
We’re not just saying, “This is how you handle your anxiety.” We’re talking about the science of it and our own experience with it.

Chris:
Yeah. And also, every once in a while I’ll get off track and start talking about anime or World of Warcraft or ridiculous stuff.

Anna:
But the thing is, I go right there with you.

Chris:
I know. Sometimes you’re the one that leads me down the stray path.

Anna:
I know. Okay, now that we’re talking, we’re a little bit off topic, but I have to tell you, I don’t know what it is, but I have been seeing a lot of TikToks lately that have been showing Giles being really attractive.

Chris:
Have you heard about the … Giles is attractive man. I mean, I’m straight, but Giles is-

Anna:
But I mean, when you’re first watching Buffy, when you’re a lot younger, I don’t … I mean-

Chris:
Well, you don’t view him that way.

Anna:
Right. You don’t view him that way. But now-

Chris:
Except Willow liked him. She always had a crush on him. She’s gay, she had a crush on him. I’m telling you, man.

Anna:
But honestly, now that I’m older, I was watching some more Buffy and because of these TikToks I was like, “Oh my God, Giles was super hot. Why did I never see it? Oh my God.”

Chris:
It’s because Spike was there. I listened to an interview of James Marsters, he was saying … But, have you been hearing about the controversy and everything with Josh Whedon-

Anna:
Which one? Oh, yes. He’s not really a feminist and just all this stuff.

Chris:
Oh, I knew that already. But I really like … I still, you can’t take my love of Buffy away. I’m holding onto that.

Anna:
Yeah. I mean, I’m going to always love Buffy and Angel and Firefly.

Chris:
Firefly is the best. I always thought that scene where Giles … I don’t know if you remember, but he’s singing. It’s a season four scene. He’s on the guitar singing Behind Blue Eyes or I can’t remember the name of the song. But that was the scene where I was like, “Man, Giles is pretty suave. He’s pretty awesome.”

Anna:
Right. I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” I mean, he had to be attractive. But now, in my 46 years of age, I’m looking at him like Giles has it really going on.

Chris:
Well, I mean he’s casted by a British actor who’s quite good looking in and of itself. But I will always be a Spike fan, no matter what.

Anna:
Spike is my favorite. Yeah.

Chris:
My favorite Spike scene is the one where he is trying to figure out how to … Spoilers, by the way. He’s trying to figure out how to hit on Buffy and he uses this mannequin. He’s practicing on the mannequin and he gets angry at the mannequin and he kicks the mannequin over. He just kind of breathes a sigh and he picks it back up and he starts again. That’s my favorite Spike scene ever. Because he’s just insane.

Anna:
He is. Oh, Spike, he was my favorite.

Chris:
Anyways, look what you did to me. Shame on you. You know what you were doing too.

Anna:
What? Yes, I did. I did know.

Chris:
Let’s do a call out for coaching now.

Anna:
Oh.

Chris:
If you want coaching with Anna …

Anna:
Do coaching with me. We will have so much fun. And you can also cry with me, it’s fine.

Chris:
It’s a safe space. Look in the description below, we’ll have a link there, so that you can kind of watch the … I put together a pretty cool video presentation of the coaching team and credentials and what we can do for you. And we made it look all cool and snazzy. Of course, when I mean me, I mean my video editor because I don’t even know how to edit anything.

Anna:
You’re so funny.

Chris:
And shout out to Johan, who is our video editor. He just got engaged.

Anna:
What? Congratulations, Johan.

Chris:
Good for him. Yeah. Johan, yeah.

Anna:
When is his wedding?

Chris:
September 25th, which is my wife’s birthday. And I said, “Oh my God, it’s meant to be.”

Anna:
He’s in the Philippines, right?

Chris:
Yeah, Philippino, yep. And his girlfriends in the Philippino too, I guess fiance now.

Anna:
It will be-

Chris:
They lived on different islands.

Anna:
What, really? Which island did he live on? Do you know?

Chris:
I have no clue. No clue. Shows you how much-

Anna:
Well, there are like 7,000 islands.

Chris:
Yeah. Thank you for getting me out of that. But apparently he went over there to propose to her. But I was always kind of pressuring him. I was like, “Hey, are you going to propose to her?” He had told me, “I have the ring.” And he showed me the ring. And I was like, “Well, propose to her.” He’s like, “I’m waiting for the right moment.” Finally, he did it.

Anna:
That’s so sweet. Look at you, bringing people together.

Chris:
It’s also scary for me, I hate to make this about me, but I’m like, “Oh crap, now I have to support him.” I pay his salary. So, I’m like, “I got to really make this YouTube thing work.”

Anna:
What happens when they have a baby?

Chris:
Yeah, well, [cider 00:49:51] clan.

Anna:
Yeah, there you go.

Chris:
That’s my way of getting a free video editor. We’re like, “Hey, we’ll adopt you, come live with us.”

Anna:
That’d be great.

Chris:
Yeah, but congratulations Johan, our video editor.

Anna:
Yes, congratulations.

Chris:
If you don’t know, he’s the one that’s been doing all the new cool thumbnails, he’s been doing all the really snazzy … Anything that looks good on our channel is not me. If you want to see what my YouTube editing was like, go back to the very first video I ever did and that will show you the extent of my editing skills. It’s awful.

Anna:
Oh my gosh. But that’s so much better than me. I wouldn’t even know. It would just be this one continuous take that I would hope to goodness it would just be fine.

Chris:
It was.

Anna:
Is that what it was?

Chris:
It was. I had like … Yeah, you should watch it. It’s hilarious. I was like, “Okay, I’m going to get into a suit, I need to be in a suit.” It’s so stupid.

Anna:
“I have to be in a suit.”

Chris:
Yeah. And the advice is outdated. So, I’m like … I was listening back yesterday at some of the old ones because I was redoing some of the behind the scenes SEO settings. And I was like, “God, this is horrible. That’s wrong, that’s wrong, that’s wrong.”

Anna:
I’m sure it was fine.

Chris:
No, no, no the advice was just so bare minimum, it was not going to … But whatever. We’ll just-

Anna:
Yeah, you’re fine.

Chris:
Yeah. Anyways, if you want coaching with Anna, go look in the description below.

Anna:
Yes, coach with me. I like coaching. I like talking to people. Because you know, I spend so much of my time as a human calculator that I love coaching. It just makes me feel like a human being again.

Chris:
Well, there you go. Anna has just admitted to us that she’s a robot, AI.

Anna:
Yeah, don’t let me stay a robot my entire life. Please coach with me. You save me.

Chris:
There you go. Just look in the description below if you want that. If you’re listening to this podcast, just go into the coaching page on the website, Ex-Boyfriend Recovery, or Ex-Girlfriend Recovery, if you happen to be a male listening to the anxiety aspect.

Anna:
Yes. We will still have a lot of fun, male or female.

Chris:
And you can cry too, if you’re a male. Don’t worry. Anna’s okay.

Anna:
You know what? I had one man cry to me today during our session.

Chris:
No way.

Anna:
Yes.

Chris:
What the heck’s wrong? Why won’t they cry with me?

Anna:
I think I just … I don’t know. Maybe I make it okay to cry. Well, I mean, breakups are really tough. How can you not cry?

Chris:
Yeah, I guess so. Maybe I give off that vibe of, “Stop crying, we’re going to-”

Anna:
“Stop crying, no crying!”

Chris:
Yeah, drill sergeant, right.

Anna:
“No more tears! None for you!”

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
No, I’m just like, “It’s okay if you want to cry.”

Chris:
Yeah. With that pitch out of the way, thank you for listening to all of this, and we’re going to be back next week. Do we have an idea of what we’re talking about next week or we’re just going to wing it again?

Anna:
No. I mean, you know how I don’t like to wing it. I have to think about it. What do you want to talk about?

Chris:
Well, you know, I’ve been writing this article about does your ex still care about you? But that’s so general and it’s so … But my mind is so focused on that. So, something in that realm, I’d probably have some prep with.

Anna:
I get a question like that a lot. Like, “How do I know he still cares about me?”

Chris:
Yeah.

Anna:
The signs and signals of it. I listen and-

Chris:
Yeah, I’ve been-

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris:
I’ve been trying to relate it to Carl Jung, psychoanalyst.

Anna:
[Uni 00:53:10] and stuff, yeah.

Chris:
Yeah. Maybe something related to that, that I can … I’m just thinking okay, what will give me a YouTube video that I could stick in the article to make it look really good? That’s probably not the basis of a successful topic.

Anna:
I mean, you want all of your content to be consistent across all platforms. So, I get it.

Chris:
I want it to look good and I want it to be as quality as possible. And I know quality comes with you.

Anna:
And you. We make quality together.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris:
Well basically, show up next week and we’ll find out what happens.

Anna:
We’ll have something to talk about, it’ll be fine.

Chris:
We’ll figure it out, guys.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris:
All right.

Anna:
All right. Thanks, guys.

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