Bad Mouthing Your Ex Is Hurting You, Not Him

The 7 stages of grief are:

Shock, it doesn’t quite feel real that your relationship is over. Denial, we try to work things out, talk it out, do anything and change everything to get back together. Anger, we call you names. We tell you it’s all your fault, you’re a horrible person, you’re the reason I’m the way I am. Guilt, but we feel like we could’ve been better, it’s all our fault, I’m a horrible person and it’s just the way I am. Depression, nothing is going to change. All we can do is cry and sob. Acceptance, because how long can you lay in your bed crying for before you realize nothing is going to change? Engaging life, you don’t really have a choice.

I think some stages of grief just stick with you, or they come back from time to time when you’re feeling low in your life. A lot of people turn to anger because it’s easy. It’s the best way to pull the blame off yourself and to shove it on to someone else. Maybe the break up wasn’t your fault, maybe it was. But you certainly don’t want it to be your fault and you don’t want to be reminded of it. When you are, you get mad.

So we speak poorly about our exes. Because if we’re going to place the blame on anyone, it makes the most sense to go with the person that actually broke your heart.

But you went through those initial 7 stages for a reason. And that reason was because something happened and you’ve now moved on. Stop reverting back to the petty self you had to be in order to get over something traumatic. You’re better now, you’re better than that now. And every time you refer to your ex as a scumbag or evil or awful – you’re only hurting yourself.

Because he probably doesn’t care anymore. And I’m sure that hurts to hear – but he doesn’t. You can call him all the names you want and they’ll just bounce right off. He went through the 7 stages, too, and has moved on. If your ex is still bad mouthing you – let them. Let them say whatever they want to say and stop reciprocating because you’re not hurting anyone but yourself.

You have proven that you are strong and you are happy – so don’t let the past actions of someone else dictate how you feel now. They hurt you, but you don’t have to hurt yourself.

43 thoughts on “Bad Mouthing Your Ex Is Hurting You, Not Him

  1. I found the stages really funny because I have been going through them the past year… when I read “Engaging life, you don’t really have a choice.” I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud! It really does start that way, but then you soon realize that we might as well just enjoy engaging life! :’)
    The only reason I can’t badmouth is because there is love, otherwise I probably would go ahead and do that too. Everything except the anger is on and off. Especially guilt and depression. And Denial. And Shock. And Acceptance. Uh oh. Well, at least the engaging life part is going well! :’) I guess ultimately it’s about choosing our own health and happiness over the pain. Once we actually realise that it’s a choice, things change drastically. Sure, there are bound to be bouts of these stages, but it won’t last 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It really does start off as doing what you have to do to get back into life and then you eventually start to enjoy it! Honestly I think all the other stages are more healthy than anger because I feel like anger tends to be useless and frustrating – it doesn’t have any rewarding results. So good for you for not being angry! Being happy is a choice, but one you have to work towards. The little pockets of grief along the way just make you appreciate the good moments more 🙂

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  2. This is so true! I hear a lot of people talking really bad about their ex-boyfriends I mean, I do not now their story so I don’t judge but I think it a bit a pitty. In my case for example, I believe that he’s a really good person and the 3 years we spent together were amazing but in the end it just didn’t work… I can’t say he’s a bad person for this, maybe he could have putten more effort but relationship are built together so I do not deny I can have faults too… Thank you fro this post! Really good topic to write and read about! 🙂

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  3. This is a wonderful piece. I tend to be long winded, but here’s my take:
    **Shock – inevitable, whether it’s a breakup or the first “I love you.” It’s normal. You must realize at some level that it’s over and drowning in shock is beneath you.
    **Denial is ultimately groveling. Crying and begging this person to stay with you, promising to “fix” yourself to please them, and letting this skewed thinking become a part of you. Hoping they see the “changes” and come running back because you contorted yourself to suit them. If they come back, you have built a box for yourself trying to please the unworthy.
    **Anger – for me, if I love you, I love you forever. Anger is so easy because it burns brightly, but the goal is indifference. That will help you skip the hardest parts of guilt and depression. Anger will happen but it should never include lashing out at them; it feels good in the moment, but causes guilt afterwards. Instead, punch a pillow, scream at the wall, and yeah, get furious. But if you give into pettiness, the other two slam into you like a train.
    **Guilt is agonizing and unnecessary. Why take all the guilt? You were not alone in it, and HALF of the “guilt” belongs on the other person(s). It is NOT your fault alone, it never was. Never accept guilt for something you can’t change or something you aren’t solely responsible for. Save yourself the pain. Yes, it’s healthy to learn what you could have done better; taking the blame just adds to all of your new miserable emotions. I learned this with the death of my mother. I was horribly guilty because I handled her medical care for 10 years. I knew everything about her body, but I wasn’t able to save her from death (the previous 10 years suddenly didn’t count). She was hospitalized January 2020 and they wanted to intubate because she was unconscious. I knew she would never come off the machine, so I insisted they were not to intubate. If my mother was going to pass, it would not be with hoses in her body. I refused their “experts” saying she was dying, and never backed down, and she woke. 6 months later she died: heart failure. I immediately felt horrible, ceaseless guilt. Her aide reminded that I knew she was going to die, but that I didn’t let it happen in hospital. I gave her the gift of life for a lot longer than they would have. In return, she gave me the best last gift she could: she died peacefully, without pain, at home in bed, no tubes and not in a hospital alone (COVID). I realized she was right: the guilt was pointless. Armed with no medical training, learning with my mother, for 10 years I was told by every doctor that she would die in the next few months, and I refused to listen. Studying, learning, concocting unique treatments to compliment her current treatments, which ultimately were implemented by “experts”. I twisted modern medicine to serve her, and she surpassed all of their time-tables, even the last. I truly gave it all I had to give, so I, rightfully, have no guilt. This is true for relationships. You give everything you have. It’s NOT your fault it died, it just did. You physical feel your heart breaking, but you’re going to get up (when you’re ready) and be stronger. Guilt should not take you to your knees; there are more important things than a relationship: health and life, certainly. New relationships replace the old; so what could have been won’t be. Learn, grow, be the best you – don’t be crippled by guilt.
    **Depression – I suffer depression often and have been severely depressed, with no reason. I’m just hard-wired to depression. But I realized I have had significantly less depression since the end of the “forever” relationship. Sometimes, even those with good intentions (like my ex) can trigger depression more frequently than it otherwise would happen. Feel free to lay in bed and cry, tank buckets of ice cream and chocolate, and be miserable. But remember: nothing is going to change the failed relationship. When you’re ready to get up and dry your tears, you will see everything has changed. You said goodbye to what was, and are saying hello to what will be.
    **Re-engage in life – it’s a choice as you can also decide not to – but that is trapping yourself in another box. If you want retribution, being angry and bad mouthing them will fail. Get over them, move on, and make them a footnote. No, they probably won’t notice, just like if you bad mouthed them. But YOU will notice because YOU know that they didn’t take you down. And that’s the only thing that matters.
    I can only speak for myself, but for me this has worked. I only hope it can help someone else reevaluate their breakup to mitigate some of their pain. All 7 stages will happen, but you don’t have to be trapped in any of them if you choose not to be. The breakup may not have been your choice, but everything after IS.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. When Jack and I were estranged, I had such a mix of deep feelings. Sometimes I felt such intense hurt, and I needed to talk about our situation, but one thing I did not want to do was badmouth him. I had to find an outlet to communicate the pain, but it was never focused on painting him as a baddie. I think that made a key difference when years later we finally were able to make our peace and fall in love all over again.

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  5. Great post. I had a very important friendship end almost two years ago and it took FOREVER to work my way through the stages. Some days I’m fine and other days I feel sad and angry. I do my best not to speak ill of her but it can be a challenge. I remind myself often to choose happiness over sadness and to choose the present over the past.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Over the years since I broke up with, and moved out from my ex, I find things that remind me of her, or actions that put me in a certain headspace. It’s easy to badmouth and I could easily do it, but in hindsight I’m just thankful for the life lessons learned. I needed to see this today

    Liked by 2 people

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