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In part four of TBS’ 5-part heartbreak series, Hailee Walker turns to Mehran Dabeh, author of The Breakup Handbook and authority on YouTube relationship breakdown advice.
When a relationship ends, people often feel heartbroken and seek to find understanding and help from a variety of sources. The use of online support systems is ever increasing and people are flocking to the Internet looking for relief from their emotional anguish. One of the more popular online sources is YouTube.
Mehran Dadbeh is the author of The Break Up Handbook and has thousands of followers on his YouTube channel, where he shares about all areas of relationship breakdown. Mehran’s passion and ability to understand and explain the complexities of breakup pain and how to move past it, make him the perfect person to shed some light on why people are turning to the Internet for help in healing their broken hearts.
What made you start sharing about breakups on YouTube?
Every time my son broke up with his girlfriend I knew what he must be feeling and how painful the experience must be. I remembered how it felt for me when I would go through a breakup or relationship challenges and concerns when I was younger – how terrible the whole experience felt and how deeply it could affect one’s psyche. Whether it was experienced in high school (the “puppy love” stage) or in university with more serious loves and relationships, this was a horrible feeling not limited to a certain age. I wanted nothing more than to be able to help clear and make some sense of it all for him.
When he told me about his breakup and how he felt, we discussed the angles of the experience of breakup and the thought process that goes with it, the challenges, the quality of the emotions and feelings involved – why it feels the way it does and how to translate it and deal with its effects on our day to day mood, our focus on how relationships move in the field of life and so on.
Our talks made him feel much better, helped open new understanding and brought about more tolerance during the post-breakup and moving on processes. So I decided to share the points of the discussion we had on YouTube, as I felt there must be millions of younger, young or more mature men and women around the world going through similar emotionally difficult times.
And why do you think so many people have engaged with you in this way?
This is one of the few things in life that is totally universal among all earthlings; it makes us feel the very same way, in almost every way, regardless of our age, economic strength, might or stature, upbringing, family or social hierarchy, political inclination, colour or gender. We all feel this pain the same, and are puzzled by the same manoeuvres in a relationship breakup stage, and want answers about the same questions and concerns.
Often the advice they get on Internet sites or YouTube is in short, capsule-size forms, which seems helpful on the surface, but, since these sources have no in-depth understanding of the person’s psyche, they are left with an incomplete understanding of what goes on and how they feel, and why.
What have you learnt about people from publishing your videos on YouTube?
They all want to know why what happened, happened – why she/he suddenly left; what it means for them and how it reflects upon their character; how they can repair damages to their confidence; if whomever the ex is now with is better than them; why they can’t move on, how they can move on; how they can get their ex back and why they miss the ex – even if they agree the relationship was not meeting their expectations; will they fall in love again; how long this pain will last; what is happening within our psyche and how can understanding that can help us to learn what went right and wrong, and how to eventually move forward after a breakup.
We are engaged in a relationship with the image of the partner we have created in our mind, and the image of our own self that we have created in our mind – and the partner is doing the same. These images are the ones having a relationship with each other and not us, as the actual individuals, so the relationship for the most part is with an illusion, an image of the other and ourselves that has no exact actuality to it. Due to the complete differences from each other in the makeup of our consciousness, there will always be a division in the order we each have created, hence the conflict is inevitable.
Online communities have emerged to offer support and guidance to each other during the emotional roller-coaster that is a breakup. Why do you think that people are turning to online forums such as YouTube for guidance? And how do you see your role in this?
Most do not know what they should do – more specifically, have said “how they should think” – and how to find a remedy for their emotional pain. People are used to quick answers. They are also clear on the fact that what they are feeling must have been felt by others, as we are all of the same species, sharing the same responses to misfortune and loss of loved ones (physically or emotionally). So they trust that someone else who has already gone through this has found experiences that could help.
Often the advice they get on Internet sites or on YouTube is in short, capsule-size forms, which seems helpful on the surface, but, since these sources have no in-depth understanding of the person’s psyche – how their whole consciousness, fears, desires and ego are each interacting and affecting each other – they are left with an incomplete understanding of what goes on and how they feel, and why. They fall back into the no man’s land and are unclear on how to see it coming next time, or how to understand the reasoning behind their questions and concerns, their despair, and lack of hope.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Heartbreak – Part three: Psychic, Pam Bradbury
- Heartbreak – Part two: Neuroscientist Sean Hatton
- Heartbreak – Part one: Author Lisa A Phillips
I believe if I want to help someone from hunger, then best to give them the whole sandwich rather than giving them just a bite and having them come for another later on (whilst charging for every bite!). I like to give them the whole mechanism of their machine, their psyche, help them to understand the scenario, their questions and clarify the “whys” as much as possible in longer videos. Then if they wish to talk to me on a one-on-one Skype consultation or purchase one of my e-books from Amazon or my own site, then they will make that decision after their hunger is satisfied, and they can think clearly, rather than acting as the result of being desperate, from extreme hunger.
In addition to this, I have for the past 12 weeks started a program of holding live talks on FB, a chance to share the discussions live with thousands around the world, where they can ask their questions and I respond to their situations as others listen and benefit from each answer. This is an opportunity for people who cannot afford the $150 CAD per hour one-on-one Skype consultation with me, or whose time does not coordinate with the available time schedule during the week. Instead they pay a nominal fee of $2 and get a chance to hear answers to many questions regarding relationship hardship, and most probably get their questions read and answered while on air live. This makes it an affordable service available every week and accessible to all. If they still need a one-on-one private consultation then they will have more time and patience to make that additional arrangement should it still be necessary. This probably is most efficient and most unselfish economically driven style of helping people. Fast, affordable, and accessible to all.
In your experience are breakups always ultimately a negative experience or can they be a blessing in disguise?
Almost always it is a blessing in disguise, a chance for enlightenment, further development, to become wiser and more worldly, and certainly a gateway to more power to withstand the challenges of the future! If used properly and learned from wisely, it will serve as a great catapult to propel one to overcome obstacles and become better at interaction with life – it paves the road to better and happier times!
Often the recommendation after a break up is to have no contact with your ex for the purpose of breaking the intrusive and sometimes destructive thought patterns that can occur causing us emotional pain. What are your thoughts on the “no contact rule”?
The no contact rule is an obvious policy to adopt to create necessary space for both parties to relax, find their path and re-assess where they are and where they want to go. But this is not going to help clarify anything. It’s like saying “let’s stop stirring or shaking the bucket with mud in it for a while, so it separates from the water and the mud will settle”. After such time of no agitation, the mud is still in the bucket, and has not been cleared by simply not shaking the bucket any more!
Life cannot be summed up in one woman or man, or one relationship. Life has a lot more to offer. We all have the same needs and shortcomings, so focus on what the ex was providing which made her/him so desired. When you focus on it you will see that what you are missing right now could have been available from millions of others. Whatever this relationship was, you were the creator of it.
What needs to be done is to find out “what is hurting and why?”, “what are the affects of my conditioning on this whole thing?”, “what is the role of my thoughts in this?” and “where do my thoughts come from – how do they form and why do they affect me as they do?”. This will make the mind become knowledgeable and soon become free from the pain due to an understanding of the elements in the works, no longer so easily manipulated by ego, desire, thoughts, conditioning and the whole concept of value and worthiness both – for him/herself and for the partner.
Often people seek closure after a breakup and feel that they must have answers in order to move on. In your experience, can closure always be obtained and is it mandatory in order to heal the heartache and move forward?
Closure can be achieved by simple communication and a recap of the relationship in a civilised and cordial manner, but it is not necessary in all cases, as closure often means that you are expecting justice from the one who has actually initiated it.
If he or she knew better, they would not commit to this injustice or the hurt that the breakup has caused. It’s like asking me to apologise for making a decision that I could have so easily decided not to make. If I have made that decision then it means I believe that decision serves me well, so how can I now say I am sorry about making this decision and be truthful about it?
Why should closure be dependent on the agreement of the one who has chosen to break up? Why can’t it be on the basis of truth and facts, not dependent on another human being to declare or affirm it? And who better than you yourself, and the truth, to give you immediate closure? We are conditioned to seek approval from others as we have been programmed since childhood by society that we are not good enough, and that in order to know how we are we must have someone’s approval. Closure is not in the hands of another person, it is within the pages of the truth and facts, and that is all that is needed to feel okay after a break up.
If you could offer one piece of advice to people who are struggling with heartbreak what would it be?
It is not the end of the world, life cannot be summed up in one woman or man, or one relationship. Life has a lot more to offer than you can imagine – much more than a partner who does not want you! No-one is a god, we all have the same needs and shortcomings, so believe that you are worth no less than anyone else and focus on what the ex was providing which made her/him so desired. When you focus on it you will see that if you did not know this person all, then what you are missing right now could have been provided by, and is available from, millions of others – if you choose to have a relationship with them, and spend enough time to create the same psychological security that you seem to be missing now and think was only available through your ex.
Whatever this relationship was, you were the creator of it, and given another opportunity, you can create another relationship just as warm and wonderful, if not better, due to your added wisdom and experience from this past one. So now go and build it with another one, as you are the main ingredient in this. You were and can again and again be the architect and build a better one! Please watch my recommended short video below and get clear in your head how powerful you are in all of this!
When trying to navigate your way through the emotional minefields of a breakup it is important to remember that it is normal that you may feel distressed at this time. If you are having a difficult time dealing with these emotions and thought patterns please see your GP or a mental health professional. If in Australia, you can call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.