There’s only so much you can do until you get dumped. It’s inevitable. Even Cindy Crawford’s been dumped (it’s a mantra that may or may not be true… don’t judge). Getting dumped is a less violent version of Russian Roulette. Or is it? That level of rejection is damn nigh the worst. When your friends ask you, “Whatever happened to Steve/Stephen/Nick/Zach/Zack/Kevin/Bryan/Brian/Ryan …?”, there’s only so much hemming and hawing you can do before the ugly truth comes out.
“I WAS DUMPED! Ditched! Discarded! Abandoned like the empty Pad See Ew container on the nightstand. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?” Usually, this will solicit two responses, in varying order. One: “Hey, no need to yell, the waiter is going to ask us to leave (or you’re overserved and now the waiter is asking us to leave).” Two: “Oh my gawd honey, I’m so sorry.” And – wait for it – “It’s his loss.” HYFR it’s his loss, but hearing that is enough to incite Gandhi to violence. And usually triggers the first of the DABDA. What is DABDA, you say? DABDA is sweet little acronym for what is more commonly known as the Kübler-Ross model. In English – the 5 stages of grief and loss. This process is unavoidable. Sorry to break it to you. It is also cathartic and leads to growth – don’t hate on the self-help. Sometimes it’s all we have left. But back to DABDA – armed with a roadmap, we can better prepare ourselves for the inevitable growing pains. Together. With cats. So we won’t die alone.
1. Denial — “Everything’s amazing,” or “This isn’t happening to me, I have great hair!” or “I just went spinning AND ran 10 miles, I can do anything!”
Denial is first and usually temporary. I say usually because some people can become locked here and forever maintain my fave yoga position – Ostrich With Head In Sand. Oh the joys of stunted emotional growth! Denial entails refusal to accept the reality of the situation, facts and/or information.
2. Anger — “Unfair!” and “Not cool!” or “I want to rip that mustache off his face with my bare hands!”
Once (if) we slowly disengage from the Ostrich With Head In Sand pose, we come to the second part of DABDA — Anger. Rage, envy and hostility flow like cheap pinot gris here. Anger can present in many different ways. Self-loathing, outward hostility, and watch out if you’re close to someone in this stage – you’re in the splash zone. Bring your poncho and remember to try and stay nonjudgmental during this trying time. Don’t take it personally when your sister/friend/roommate/cousin/sisterwife tries to throw the stapler at your head or threatens bodily harm.
3. Bargaining — “I’d do anything for one more second in his presence” or “I would trade my entire nail polish collection for a phone call.”
This fun stop on our tour is when we try to delay the inevitable. Usually, a (plea) bargain is thrown out that goes something like this: “I will do anything, anything, ANYTHING in exchange for one more moment where I am in close proximity to your cells.” What is really being said is “I will change myself slash reform my life and person slash bend entirely to your will,” reformed lifestyle. When people are at this stage there is usually a tacit acknowledgement that the end is nigh, but a psychological refusal to openly admit it. This is also when we enter the dangerous “Can we still be friends?…” territory. It’s important to remember, bargaining rarely affords a viable alternative.
4. Depression — “What’s the point… in anything?”
During this stage, the true nature of the situation becomes apparent. This tragedy is going to befall us whether we like it or not. Usually, we don’t like it – because of this sulking, crying, screaming and other Lady Macbeth-isms become apparent. Don’t try and cheer up your Debbie Downer, nor yourself. Live in this space baby. Eat those bean and cheese burritos. Order those two large pizzas. Revel in it. This, in fact is a good thing. It shows acceptance of the situation and emotional reactions are normal to the processing of life changes. Live it, learn it, love it. Then take a much-needed shower.
5. Acceptance — “I think I can, I think I can,” and “I am empowered. I am okay.”
Ahhh, acceptance. It presents differently for everyone, but you’re finally ready to get back on the horse. Or the spin bike. Or you know. You’ve grown. Do it to it, you lovely flowers. I believe in you.