“I hate to be that person saying negative stuff about someone else,” my friend says.
I nod. “I try to avoid it myself. It’s like rehearsing to be a mean, miserable person. You have to be careful with that sort of thing.”
“But I gotta say,” my friend says, “it’s part of my breakup closure program, the trash talking.”
“It’d probably be something good to talk about on your blog,” she offers.
“Maybe,” I say. “Go on.”
“Well,” she continues, “what if trash talking an ex is part of not looking back? What if it’s making some closure? Some distance. What if it’s training yourself to care less — and so not be tempted to end up in the same patterns?”
I smile. “That’s consistent with the research,” I offer.
“it is?” she says.
A 2016 Study Found You Could Create Decrease Feelings of Love By Focusing on Someone’s Negative Qualities
As I mentioned in a former post, a 2016 study found you could decrease feelings of love for someone by focusing on their negative qualities.
And yes, the inverse was also found — that participants who focused on positive qualities could in effect thrum up feelings of love for someone.
It’s a compelling idea — being able to create emotional distance at will. To train yourself to care a bit less.
Of course… some might ask: Why would you want to? Well, zombie relationships — in which past relationships effectively rise from the dead and you end up redating someone (when you perhaps really shouldn’t) — happen.
And some folks seem particularly prone to zombie dating. One of my good friends has what she calls “love amnesia” where she tends to forget the bad parts of bad relationships the further she gets from them in time and remember primarily the good.
And the friend I’m talking to now used to be that way as well — until she started trash talking her exes a bit. Not in public, mind you. But privately, as a way of reminding herself why she left and ensuring she doesn’t end up where she started from, hurt again.
It’s important to find what works for you.