You can rewrite your love experience using causal outcome

Causal outcome can heal your heart, but not defense mechanisms.

In my previous post, I used the tragic ending of Alain de Botton’s love story from “Essay In Love” to introduce the concept of causal outcome. When the relationship between Alain and Chloe goes well, Alain believes it must be their fate to meet and fall in love with each other. Yet, after Chloe changes her mind and gives her heart to his friend, Alain revised the reason that they met. He then ascribed their encounter to his need for wanting to fall in love.

If we are dumped by our Ex whom we felt that we could not live without in the past, it invariably triggers low self-esteem. The pain from heartbreak is extremely excruciating, especially if our Ex dumps us for our trusted friend or someone who appears to have better qualities than us. Not only do we feel not worthy of being desired, but also many of us would also have an identity crisis. To ease our pain and to save face, we unconsciously use a variety of defense mechanisms to distract us.

If you were Alain de Botton, how would you know you are using the defense mechanism of intellectualization to hide your pain?  Or that you are using causal outcome give a motif to your love journey?

Intellectualization is defined in Wikipedia as follow: Intellectualization is a defense mechanism where reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress – where thinking is used to avoid feeling. It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event. (Wikipedia)

I need to remind readers that it takes courage to fall in love. There is no guarantee that a love affair will always have a happy ending. If the relationship does not work out, it will be natural to feel the pain of heartbreak because this is the price we need to pay for our courage to love.  Life has a built-in recovery process. If we can be honest with our emotions and accept the way the love story unfolds without making any justifications like Alain does in “Essay in Love”, we will recover from our broken heart sooner.

Causal outcomes appear similar to intellectualization but they are different in substance. If you make an attribution to the cause of the breakup and if you do not ignore your pain, you will discover the insight of your life lesson based on the outcome of the event. In addition, causal outcome is an honest gesture to ascribe meaning to the relationship which helps you to make sense of the experience. When you connect the dots together, you can see the same motif flows through different life events.

Example is Alain meets his next girlfriend, Amanda, on the ferry between France and UK. Like Chloe’s story, Amanda dumps Alain for his cousin. When Alain connects the two broken relationships together, he realizes that the reason both women dumped him is due to his difficulty in expressing his emotions because he is hiding his true self behind intellectualization. When he discovers the true cause of the breakup, the casual outcome informs him that love is about a journey of self-discovery. Alain may then be able to see that life has a purpose, self-discovery. This example illustrates that authentic causal outcome has a healing effect.

For readers who seek love, if you don’t want to make the same mistake again, be aware of your defense mechanisms.

Further consideration:

How does the concept of causal outcome differ from defense mechanism of intellectualization and rationalization?

What is the best way to recover from broken heart?