“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
Because Mediators Care So Much
Getting over someone who helped us experience love, at least at one time in our lives, is never easy. Being heartbroken can take a toll on physical and mental health, but the condition is rarely fatal. That said, dissolving a valued relationship is always painful.
To truly experience a broken heart, one needs to care enough about someone else for grief to be a reasonable response. Grief can occur with any type of significant loss. And the thing about grief is that, while some well-known stages of processing it exist (thank you, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross), mourning never looks exactly the same for each person who suffers it. While most go through the stages, everyone tends to put their own spin on them, to some degree. A common example might be that some people are angry for a longer time, while others who aren’t as comfortable with their anger may move quickly through that stage.
What the Research Suggests
Loss and rejection are a serious business for everyone, but Mediator (INFP) personality types rank among those most gravely affected when a relationship ends. Consider Mediators’ responses to some of our research questions, below.
(Some of these poll questions are about cheating, which we recognize may or may not lead to the end of a couple. Still, there is heartbreak involved, and the responses tell us something about sorrow and Mediators.)
- Mediators are the second-most likely personality type to accept rejection immediately rather than fight to counteract it. They’re the third-most likely personality type to say they give up after rejection rather than try again.
- They’re markedly above average in saying that they typically get more sad than angry when they’re rejected. Sadness is generally an energy-sapping state of being, whereas anger often energizes a person, for better or for worse.
- Mediators are the personality type most likely to say their fear of rejection often stops them from doing things that they would otherwise do, suggesting that they might be slower than others to accept breaking up as the most reasonable response to a bad relationship.
- They are above average in saying that they could feel sorry for a partner who cheated on them and that they would be able to forgive their partner for cheating – slightly less than half of Mediators respond this way to both questions.
- These personalities are below average in saying that they are the one who typically ends a relationship that is not working.
- Mediators are above average in saying that they have been surprised by a breakup in the past.
- Sadly, they are the personality type most likely to agree that they usually consider themselves the reason for the breakup.
Some people get over life’s traumas more easily than others. That may have something to do with a person’s level of optimism and pessimism. Take our Optimism and Pessimism test to find out where you fall.
When Mediators Have a Broken Heart
As you might notice, we can glean a lot of information from the research about how Mediators respond to breaking up. Let’s have a look at a few.
Mediators’ Sensitivity to Rejection
Mediators’ sensitivity to rejection and their greater tendency to respond with sadness speaks to the potential for immobilization after a breakup. People with this personality type are less likely to “fight back” and more likely to surrender to the situation, perhaps leaving them feeling somewhat helpless.
Mediators Taking Too Much of the Blame
Mediator personalities are compassionate people who have an immense capacity to forgive others. They find it easy to be kind and generous, but this can lead them to take all the blame for a breakup. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. This charitable attitude only becomes problematic if, in the name of kindness and generosity, too much of the fault for the breakup ends up on their shoulders. Since Mediators are more likely to leave a terminated relationship feeling dejected and defeated anyway, they certainly don’t need to pile undeserved blame on top of those painful feelings.
Mediators Feeling Disappointed When Their Efforts Fail
We’ve discovered that Mediator personalities may be reluctant to dissolve a relationship whose end may be long overdue. Again, being tenacious and trying to work out any problems that a couple might face toward the end of a deep romantic connection is admirable. However, reality shows that resolutions to such problems don’t always come about, as much as we might hope for a great outcome.
For this article about the aftermath of a relationship, we can perhaps empathize with Mediators who have done all they could but couldn’t salvage what was once a great love. We can all probably imagine (or remember) the immense disappointment that might come with the failure of such sincere efforts.
How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?
Let’s look at some suggestions that can help Mediator personality types navigate their way through the remains of post-relationship life.
This Too Shall Pass
While such an event can leave an imprint on your life, it’s safe to say that the initial pangs of pain will diminish as time goes by. During grief or depression, it can seem like nothing will ever become better or even return to normal. You may imagine that you’ll never love again. While anything might happen, striking the death knell for your love life might be premature at such times.
Most people live reasonably fulfilling lives after loss. The trick here is to not minimize your pain while also realizing that the intensity of the hurt won’t last forever. Since Mediators are more likely than most personality types to say that they give up after such a loss, they may need more of a lifeline to pull them through their heartbreak. Often that lifeline is hope.
One of the best ways to restore hope involves talking with others, especially if one feels stuck in a negativity loop. That conversation might be with your best friend, a trusted family member, a support group, or even a professional – anyone who can help you regain perspective even when an optimistic view of your future is hard to imagine.
Talking through your grief with others gives them the chance to share their experiences, which more likely than not illustrate the encouraging sentiments that life goes on and that there’s plenty of reason to leave disappointment behind. Try to connect with the people you love and enjoy. Let them know what’s going on in your mind and heart.
But even more important than examples from others’ lives is the empathetic ear that the right person can provide. The value of having someone else listen to you and hear what you’re suffering through can alleviate the sense of you being alone with your pain.
Coping after a breakup can be tough. Take our Coping Styles Test to get a sense of what works best for you.
Balance Rest with Activity
Taking a little time to lick your wounds and process your feelings with chocolate chip cookies and HBO is okay. Likewise, sleeping late for a day or two can serve as a transitional healing activity. Just be careful that your self-care doesn’t turn into overeating or chronic lethargy.
Overdoing self-soothing can worsen matters. Seeing your life as out of control can only deepen feelings of gloom, and balance is the key to avoiding despair. So instead, after perhaps a little self-indulgence, try to transition to adequate rest and healthy eating.
After you give yourself a little time to indulge your need to console yourself through creature comforts, make some plans to do something. It almost doesn’t matter what you choose to do, but hopefully, you can think of an activity that’s enjoyable or fulfilling to add to your day.
One way to approach this might be to set yourself a daily quota for doing something fun or interesting. Then, become insistent with yourself, schedule your daily activity as an appointment on your calendar, and stick to the plan, unless you have a valid reason for standing yourself up.
Note: Don’t look at these activities as a method to avoid your feelings. Avoidance isn’t the goal. You may not necessarily want to bury your symptoms of heartbreak, but you might find that doing something pleasant helps offset your painful emotions. Think of these activities as supplemental to processing your grief. Think of them as a method to attain some balance while you’re going through this difficult time.
I know. Writing this, I’m rolling my eyes at my own words. Everybody suggests journaling for everything. And if journaling leaves you cold, as it does so many people, such an alleged cure-all has almost no chance with you. (BTW: Only 21% of Mediators keep a regular journal, which is 2% above the average but still a minority of the personality type.)
But hear me out. Mediators tend to blame themselves when things go wrong in relationships. Try journaling with these two prompts:
Label each page on the left-hand side of the journal or notebook, “Things I’m telling myself about the relationship ending.” Then, on the right-hand side of the journal or notebook, discuss whether the first list is true or not. Label that page “True?” Note the question mark. Maintain a spirit of exploration.
Be sure to write complete thoughts, and take some time to dig as deeply as possible for each entry on the right-hand page. This isn’t a simple yes or no question.
A short version might look something like this:
Things I’m telling myself about the relationship ending: “It’s all my fault. If I had been a better partner and paid more attention to x, y, and z, we’d still be together.”
True?: “Maybe I could have paid a bit more attention to x, y, and z. But it takes two to tango, and I believe I put a lot of effort into the relationship. I contributed to the breakup, but it’s not all my fault. What have I learned?”
Get the idea? Short-circuit some undeserved guilt that may want to surface. Be objective in your assessment, and take responsibility where you deserve it. Try to separate what’s real and reasonable from what’s automatic and perhaps negative self-talk.
Be honest. Be fair to yourself, and be impartial when assessing the actions of the person you broke up with. And you don’t have to journal forever – only long enough to get a handle on unjustified self-blame and unhelpful self-talk.
Speaking of responsibility, take our Locus of Control Test to get a deeper sense of where you usually place accountability in your life.
When Wholeness Comes
It’s a fact of life: romantic relationships sometimes bring pain from loss. Yet there can be enough joy and happiness to more than counteract the effects of the hard times, if we seek to nurture the more positive things in life. While there are no easy methods to cure heartbreak, its disruption to our lives is usually transient. Really, it is. And that’s something to hang on to.
So, if you are currently suffering from heartbreak, Mediator, we wish you a quick recovery. Take some time to grieve, and don’t push yourself to get over it before you’re ready. I’ll say it again: grief works differently for everybody, and sometimes it takes a little longer than those around us might be comfortable with. That’s okay. It’s your heart and not theirs. And, be assured, it probably won’t last forever.
If you’ve ever been heartbroken, share with us in the comments some things that helped you recover. How did your personality traits come into play, for better or worse, during this time?