Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Broken Heart/The Five Deadly D's

We’ve all probably heard the expression, “She died of a broken heart?” Recently scientists have discovered that a heart broken by emotional distress can result in a serious heart condition. The world of science has named this condition “cardiomyopathy” or “broken heart syndrome”. The physical stress brought on by the emotions can cause a person to experience the same symptoms as a heart attack. Usually, however, this condition causes no permanent damage to the heart.

Ordinarily, this term refers to an emotional state of feeling extreme sadness, being severely grief-stricken, and experiencing intense loneliness through some act of rejection.


Based on personal experience, as well as the experiences of others closest to me, it is this author’s opinion that "disappoint-ment" is the root cause of what generally breaks a person’s heart.

One expects a romantic relationship to turn into marriage, yet it doesn’t. Or one gets married only to experience a painful divorce. Maybe an individual has suffered the loss of a spouse or child and finds her hopes and dreams for future happiness dashed in an instant. The list of ways we can be disappointed is endless. People will always disappoint you. Heck, life in general disappoints us.

However, I would suggest that the majority of people will never really realize how the first huge “disappointment” they experienced took place when they were little, powerless children. We are born with intrinsic needs that we inherently expect to be met by our parents. But, since our parents probably experienced the same disappointments in their childhoods, they disappoint us in the same way. And the beat goes on without anyone realizing what happened. Unless and until one realizes how his/her heart was broken in childhood and deals with those unresolved issues, this person will pass the dysfunctional baton down to his/her children. In other words, you will break their hearts with the same unrecognized, unintentional disappointments that you experienced. Hurt people hurt people.


Disappointment can lead to “discouragement“. Even though the individual was born with certain talents, he/she may not posses the “courage” to explore their god-given gifts due to the fact that their heart is stuck in disappointment. Discouragement greatly diminishes our confidence. Without the necessary courage and confidence to explore one’s possibilities, one could end up living out his/her life in a state of quiet, perhaps even hidden, “despair”.

Despair is a persistent feeling of hopelessness. When one’s heart has been broken by deep disappointment, the individual usually feels “invalidated” as a person at the same time. Ask anyone who’s been betrayed if he or she felt invalidated by the betrayer’s lack of loyalty. You’ll almost always receive a “Yes” answer. Any form of rejection invalidates the rejected person on some level. Lack of loyalty translates into being “unworthy” to the heart of the betrayed person.

Whenever someone’s heart has been broken by disappointment, which then led the individual to live with discouragement, quickly followed by despair, this person has unknowingly become the poster-child for “dependence“. In order to survive these unseen forces that literally have taken control of his/her psyche, this man or woman will turn to some brand of “dependence” in order to survive. Be it drugs, gambling, sex, shopping, etc., the afflicted person must find their own brand of addiction in which to lean upon as a means of survival.

Like Priscilla, many women find themselves desperately depending upon a man to cure their ills. In her dysfunctional way she thinks if she can just latch on to the right man, she’ll be okay. She foolishly thinks he’ll take responsibility for her well being and do the things she doesn’t have the courage or confidence to do for herself.

Unfortunately, whether your particular choice of addiction has come beautifully gift-wrapped or not, they all lead to the same unsavory destination defilement“.

When a woman has allowed herself to become completely dependent upon a man to validate her personhood, she cannot have any boundaries in that relationship. Meaning there’s nothing she won’t do to get and keep her “fix”. She has come to believe that she cannot survive without a man in her life. (My new book, Murder on Murder Creek Road, reveals a lot about Priscilla’s acquired dependence upon men.)

If you remember nothing else about this post, remember this: Any form of dependence has it’s own “flavor” of defilement. Defilement means being ruined, damaged, destroyed, polluted, abused, or violated. It may come gift-wrapped in a handsome, Prince Charming-type man, but if it’s your “fix”, it will eventually defile you. Any form of addiction will ultimately lead to the same distasteful destination.

About now you might be saying to yourself, “Well, this is certainly depressing. Is there any good news in this post?” The answer is “Yes”. And here it is: If your heart has been shattered by the Five Deadly D’s, you can choose to stop the train, get off and “redefine” yourself! However, it has to be a conscious, deliberate choice of your free-will. By not making a deliberate choice to redefine yourself, you’ve already made a “default-choice” to remain on the run-away train. Please don’t fool yourself into thinking you didn’t have a choice. By not deliberately choosing to change, you’ve chosen to remain stuck! It’s that simple.

How do I redefine myself?”, you ask. As suggested in the above paragraph, one must first decide to be proactive, not reactive. The next time we meet I’ll share with you how Priscilla redefined herself.


  1. Pat, you never cease to amaze me!!! You have such a gift. This post really hits home. I really never thought of the 5 Ds in these terms before, but they truly do work to describe this addiction. I feel that many, many women suffer from the "Broken Heart" syndrome. This post definitely applies to me. I grew up being addicted to "Male Approval". Which I paid a high price for. In seeking this approval, I lost me. Thankfully, I have moved beyond this addiction. I no longer need this type of approval to be validated. I look forward to reading how Priscilla redefined herself.

  2. As you said towards the end of your post, it's our decision to change or stay "stuck". It's not easy, but it's possible!

    While friends and romantic relationships are important in life, the only person we should depend on to carry us through is ourselves. As I've always said, one should never rely on a man (or woman) to make them happy or validate them. Happiness comes from within and from touching others.