by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Author, Attorney, Podcaster, Media Commentator, Motivational Speaker, and Creator of the World's Most Successful Breakup Program. 

  • Getting Past Your Breakup: How To Turn A Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You (Hachette Book Group 2009)
  • Getting Back Out There: Secrets to Successful Dating and Finding Real Love After the Big Breakup (Hachette Book Group 2015)
  • Getting Past Your Past Workbook: The Definitive Workbook to Emotional Healing, Health and Happiness (La Bella Vita Publishing 2012)
  • GPYP Power! Affirmations (La Bella Vita Publishing 2019) 

Backstory To This Post

There are several GPYB “Wha Wha Meltdown” posts. There is the Wha Wha Wha Working Too Hard Meltdown….the Wha Wha Wha Why Me Meltdown…etc….they all have the same theme….we’re working hard while the world is off having fun and one day we just don’t WANT TO DO IT ANYMORE!!! We’re SICK OF IT!!!

And these “Wha Wha” posts say: it’s OKAY, it’s NORMAL!

This is one of them and I’m posting it in response to a “Wha Wha I’m Exhausted and Tired of Thinking of this CRAP” FB group post

A GPYB “Wha Wha”  Post

Getting better is not a contest with our oblivious ex who is just going on as if nothing happened. It’s not a contest with our friend who left bananahead A and is now engaged to someone she considers the most wonderful person in the world. It’s not a contest with those who have what we want and why did they get it and we didn’t?

Getting better is our own deal. We compare our growth to our own…and we stop comparing our insides to others’ outsides. But, no matter how good we are about not falling into the pity party, the “wha wha meltdown” is an inevitable place we all come to at some point:

I’ve written many times about the gift of desperation and how it really IS a gift when you are propelled into finally figuring out WHAT is wrong and HOW to fix it. I’ve also written posts about how so many others just NEVER EVER EVER get it.

I used to have a friend who would say that he wished he could open up people’s heads and pour the wisdom in. I knew, at the time, that I was definitely one of those he was talking about. I was not the most willing student a lot of the time. In my first wha wha meltdown, this very fine friend of mine heard me say, “I AM SO SICK OF WORKING SO HARD BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE MISTREATED ME WHILE THEY’RE OFF TOASTING MARSHMALLOWS OR SOME SUCH THING.” This friend looked at my calmly and said,

“So what else are you going to do?”


When you’re working SO hard, it’s really easy to become resentful that you’re the one working so hard. Your crazy family’s off having a barbeque and maybe talking about you, your ex is off with who knows who doing who knows what and you’re there journaling, doing your inventories, looking at your family relationships and crying and not sleeping and talking and reading book after book after book and just




And you’re not even sure if it works! You want to feel better.  Some days there might be a glimmer…but you’re just trudging along.  In the Big Book of AA they talk about “trudging the road to happy destiny.”  You know you’re trudging alright…but, you are very unclear and uncertain about the happy destiny part.  Others are having epiphanies and rainbows and unicorns and you feel like you’re stepping through the rusted insides of things you once owned and can’t quite identify.  You’re finding out something new that is wrong with you almost every day.

Mommy, it’s not fair…they’re having stuff and I’m not!

And Mommy is drunk on the couch and slurring the words but you’re pretty sure she said, “Go the F away before I kick your head in.”

Well, okay then. I’ll be at the Al-Anon meeting. Trudging. 

Another friend of mine used to have a pin that said AFGE and it stood for another fng growth experience and one day she took it off, flung it across the room and said, “That is IT. I have had it. I do not want to grow anymore. I do not want to learn another damn thing. I do not want to do another SINGLE ounce of introspection while the crazies of the world are just OUT THERE BEING CRAZY and being perfectly fine with that! They don’t have to do this….they don’t have to write that, talk about this, make this chart, read that book, feel their feelings or any of the other STUFF I’m spending all my 24 hours each day DOING!”

And I laughed and she got mad. … BUT I laughed because I remember throwing the same temper tantrum over and over and over again and the words of my inimitable friend who said,, “What else are you going to do?” My life had become “Get me well because crazy people have damaged me…” and I thought if we could just round up all the crazy people and get THEM well then nice people like me would not have to be doing all this work. Instead we could be doing…oh I don’t know…watching TV and eating ice cream. Something A LOT MORE FUN.

That’s usually the time to take a break. Maybe for an hour, maybe for a day, maybe for a few days…but make sure you’re taking breaks. The work is absolutely about balance. You MUST find balance between self-care and working on your “stuff.” Without self-care, the work becomes way too grueling and challenging.  That is WHY the book Getting Past Your Breakup stresses  balance balance balance…work and self-care…work and self-care…but sometimes even WITH self-care, you can run into the brick wall and go wha wha wha — all the way home.  Time to take MORE of a break and be even BETTER to you.  

The “working too hard”…”wha wha” meltdown is inevitable. There are plenty of them.   Sometimes it’s self-pity and sometimes it’s just “I want to have FUN. This is NOT FUN.”

It comes from realizing you’re doing all this work and having to spend your time and what seems like your entire life unearthing all this junk and staying out of relationships and journaling and therapy and all of this STUFF simply because, to put it bluntly, other people suck.

And you start to think it’s not fair and it’s not okay. And it’s okay to have that tantrum and have that meltdown. Because there is some degree of unfairness to it. But it is what it is. It’s what you have to deal with…it’s your bottom that you hit…perhaps no one else hit a bottom…perhaps they’re all in maintenance crazy land (being just crazy enough to not have to seek therapy or “get better” from anything.)

I once had a long-time boyfriend in recovery in NA who was a sweet, kind, pleasant person, but then he  stopped going to his meetings and – in a very short period of time – turned into a raging crazy person of the like I had never seen before. A friend of mine said he was a dry drunk.  It’s when an alcoholic or addict doesn’t pick up but they stop doing recovery and they exhibit all the signs of someone who is active.

I thought about it and she was right.  This was BS as far as I was concerned.  A friend of mine told me to go to Nar-Anon for the partners of addicts.  I went to one meeting and I sat there fuming.  This was TOTAL BS.  (the MEETING wasn’t BS and the people were lovely but I had other meetings to go to with other lovely people for MY stuff).  I left the meeting and went home and yelled at him, “I am not adding another meeting to my week because you stopped going to yours.  I already go to meetings, therapy and all kinds of things.  I am NOT adding another one to my list because you can’t get your act together. If you think I’m going to be the long-suffering girlfriend in Nar-Anon because you’re a bananahead, think again.  Get to a meeting or get out of the house and stay out.”  He got to a meeting and there was much rejoicing.  I just shared this story with a boot camp and they were laughing their heads off about it.

Sometimes you have to figure out WHOSE PROBLEM IS THIS?

You know when you have to draw the line.  You are working on stuff from BEFORE.  Don’t add new bananaheads to your life.  This is what the Standards and Compatibility Inventory in Getting Back Out There is all about.  Raising your standards so you don’t have new crap to deal with – you have enough old crap for one lifetime.  EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO STAY IN MY LIFE BETTER GET IN LINE. AND NOW!

The good thing is that the healing and the growth IS extraordinary. It’s hard to imagine in the middle of the meltdown that you will change in ways you can only imagine. People who have done the program come back and attest to it…it’s really a gift to get to the place in your life where you say “No more…I’ve had enough…tell me what to change and I will change it…tell me what to do and I will do it.”  

For me my life changed forever when I arrived in that place…when I was at that place…tell me what to do and I will do it…I just don’t want to feel like this anymore….I will stand on my head and spit nickels if it will make me feel better…anything.

And THAT is the gift of desperation…and it really IS a gift of desperation…because unless you’re willing to go that deeply, then you can’t change your entire life…and not everyone gets it. The people who suck usually NEVER get it…it’s always the nice people who get it because, guess what? it’s the nice people who feel bad…who say, “What? But I would NEVER do that to someone!”

And that’s right…you wouldn’t…so that is why you’re here. If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong. If you think you’re terminally unique, you’re not. If you think only you can’t get it, think again. It’s a victim mentality, whether you like the word or not, to think that you can’t do it. You can and stop saying you can’t.

You will get back to the books, to the workbook and to the positivity chapter (Chapter 4!) in the Power! Affirmations booklet that talks about gratitude and acceptance and all the things that make the trudging easier to bear.  When you go through life accepting life on life’s terms, you know that everything is okay because you’re okay with everything. Meaning you accept things just as they ARE at this very moment.

The wha wha meltdown is a departure from that acceptance and that’s OKAY. It’s a sign that you need a break and you need to chill the hell out.  Never beat yourself up for the wha wha meltdown. It’s shouting at you: TAKE A BREAK!!!

Because you want to learn and grow and change and be around other people who would never do that to someone. And when you are healing you get to do that.

The gift of desperation really is a gift even if you can’t see it when you’re having a working-too-hard-wha-wha meltdown. It IS a gift.

Yes, you’re hurt and yes, you’ve been harmed and yes, it’s hard. But you can do it. You can have a wha wha meltdown, you can stamp your feet and call it all unfair, you can doubt that any of this will work for you and you are still in the middle of the muck and mire and you are not sure you will ever get out of the swamp pit of “crap other people did to you.”  You know you’ve turned yourself inside out, practically standing on your head and spitting nickels. While the despicable ex is off clowning around with Mr. or Ms. New Thang, you’re having nightmares and sitting on your hands to not text or call.  What fresh hell is this?  WHAT?

Okay have your fit and then push all the self-help books off the nightstand, throw the “Just for Today” meditation book at the wall.  Then turn off your phone and computer and go somewhere to take care of you.  Whether you want to go hit some golf balls, take a wood-working class, get a massage, take a bubble bath, go to a spa or just chill out with some friends – GO TAKE CARE OF YOU.  Forget the work, forget the healing, just give yourself a break and some credit.  YOU CAN DO THIS.

But when all is said and done, you have to come back and make a choice to stop having a fit and get on with things.

You can do this.  You ARE DOING THIS and you, my friend, are healing.  Keep up the good work. 

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