Definition of breaking points:
“The moment of greatest strain at which someone or something gives way.”
Even reading the above definition can make some people consider the breaking points they have reached in their lives. Thinking about personal breaking points can often bring to light some fairly unpleasant memories. Times that are fuelled with negative emotions that have built up over a period of time and then come to a head.
There is not a person alive who hasn’t reached their breaking point at least once, and most single mums could be particularly familiar with theirs.
Becoming a single parent is not something people take lightly. Often because of the involvement of children, parents will persevere with an unhappy relationship longer than they ordinarily would. The result can be an accumulation of frustration and disappointment. To live daily with relentless negativity will effect even the most optimistic of people, and is likely to push anyone to a breaking point.
SO WHAT EXACTLY ARE BREAKING POINTS?
In human psychology a breaking point is a moment of stress when a situation becomes critical. I would liken reaching a breaking point to being backed unwilling into a dark room. It may be a slow process that has built up over a number of years or something that happens fairly fast. Either way, it’s a sense of being reluctantly pushed over and over again in an unwanted direction. Then through desperation, anger, hopelessness (or any other negative emotion) something inside decides ‘no more’.
People can be irrational when they reach their breaking point, often with good reason. They might shout or scream. Adult tantrums are a standard reaction. A myriad of pent-up emotions may erupt. And making irrational decisions or behaving regrettably are par for the course.
IS THERE A GOOD SIDE TO BREAKING POINTS?
On the other hand, reaching a breaking point can also be a quieter moment of realisation. A sudden awareness of a situation that has just gone too far.
However distressing the ordeal may be, breaking points do have a positive side. After all, where would you be if you hadn’t snapped and finally decided that enough is enough?
Sometimes reaching a breaking point is exactly what is needed to take action. Maybe it’s nature’s way of ensuring our self-preservation and self-respect. A kind of human flick-switch to protect us from an unhealthy backlog of unhappiness.
Reflecting back on personal breaking points can actually be quite interesting. Maybe they were a catalyst for a fundamental personal or lifestyle change. By being pushed to a pressure point people can expose strength of character, resilience and confidence that was that previously hidden within.
A lot can be learnt from the circumstances surrounding breaking points. Remembering the trigger (the reason) can provide a sense of purpose. It can reinforce the consequential decisions that have been made as a result. In some cases it can even be used as a mantra for when times are hard and doubt creeps in. Looking back at low points, can power people through, driven by determination never to be in the same position again.
Why not take some time to think about the breaking points in your life? Your moments of greatest strain at which you had to give way. Now they are in the past are you able to view them more clearly and less emotionally? Where would you be now if you hadn’t reached your breaking point? And what have you learned from them? Save these thoughts for when you are at peace with yourself. After meditation (yes, meditation for mums can be really helpful!) is a good time.
You never know, by considering your breaking points from a different aspect could turn them from an undesirable past memory, to a moment of clarity that paved the way for a better life for you and your children.