Stop, Drop, Roll: How to Handle a Break Up

Stop, Drop, Roll:  How to Handle a Break Up

If you’ve ever watched those fire safety videos advising you on what to do if you should be unfortunate enough to catch on fire; the basic message is Stop, Drop, and Roll.  This process comprises three steps:


  1. STOP: The victim must stop any movement that could fan the flames
  2. DROP: The victim must drop to the floor
  3. ROLL: The victim must roll on the ground in order to deprive the fire of oxygen (i.e. fuel).


You might be wondering what fire safety has to do with breaking up, but if we use this as a metaphor for a break-up it can be very helpful.  See, there isn’t a simple three step rule to handling a break-up… some will suggest the No Contact Rule as imperative to the survival  of one’s dignity and pride in a break-up situation… but this is often used as a ploy to get an ex back rather than take care of yourself at this time of self-care and nourishment.  This article uses the above metaphor to offer a framework that might just help you get through your break-up.


The first thing you need to do is stop exacerbating the fire, meaning, don’t fan the flames and make things even worse for yourself and your partner by doing one of the typical things all ex’s do in their panic and desperation when losing the person they love.  You have to take a step back and let things settle.  Chain calling, facebook stalking, messaging on WhatsApp, and sending love letters in a desperate attempt to win back your ex are all going to fan the flames.  It might feel good in the short term, as often, this stage is about a sense of regaining control of the situation – but in reality, this is just going to fan the flames and providing fuel to the fire.



It’s okay to feel like you are falling apart, take that as a sign to rest and replenish.  Find comfort, a lot of people, at this time eat like crazy – but this can lead to reduced self-esteem as nobody wants to pile on the pounds whilst going through a break up.  Therefore, try not comfort food, but comfort furniture… in that you can make yourself a very cosy little nest that allows you to feel safe, warm and nurtured – consider putting fairy lights up, soft fabrics, and scented candles to create a comforting atmosphere.



This step is all about stopping the flames from reigniting and reinventing yourself.  When going through a break-up, one of the easiest temptations is to reach out to that person or see how they’re doing (particularly with the advent of social media) rather than give the situation space.  The “roll” step is all about you looking after yourself and prioritising your recovery; treating the wounds that have come as a result of this break-up.


So, albeit a rather bizarre metaphor, it seems to work pretty well for the hot headed nature of people experiencing that feeling of intense pain and desperation as they are coming to terms with their break up.  Remember, Stop Drop, and Roll – or in the case of a break up; don’t do anything to make it worse, find comfort in yourself, and treat your emotional wounds.

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