Nail Does Not Drive Out Nail: It Is The Hammer That Drove It To Remove It

Nail does not drive out nail: it is the hammer that drove it to remove it

As absurd as it may seem to you, nail does not drive out nail. Starting a new relationship to find a pain reliever for the pain of the recent breakup is not a good choice. This nail stuck in our heart can only be removed by the hammer that drove it; putting another one would make the hole even bigger.

You are never ready to survive a romantic breakup. We often despair in search of a why, we struggle to understand that sometimes relationships fail, because people enjoy free will, because love ends or, simply, because the other is not mature enough to contemplate these possibilities.

Accepting the final goodbye, the distance and having to start a new life with emptiness on the other side of the bed and in the heart makes one desperate. Our brain goes into a state of alert and interprets that pain as real, with an impact very similar to that of a burn. We need to relieve this sunburn with a good dose of dopamine, with a quick and easy remedy to numb the pain of the soul.

There are those who manage to avoid these processes by creating a correct, slow and delicate path of acceptance, in which they gradually repair the broken pieces. Others, however, refuse to accept the end and desperately try to reconcile with their partner. Finally, there are people who start a journey that doesn’t always work: that of transient relationships.

heart-with-pins nail

The nail that lives in your heart

The classic expression “nail drives nail” appeared for the first time in the book by Marco Tullio Cicero Tusculanae Disputationes  around the year 44 BC. This text was directed to Marcus Brutus and, speaking of the pains of love, it says: ” veteram amorem, tamquam clavo clavum, eficiendum putant ”(the new love takes away an old love, as one nail takes away the other).

It is evident that it is wonderful to start a new stable, happy and mature relationship that offers us a new opportunity, but only if we are really ready for it. It is true that none of us are irreplaceable, but we are not interchangeable either. No one should act as a plaster for the anguish, as a momentary analgesic for the melancholy of unresolved lack of love.

The rupture, a chemical shipwreck

Lucy Brown, a neuroscientist at Einstein Medical University and an expert in the brain’s responses to love, explains that, in general, overcoming an emotional breakdown can cost us anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. This varies a lot from person to person; however, according to some research, men take the longest to recover. Women, for their part, experience a stronger emotional impact, but overcome breakups first.


The end of a relationship is experienced as a traumatic act because our brain is programmed to connect with another person ; there are few things as rewarding as building that psychological tent based on affection and love. Breaking this bond is a real chemical shipwreck.

During the first phase of the relationship, passion is linked to the most primitive part of our brain. And the loss and the state of bitterness during which we experience pain also emerge from this primordial area. Over a period of time, emotion dominates reason. Little by little, however, we will emerge from this fog that smells of tears and loneliness.

Time to cry, time to love

We’re not saying that starting a new relationship shortly after a complex and painful ending can’t lift us, distract us, make us laugh or have fun. However,  if we experience pain in the wrong way, we risk throwing ourselves into the void with all our senses turned on to the maximum: we are hungry for love, to be comforted, we seek the intensity and not the calm that would make us remember the one who does not. love more.

We do not want middle ground and this can cause us serious side effects, for example that the other falls in love while we are only looking for a passing surrogate, an emotional anesthetizer. However, it is clear that each of us is a world apart and perhaps even this risky gesture can have a good outcome. But the fate of every nail is to get hammered. So, before making a bigger hole, it’s good to think a little bit.


Starting a relationship only to fill gaps, needs and frustrations means taking away what you need from the other, like thieves who enter a house at night to steal. It is not a legitimate gesture.

  • We live in a society where there is a lot of tendency to “move forward”. When they ask us how we are, we often answer “well, let’s go on”. It is as if our duty were to always remain standing in a frantic race in which whoever stops is lost.
  • However, stopping from time to time is a vital necessity. We don’t live in the world of Alice in Wonderland, where the Queen of Hearts urged her subjects to run as fast as possible to survive. Our brain also needs calm and moments of introspection during which we can collect the fragments, close the wounds and rebuild ourselves.

There is a time to cry and a time to start loving again, but not to love others, but ourselves. Because the mind that loads resentment and broken dreams fuels the low self-esteem of the heart and no one, absolutely no one, can be happy again with this weight on their shoulders.

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