Closure Begets “Closure”

For a very long time I have struggled with closure when it comes to past relationships. I thought I had a handle on it, it’s the feeling you get after a relationship has ended when you no longer think about the person, the relationship you held and no longer wish for the future you believed you would share with the person. This understanding seemed to cover it for a very long time, I just thought that I wasn’t very good at it. Closure was just a skill that I was deficit in.

But that’s really silly when I stop and think about it. There isn’t such a thing as closure. There’s “closure” but that’s a concept, talking point, mental state about which people talk like they have a common understanding of what it means. But I don’t think I have the same understanding of closure as a number of my friends, clients and even members of my family.

The state of mind “closure” is the “not really thinking about it in a negatively influential sort of way” that I always understood it to be. There’s mostly agreement about this.

Closure, or the action we take that allows us to reach the closure state of mind, is decisive action to commit to a different future that is based on a logical analysis of all the information available. It is decisive because you run through a check list of all the concerns, eliminating them one by one until there is no reason left NOT to commit to the new future. The doubt is eliminated by this thorough examination of the facts as you know them. If at some point in the future you were to question the decision, you can be confident that you don’t have to be concerned because you performed your due diligence. You’ll adapt and change based on new information, but you don’t need to think about it again unless you get new information. This is the process by which we get closure and achieve the closure state of mind.

When I chuck this realization into my brain and let it do battle with my world view, there is an exciting feeling that builds right where my unconscious mind materializes as awareness. The sense is that of a lightening of mind, a freedom, like I’m suddenly able to run again, and as I do, useless pieces of me are burning off and that helps me run faster. It’s like I’m escaping the gravity of something that was dark and I’m off into an open expanse of nothingness.

For the more scientifically minded, it’s like the mental energy that was being sapped by continuing to think about things that had not been properly analyzed and actioned on is now available for other tasks and this is experienced as a boost in brain processing efficiency.

The consequences of this are pretty cool. First off, you get to stop thinking about stuff that you shouldn’t have been thinking about anyway. Second, you get to feel better because you aren’t thinking or agonizing about this stuff. Finally, you are smarter in a relative sense because you do have more processing capacity, which will improve you concentration, memory, and other executive functions. Lumped together, these represent a huge improvement in the quality of life.

So if you’re stuck on something from the past or have gotten into something now to stop the pain of the past, that a few moments today to write-out the check list as to why you’ve close of that part of your life. You may be surprised to find that a much better quality of life is just one self-dialectic conversation away!

A Note From The Recovery Road

Got a great email from friend the other day. She is one of a group of about 5 people I am fairly close to who ended a long term relationship in the last year – a marriage of more than a decade. Her reply was in response to a message I sent talking about a sense of having forgotten who I was and having very few clear memories of the preceding 6 months. I love what she says, particularly about transition friends can be here today and gone tomorrow. In these times of regrowth, we take was we need from where we can get it. It can come from unexpected places and doing unexpected things.

Yes it sure has been a wild ride for me and I am getting my life back together. You mention the spring, but I think the whole year has been a blur, for me at least! The waterfront trails are amazing and you are more than welcome to drop by. I sent you a few pics last night. I have been there for 2 weeks now.

I know exactly what you mean by losing interest. I went through the same thing. It does come back though. I have had a couple people at work telling me that they think I am sharper at work now. I think your personal life tends to overlay over your professional life even if you don’t want it to. Time does heal and I know what you mean about losing your identity. That is why I am open to new experiences now and this is about self discovery. And I will be going camping for the first time in my life this week end with a girlfriend and her family. I know nothing about it, but I am keeping an open mind. At least I will try it.

There are times when I feel like I need someone and the loneliness comes in, but I can divert myself and when the time is right, I will meet someone. You can’t force it and should not need someone there. But this is when friends can play a big role. And these transition friends may be here today, but not here tomorrow.

Keep your spirits up and keep working on the family business and everything will fall into place like it should. It all works out in the end. Do enjoy your summer and your time outdoors, since it is really short.

Addictive Relationships

In early May Sharon lend me her copy of “I Don’t Want to be Alone: For Men and Women Who Want to Heal Addictive Relationships” by John Lee. She had found the book to very helpful. I read some of it and put it down. At the time it was because I was tired and needed to try and get some sleep, but over the next few weeks seeing the book sitting on the shelf started to nag at me. I told myself that I was too busy to pick it up and last week I gave the book back.

Now that the book is gone, I understand why it was nagging me. I stopped reading it because it was making me uncomfortable. I had been approaching the book from Sharon’s perspective, trying to see and understand how and why the book resonated with her. You get no insight when you read that way because you’ve already made a judgment that taints your ability to experience the lessons yourself. But, as is the way with thought fragments, enough of what was being read made it in and started to make me feel uncomfortable.

And I remember thinking when I was reading it that I could see myself in each of the characters to some degree. Unfortunately, I wasn’t reading the book backwards so any identification with the characters meant that I was relating to them as they were before they uncovered and solved their problems. Oh oh! Better put that book down Pat, if you don’t you’re soon going to find out that you don’t want to be alone; and frankly, are terrified of it. Fortunately Sharon had finished the book and was able to coach me towards having the experiences I needed in order to see this fact.

I fall in love quickly and completely. It is a poets love, consuming, passionate, intense and, sadly, codependent. And as a poet in love, I write and I broadcast out the state of being in love because that’s helps me to feel things. Some of the stuff is great, some of it is good, but most of it is just words typed out to allow me to experience a happy emotion that I think I should share with someone. If these efforts are liked, I do them more until they stop being liked and then become annoying. But I perceive the change in receptiveness as someone checking-out and, since I’m terrified about the prospect of being alone, fear grows, taints my thoughts, and things breakdown rapidly. I’m not fighting for a relationship, I’m fighting for what I feel is my entire identity.

It isn’t a good way to live. Fortunately, Sharon saw it quickly and did what was needed for me to feel the rapid breakdown and identify why it was happening. Now the challenge, addressing the codependency issues that I have been unconsciously expressed for most of my adult life and to move my life to a point were I can want a partner in my life but not need them in order to function. That is my next journey, and I really do owe finally finding the path to Sharon. Thank you Sharon!