Closure – My New “Opiate”

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When it comes to this blog, there are things that I’ve been very open about with regard to my life.   I have boundaries, but they’ve been tested by my willingness to be open.   Perhaps my inner narcissist thinks what I’ve experienced might help someone else.  Or maybe I just like to read my own dronings.   To determine the psycho/social particulars of those two statements will require time and a separate post.   What I will share with you now though, is an unabashed admission that I’ve been in therapy off and on since the late 80’s.    

I’d like to say it’s because I’m such a fascinating specimen of humanity.  In truth, I’ve lived a life typical of creative types–I have long been a very tortured soul.    My last delving into the world of Jung, Adler and Freud was late this past winter and of all the sessions I’ve had in my life, I got more out of this one.    

Any shrink will tell you that in order to be helped, you have to be willing to seek it.   You have to admit there’s a problem.  And not only that, you have to be willing to do the homework.  True therapy involves deep introspection  that exceeds well beyond the one hour weekly sessions in therapist’s office. This is a very painful process and one reason why so many people cease their sessions before anything has stuck. 

You have to learn the hard way that pain means change and you have to forge ahead.  I understood that this time.  I really got into the things I was learning about myself and others.  It was more fulfilling because I really wanted to get help for the problems that were plaguing me.  I had to realize that if I wanted any kind of quality of life, I’d have to admit they were real and up to me to resolve them.   I did and once that happened, I started acquiring the defensive tools and weaponry needed  to do battle.   And I assure you, successful therapy is  nothing short of waging war  against your inner demons.

So, in this process of turning myself to face myself, my therapist told me something that blew me away.  She said in all her years in this profession, she’d never met anyone so completely out of touch with her feelings.  

 Me?

Moi?

I was Laurie Kendrick, a witty and urbane woman who was also a deep thinker, eloquent and erudite to the gills.  OF COURSE, I WAS IN TOUCH WITH MY FEELINGS!!!!!!

But instead, I learned that I was actually an excellent sweeper of all things under the rug.    That’s how I’d deal with  problems.  Oh yeah, if something happened, I’d cry…mourn…get depressed, but instead of processing what had transpired and then properly dealing with the ensuing pain, I’d choose to place these unsavory events in an unmarked file in my brain and only revisit when I absolutely had to.

Which I rarely did.

That resulted in  files brimming to the rim with nothing but unresolved relationships;  relationships that just died without any real explanation;  without any rhyme or reason and instead of confronting the person to find out what had really happened,  I said nothing.  I asked no questions.  I didn’t defend myself.  I felt inferior, as though I was to blame and I merely limped away, only to emerge a little later as if nothing had ever happened.

Fast forward to the late fall of 2009.  

I had an opportunity to re-acquaint myself with someone who had held a very regal position in my heart for almost four decades.    He started the ball rolling by walking out on me 36 years ago.  He broke up with me and never offered a reason why.   I was too wounded and at 14, too young and immature to ask why.  I just let him go and reacted like it didn’t bother me at all.   But it did.  I was seething inside and it haunted me for the rest of my life.

I never thought we’d reconnect and even though I never wanted to, I’m glad we did because we talked.  I asked questions and the man he’d become explained the feelings of the boy he once was.  I got the answers I wanted.   I got the closure I needed.

What an absolutely glorious thing to have a feeling come full circle.    To have questions answered.    To find that damned needle in the haystack.   To apply punctuation to the end of a long, run – on sentence.

I do believe that something physical happens when you achieve closure because closure means structure.   The event that once unnerved you only had a beginning and a middle.  It was missing an integral part.    Closure provides an ending and when realize the omega to your alpha, I swear it becomes something altogether physcial.   I think the brain starts to emit endorphins once you realize you have closure.  You  get a runner’s high because you finally stopped running from a situation  you’ve allowed to chase you for years…decades, perhaps.  

I am a big believer in signs.   Closure and the physical sensation of completion is one of Nature’s perfect indicators that we’re doing the right thing;  that we’re heading in the right direction.    There is complete removal of doubt.     Certainty is one of the best feelings in the world.

But beyond that, closure is also a literal event.   When we experience closure, we close the doors on the confusion of the past and that in turn, allows us to focus on the future.  Closed doors let us make decisions faster.  They let us see clearer and somehow, they let us experience real forgiveness.  

But perhaps the best part about closed doors?   They’re also extremely hard to open again.   Maybe it’s just me, but I find great comfort in knowing there’s permanence to this particlar aspect to change.   I like knowing that things could never go back to the way they were.  For me, there’s safety in that.  There is security and a sense of finality.    I would imagine it would be a feeling that’s akin to knowing the man who murdered your sister is behind bars and will stay there for he rest of his life.   

Under less arduous circumstances, closed doors allow us to say goodbye and good luck and really mean it.

So, goodbye and good luck, Mr. Heartache.   It took 36 years for you to give me the one thing I never knew I always wanted–a parting gift of liberation and emotional unencumbrance.   I have freedom and room to grow and I still believe somehow,  even through the muck and mire  of my life, that good things can still happen…even at this late stage of the game . 

As I see it,  your departure from my life means my arrival.    

And for that, I am truly thankful.

,n

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8 comments

  1. Oh please Laurie…I have you to thank.

    Have I told you lately how much I truly appreciate and respect you? If I haven’t, I have been remiss. You are the reason I wake up in the morning. I love you and I regret not taking better mental and emotional care of you over the years. I allowed some horrible people into your life and didn’t defend you when I should have.

    I’m sorry.

    But let this be the first step to healing and forward progression. It feels nice and we should do this more often. Self-congratulation is a lot like masturbation….just without a stiff gym sock.

    C’est la vie, mon amor!!!

    You rock AND you roll,
    LK

  2. I have often confused my ability to analyze feelings with the ability to allow them to exist. Talking about feelings is easy, interesting, even fun. Just feeling them, for me, can be hard, because I’m terribly afraid of failing.

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    I know exactly what you’re talking about. Who isn’t afraid of failure??? But I can tell you this: once you discern between the two– acknowledging the feelings are real and then allowing each one to be carefully processed–you know you’re alive. For me, it is a sense of triumph, the likes of which I’ve never felt before and I don’t mean to brag, but I DO know triumph, which is why failure scares me as much as it does. I know triumph’s antitheses very well. Failure really, is nothing but fear and fear is one of the feelings that we’re talking about here. Like anything else, it must be acknowledged and processed.

    The idiosyncratic nature of being makes this an extremely personal sojourn. One man’s analysis of thought is another person’s mindless journey into boredom. What I derive and determine is just that—what I derive. Everyone else must do as they must. But some general psychological principles exist across the board and can applied to everyone, such as seeing something come full circle.

    Closure, with its delightful components of a beginning, a middle and an end, gives us a sense of defined purpose and accomplishment. Finishing something we started..regardless of the emotion involved in the outcome. Completion in and of itself is the goal. How can that ever be construyed as failure? That being the case, I must ask, how could anyone possibly be scared or fearful of that reality?????

    LK

  3. Oh Laurie Laurie Laurie. You are something! Success and failure are but yin and yang, each there to teach us something. There is no real closure, ever, not even in death. What we construe as beginning, middle, and end, are absolutely arbitrary.

    But you sure can write a captivating blog post lemme tell ya! Thank you for that.

    Happy Holidays.

    .

    Love you like my luggage David, but I respectfully disagree. There IS such a thing as closure and it exists for all those who need it (arbutrary or not) Again, I reiterate–it exists for “all those who need it”. There is a sense of completion AND satisfaction when one can tie up all loose ends. If you want to call it the placebo affect, go ahead.

    And besides David, in a completely idiosyncratic world rife with individual perception, are you actually willing to tell something who needs closure that he or she can’t have it because you don’t believe it actually exists? If you feel the contents of life and closure are as arbitrary and nebulous as you beleive they are, then bully for you. But I respectfully and strongly encourage you to refrain from telling someone this.

    We survive and strive by what we believe in, David….God, Jesus, Buddha, Ganesh, love, hate, Satan, Nature…even the almighty dollar and with the excpetion of the dollar and its in-hand tangibility, everything else is pretty damned nubulous, utterly conceptual and open to individual interpretation.

    We all have mental/emotional causes that we utilize to bring forth pleasure and satisfaction. You love photography and revel in the beauty of it’s finished product. You love to ride your bike and the reasons for that, I’m sure, are many. You do what you must, believe in what you have to and feel whatever you can. These things make you happy.

    Let’s say your boss assigned you a difficult, very involved task. It took you three months to complete it and it wasn’t easy. You had to start all over again three times. It took you away from your home and family, but when it was all over, when you finished it, tell me there wasn’t an overwhelming sense of relief and satisfaction.

    What’s the difference?

    At this juncture, what’s doing it for me is an ardent belief that I have found closure in a relationship that I once plagued me for many, many years. I sought answers, but only woke up each day with questions. Now I have them and I have an overwhelming sense of relief and satisfaction.

    Admittedly, I only know you from your blog and your comments on mine and yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I must say (and I do so with all due respect) I’m a bit surprised that a man of your wit and elan can’t grasp the fact that as humans, we all seek what we need, no matter how vague or circuitous the path.

    As death not even representing closure, well, all I know about that, David is that it’s the cessation of life. To say we know anything beyond that is folly. IN the simpelst of terms, we’re alive and will remain that way till we die. No one knows what happens beyond that. But in our current corporeal and mortal states, it’s obvious that one man’s fruit is another man’s therapy session. What works for some, doesn’t for otehrs. But our one commonality is we live as part of means to an end. How we fill the space between our personal alphas and omegas is up to us.

    And if the concept of attaining closure helps make more sense of the journey, so be it.

    LK

  4. Very eloquent response. Please accept my apology for my empty headed comment. Your point about seeking what we need is very well taken. Yes, bully for me indeed. I’ve been rather lucky and have been spared the pains others suffer. Thanks for your thoughtful redirect. I’ll try to be more considerate in my comments.

  5. Laurie – Boy, how I needed to hear this right now…

    I’m hanging in limbo right now, with a friend, waiting for it to desend into an inevitable end. Not because I want it that way, but because I feel that it is going to come to that, and that it SHOULD come to that (more for my mental health anyway).

    I feel it’s going to be somewhat like how I imagine drowning or being buried alive would be like (you know what’s happening but can’t stop it and you feel every excruciating second of pain before the end).

    Because of how I am (too sensitive), and how I feel (too much), I know I have always needed closure in my relationships, and acknowledgment of my feelings.
    I hang on, and have always hung on, to people who have come and gone, and memories and unfulfilled hopes and desires would plague me until I have that closure. And then…yes, sweet relief happens when it comes. The peace of mind knowing that it wasn’t your fault (either at all or at least, not completely). You can accept that things happen, people change, people move on…and you give yourself permission to move on too.

    I think the mind (well, my mind anyway) exaggerates and contorts the memories we have. Our perceptions of the past go unchallenged until we can meet up with that person to finally examine things in the light of day. We can find peace and comfort that we seek.

    Anyway, much peace and many blessings to you my friend.

    Thank you for being so transparent with yourself. I truly respect and appreciate you and your candid self-examination.

    Casey

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