“How do you accomplish a sense of closure when your partner won’t speak to you?”
“How do you move on if you feel the relationship ended due to past baggage, but not a lack of love?”
These are some of the questions posted in my private Facebook group for attachment wounds, which thematically revolve around the concept of closure.
When it’s either unhealthy to be in contact with someone, or the partner won’t give you the sense of closure you need, it can be difficult to move on with a positive attitude about love.
It is good to be able to come to a place of peace with your partner before or right after the relationship ends, but it is not always possible. In either case, the work of closure is still your own inner work to do.
And there are three steps to this process:
- Generalize your feelings and your thoughts about them.
- Realize you already know everything you need to, to move on.
- Forgiveness is an action; the feeling follows.
- GENERALIZE YOUR FEELINGS AND YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THEM
When we are preoccupied with a past relationship and struggling to let go of it, it is likely that you feel as though this person is the ONLY person in the world that could make you feel the way you do. You find yourself thinking that love is such a rare and precious thing and you will never find anyone else that makes you feel as stimulated and as excited as this person did, even if it wasn’t everything you needed and wanted it to be.
Most people who want a relationship believe that a mediocre relationship is better than no relationship at all, but I don’t agree with this. If you are in touch with yourself, you are capable of making discerning decisions (independent of the fear of rejection or ending up alone), about whether or not a partnership truly has intimate and/or long-term potential.
I believe that with each relationship, your desires become increasingly refined, and thus your decisions are increasingly discerning and exacting. And this is GOOD, because it reduces your tolerance for putting up with things you DON’T want.
Part of the work is divorcing yourself from this idea that love is rare and hard for you to find.
And the quickest way to do that, is to try to find the next, lighter-feeling thought that offers some relief. And relief comes from thinking thoughts that bring you into greater alignment with your source energy, or your essential self. Generalizing your feelings and your thoughts about them, is one way to do this.
So, if you are preoccupied with the idea that you need someone else’s input to feel closure within your own experience, for what has already happened… rather than directing your thoughts towards what the other person’s desires might have been, and how you might have fulfilled them or not, try focusing instead on what YOU want right NOW, in this moment, and moving forward. Not from THEM, specifically, but in your experience of relationships and with a love partner in general.
So let’s first express the feelings as they are…
“I am shocked and feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I feel so led on and can’t understand why they would say they cared and then act in this way.I am so depressed and upset with how things turned out.”
Now, let’s reach for the next lighter-feeling thoughts…
“I am never going to allow this to happen to me again. I deserve better and I am glad they left because, obviously, they were not who they claimed to be.”
The feelings here still are on the negative side, but they are more angry and less helpless, which fosters a sense of personal power and agency. There is also an acknowledgement that the relationship was not a good fit.
Over time, as the four emotions of a breakup move through you …anger, fear, sadness and grief…with adequate body activation, you will be better able to find more and more relieving thoughts.
- Clearly, we were not right for each other.
- This was a clarifying situation for me.
- I’ve learned so much in a short time.
- Thinking back I could sort of sense this coming.
- I should probably be grateful that this happened now.
- Finding out that what I really want and need is not actually a bad thing.
- In fact, this relationship has helped me to more clearly define who I am and what I’m really looking for.
- I’m going to take my time moving forward.
- There’s no urgency about figuring this out now.
- It might actually be good for me to have some breathing space.
- In a strange way, I might actually be looking forward to what comes next.
- Because whatever comes next, will be better than this, now that I know myself so much better.
2. YOU ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO, TO MOVE ON
I want to point out that sometimes, we tell ourselves we are seeking closure, but we are really looking for a way of reconnecting. We hope to keep certain cords and ties open because we truly fear letting go. And if that’s the case, and a closure conversation goes well, soon after, you start questioning why it ended in the first place, and start fantasizing about the rekindling of that romance.
When we struggle to find closure or have what we might call “unfinished business,” we typically hold a belief that only this one person that we are attached to could possibly provide us with a sense of release and relief. But this is a function of the same mechanism that has probably made an amicable end impossible.
No one else can organize your mental, emotional, and spiritual self for you. Yes, sometimes other perspectives and new information can assist with insight and clarity, but the work of closure will always be yours alone, especially if the task is one of willful separation.
If you struggle to move on, it’s because you are getting caught up in ideas or rightness or wrongness; you want to know what your score was by the end of the relationship and how much you are allowed to forgive yourself for, or not. You may feel preoccupied by guilt and fault. Whether it’s wanting someone else to own their actions and assume blame, or feeling as if you have rectified your own wrong doings.
Closure requires that you recognize someone for being a “point of contrast,” or what I think of as a road sign, for pointing you in the right direction, and not getting hung up on trying to turn them into your destination. If it has come to pass that the relationship has ended, for whatever reason, you have all the information you need to move on.
A few questions to ask yourself for finding direction in accomplishing the closure you need
- What does closure mean for me?
- What could my partner give me, that will afford me a sense of closure?
- How can I give that to myself?
- Am I really looking for closure, or a way to re-connect?
- What do I believe about myself and my romantic story, that limits the possibilities for me, if I can’t get closure from this person?
- How might these beliefs relate to the problems I experienced in the relationship itself?
I would add, these are also good questions for a partner that is purposefully withholding or avoiding closure.
3. FORGIVENESS IS AN ACTION; THE FEELING FOLLOWS
Forgiveness is perhaps a very misunderstood concept. Most people associate the word “forgive” with “condone.” To forgive means to cease feeling resentment against an offender. To condone means that you are treating something as if it is trivial harmless or of no importance.
If we are to treat these concepts synonymously, any resentments of past events would limit and restrict our ability to really fully participate in life. Any reminder of someone or a particular event could stimulate painful feelings and a reliving of unfinished emotions that are attached to it.
Successfully accomplishing closure requires that you allow the completion of pain rather than a retention of resentment.
I don’t believe that this necessarily means you have to forgive an abuser or a perpetrator in order to receive some sense of closure. In this case, blame might actually be useful in that it could protect you from taking on too much of what was not your responsibility. But ultimately, the goal will be to release blame, and to forgive the self, for whatever we may have taken in as a result of maltreatment. For whatever structures of self-blame and criticism we have adopted from our perpetrators.
For example, if we have had a partner that creates unnecessary distance, or is overly intrusive and controlling, it is most likely because they have some kind of insecurity around those dimensions of experience that they are playing out within themselves.
But if we take that in, and assume someone else’s behavior must be a reaction to something “wrong” with us, the work of forgiveness and closure will then be to forgive ourselves for having perpetuated a toxic situation. If you have a partner that is always putting you down, and then you enter into another situation, and continue to put YOURSELF down, you have to forgive yourself for adopting a pattern of self blame that was not yours to begin with.
In the context of a breakup where closure appears difficult to accomplish, you cannot rely on someone else to take back what belongs to them. You have to assume your own authority in parceling out what belongs to you and what belongs to them. Forgiving what you need to, for yourself. Because this is your inner space. This is your quality of life. And this is your Spirit.
Creators of the Grief Recovery Institute, John James and Russell Friedman say that “you cannot forgive until you do it.” Until you make the statement, and set the intention to forgive, and commit to that intention, it’s hard to conjure the feelings for it.
But conjuring that forgiveness is always an act that benefits you.
In the context of a partnership, however, its worth noting that offering an unsolicited statement of forgiveness is almost always perceived as a criticism and an attack.
When you ask for forgiveness, this is also a bit of an emotional manipulation. Because you are asking the other person to take ownership of and do something for you, that you need to do for yourself. What you are really trying to do is apologize.
So don’t try. Just do it, and apologize.
Don’t ask for forgiveness. That’s your job.
I invite you to watch the video to learn more about these steps.
And if you would like to join our private Facebook group for more livestreams and giveaways like this, you can join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healingattachmentwounds/
Lastly, we are running a special challenge at the end of the month, called…
5 Days to Ignite Your Love Light
Over the course of this challenge, you will learn…
*How to take the fear out of your desire
*How to identify and release two important types of limiting beliefs
*How to use mindfulness and creativity to practice being in a loving vibration
*How to show up for an ascended love partner
This challenge includes…
*5 Daily live streams and lessons
*5 Daily emails, including a synopsis and daily assignment
*Access to a recap page for any days you might miss
*Exclusive access to a live Q & A on Day 5
*A Guided Soul Journey on Day 5
*Access to the private Facebook group for Healing Attachment Wounds
*A special bonus offer on Day 5, for continuing your journey!
If you are ready to call in a soul-shaking, passionate partnership, from a place of energetic alignment and self-love, in only 5 days…
REGISTER HERE: https://goo.gl/bbDT4E
I hope to see you there!
Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner