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how to be ok with not getting closure?

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  • #38996
    Gina
    Participant

    I was hoping maybe someone out there had some words of wisdom for me, this is my first time posting on this site but I read through the blogs and posts everyday.

    Its a really long story so I will summarize it as best as possible. I got out of an abussive relationship with an alcoholic about three months ago, I loved him or at least I thought I did, I thought I was protecting him and it was the only way I knew how to love. I now know I was not protecting him but enabling him and letting myself be abused, taken advatnage of, rejected on a daily basis and I tolerated all of it in the name of unconditional love. We were never a couple, I just had very strong feelings for him and he took advantage of it for a very long time. Three months ago I was put in a position where I had to do either do the right thing or protect him. I do not want to give details to protect his privacy but the bottom line is he did some aweful things, it got out and tried to pin them on me. for the first time since I met him, I chose to protect myself over protecting him and I told the truth. I havent had any contact with him since then. I have missed him everyday, and I pray for his well being everyday and I have tried to work on me and my addiction to him and my codependence and my self-steem. I still feel really guilty though, I feel like I betrayed him and my love for him for exposing him. We still work for the same company and see at least once of twice a month, we also live close by and we bump into eachother all the time. We do not even acknoelwdge eachother and that hurts..I have absolutely no hard feelings for him whatsoever, I have forgiven him but it hurts me when I see how much he resents and hates me. I saw him at a work event on friday and I tried to say “its nice to meet you” as to kill some tension but he walked away, I said goodbye when I left and he turned his face. I wrote a sort of apology message for him telling him that I never did anything with the intention of hurting him and I have been dying to send it to him but if I do he may use it agaisnt me. Parlty, I think it would help me get closure but if I am honest its an attempt to try to make him hate me less, I know I shouldnt care about what he thinks or feels but I do. I dont want him back romantically I just wish I could tell him I have forgiven him and be able to politely say hi when I see him. No matter what he did to me I still love him. I would never allow him to use me again the way he did but I still cry about what happened and my decision to expose him everyday and I ache to reach out to him with a white flag but I cant trust him not to use it against me. I dont see him as a bad person, I can’t. I know i cant help him but I do wish him the best and that one day he decides to get the help he needs. I know I just need to focus on me but his hatred for me hurts..what can I do?? what should I do? any words of wisdom?

    #39020
    E
    Participant

    Hello, I am truly sorry that you are going through all of this. I commend your courage and decision to be the better person by trying to be civil at your work place. You have gone through a lot and even though it may seem like you could have done more to better the situation between you and your partner, you really couldn’t have. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themself first. I too went through abusive relationships with both my ex husbands and from experience I know how you must have felt like there was no way out, but by you finally standing up for yourself and doing what was right, you yourself did the best thing you could have done. My exes were not alcoholics but they still did things and said things that were degrading and hurtful…even after the divorce, I was made to feel like everything that had happened was my fault. In court, they fought like hell to take me for everything I had, except the kids….funny right…I chose not to fight and things went better for me. It is good to forgive. I have learned that, but the forgiveness is for yourself, so that you can be at peace and be able to move forward…forgiveness doesn’t mean that you will receive his acceptance and that you two will get back together and live happily ever after. You need to stop worrying about his feelings and start to focus on healing and accepting that you can be alone and be your own best friend.. You don’t need his or anyone else’s approval. He knows what he did and has done and to be quite honest that’s probably his biggest problem….accepting his responsibility for the consequences for the things he did. Please stop blaming yourself and stop trying to make peace with him. You are a good person and take this time to reflect and make smart decisions on your future..don’t do what I did, don’t jump in from one relationship into another until you have healed from this because in the long run you may choose someone who turns out to be very much like him. remember we accept the love we think we deserve. It may take weeks, months, years but trust in yourself to make good choices in the future. If by chance he does decide to speak with you, be cordial but make sure that you don’t fall back on the fact that he did bad things and even though you forgave him never forget the pain you felt when you were around him…..this will help you stand your ground and will help make way for your future relationships. Best wishes e

    #39030
    Gina
    Participant

    Thank you sooo much for your words. I am sorry to hear you had such bad experiences and went through so much pain. I do know how hard it is to pick up and keep going and I didn’t go through a divorce. I know I can’t control his feelings, I know they are none of my concern. I just need to learn how to care for myself and protect my feelings when he is around. I think you are bang on when you say he is not accepting his responsibility in the consequences of his actions, but I can’t do the same and blame him for not letting me have closure I want and not being happy because of it.
    I may never be able to tell him I am sorry, but I can find peace is continuing to love myself and heal..
    Thanks again for sharing your experience with me and for your compassion,
    Gina

    #39033
    Matt
    Participant

    Gina,

    In addition to E’s tender and compassionate words, there is something else that I see in your words that may help. It is one of the aspects of codependent thinking that is especially tricky as we shake off dysfunctional relationships.

    Consider how much you have invested in trying to receive his forgiveness. Not just in your actions, but how much of a pull there is inside you that yearns for him to tell you that you’re OK, that what you did was just and fair, that you are still lovable.

    This is a root issue with codependent thinking, because your self image is/was being generated by the reflections he gave you. Now that he is mad at you, the part of you that felt nourished by his acceptance of you is lacking food… and is generating a craving that pushes you to chase forgiveness like running down the street after the ice cream truck.

    How exhausting that must be! Consider that he sounds like he has a lot of issues to resolve from your description. This means the ice cream he offers you isn’t very nourishing, its filled with “addiction”. Where he is addicted to alcohol, you are addicted to his approval.

    When we cut our addictions, we feel craving. You cut your addiction, now you feel craving. This is normal and settles with time. You are an amazing and beautiful person, and I can see it, E sees it, now if only Gina could see it. Then it would never be “what can I do to get him to approve of me”, but what can I do to settle this addiction?

    Which you have the answers to already, in that you know it is time and proper for you to cultivate self love. The seeds are ripe! Now you just need a mirror and some smiles and throwing your arms around Gina and telling her how beautiful she is in mind and body.

    I wish you well on your recovery from codependency! Consider attending a local Alanon group, if you’re not doing that already. Sometimes it can really help to know how common and usual our funky mental patterns and mechanisms really are, and how effective recovery can be. Have you read Pia Mellody’s books? They are fantastic!

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #39039
    Gina
    Participant

    Thank you Matt!
    I am working through Pia’s book, I hadn’t really thought of my yearning for his forgiveness that way but it makes total sense. It’s hard to hear that what I had with him was a very dysfunctional pattern where he needed me to enable him and I need him to approve of me to feel worthy in any way, and not love. When I exposed what he was doing I didn’t do it to get back at him and even then I tried to justify his actions so he wouldn’t get fired (even then I was trying to be “lovable” to him) He used to manipulate me by threatening to hate me and it worked…the tricky part for me now is that I have to see him and seeing him stirs things up for me..when you are an alcoholic or a drug addict you stay away from the substance forever….when you are addicted to a person or their approval and they work with you and live a block away from you it gets a bit more difficult. Also because I understand how easily transferable it is…I don’t do things that I don’t think my friends will approve of. I don’t want to be addicted to approval anymore though!
    He does have a lot of issues but I finally understand that I can’t fix them and trying only exhausts me and prevents me from helping the only person I can help: me.
    I will work on my self acceptance and on forgiving myself for not having been able to protect myself before…forgiving him was easy but now I have to work on not needing to be needed by anyone but me.
    Thank you for your words Matt, they really did open my eyes to a whole other perspective that helps me understand this element of my recovery better and not sugar coat it as needing closure.
    Best wishes,
    Gina

    #39042
    Matt
    Participant

    Gina,

    I’m happy that we’ve connected, we do seem to be appraising the same pattern! Your words brought a few ideas to heart. I know how tough it can be, but also know that as we open and love ourselves, regrets just melt away.

    The first is how you said “it wasn’t love” and that made me wonder. It seems to me that it was love, simply twisted around a little bit. We feel cold in our heart and love (or memory of love) moves us toward warmth. The strategy was a little off, and you burned your hand on a hot stove, but it was love (or your heart seeking love).

    This reminds me of something my teacher said to me. When we don’t self-nurture, we lose our inner warmth and go looking for it. Others can surely help, but it is up to us to be the light and love in the world… we just have to figure out our individual path to joy. Then we have the nourishment and stability to give back our love in a skillful way. He used an analogy of an airplane. In the case of a loss in cabin pressure, be sure to put on your own air mask first. We might instinctually leap for our loved ones first, because we love them so much. However, if we put on our mask first, we have the air we need to help them. If we dive first, then we lose our air and we will need help ourselves!

    The other thing that came into view as i read your words is that you’re seeking closure and finding it! The twist just made it appear that he was the closer… but its not him, its from you! 🙂 I know it must be difficult to see him and get all stirred up inside… mind and body pulsing with memory. Consider that is like a spark, painful in the qualities of awakening, but with the courage to allow that spark to meet up against the water of self-nurturing allows for the closure you’re looking for! Said differently, pain makes us alert to our suffering, but looking and letting go, trying to make better choices in the moment to moment… those are what turn “I need to save him from himself” to “he is suffering with addiction, and for now I do best to do no harm. If I get too close, we both end up cycling with suffering.” The pressure doesn’t just stop all at once, but erodes over time and effort (as we self-nurture).

    After all, if our kids ask us for a sugar sandwich, they’re bound to get cranky if we say no. However, saying no is actually the more loving choice, even though it leads to a temper tantrum. We just have to meet that with wisdom and accept that we are not retracting our love, we are tuning into the place where it is authentically fertile (our side). Then maybe someday as we pay it forward and follow our heart, he’ll find some fruit from one of us.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #39049
    Gina
    Participant

    Matt,
    It’s amazing how easily your words are helping let go of the anxiety I feel.
    I have forgiven him and I see him in a compassionate light. Up until
    very recently I still thought I had failed at earning his affection. i ran jnto him while he was on a date with someone (he brought her to a restaurant located on the ground floor of my building) and he seemed so loving and affectionate towards her, and I thought “that is always what I wanted from him, why couldn’t he give me that? and i resented him and beat myself up for not having known how to “bring that out in him. You see, he always kept our relationship a secret, so we only spent time together at his place, for a long time I thought he was ashamed of me and that’s why he kept me a secret. Later I found out that it was because our relationship was actually his secondary relationship, his primary one was with a girl who is in a long term committed relationship. When I found out about that relationship, he told me he was in love with her, and I felt soo worthless because he could love a taken woman that wouldn’t commit to him but not me..
    Now I understand it was never about me, he was living his own process and he couldn’t love me, not because I am not worthless and not loveable and it was never my job to “earn” affection from him, he doesn’t feel loveable himself and he is dealing with addiction and with rejection as much as I was and while I am not excusing him, I can now understand he is doing the best he can but no “love” from him towards anyone will be sincere and healthy love until he learns to love himself.
    Although I understand I cannot worry about his process and his feelings, understanding his part in hurting me has helped me not feel so rejected and unloved by him and in turn not have just a burning need for his affection.

    Now, it’s all about learning how to detach from the need of his approval in all ways…when I can forgive myself and love myself. the tricky part is avoiding falling on my defaults. I still wake up startled at night and reach for my phone, thinking the only way to relieve the physical pain I feel, the pressure on my chest is if I tell him how sorry I am and how much I really do care about him. Then I remember I can’t and I cry..until I can bring myself back to the present moment and remember I made this choice and everything is fine, I can breathe without pain and pressure on my chest.
    I am not going to deny that feeling his hatred and resentment toward me hurts because then all my financial, emotional, physical investment in him went to waste or it feels like: “all of my love wasn’t enough to stop him from hating me”. I just have to breathe and remember his feelings are not my responsibility and probably have very little to do with me. this a lot easier said than done. Sigh, I am sooo grateful there were two very very generous loving people out there to remind me and offer me soo much compassion and wisdom. I really hope I can take my experience to help people live their process and empower themselves to take charge of their life and happiness like I am being helped to do.
    Thank you a million times, thank you
    Love,
    Gina

    #39052
    Matt
    Participant

    Gina,

    Thank you for the kind words, and it is my pleasure and honor to be helping in whatever way I can. I really like the way helping others quickly made it into your prayer for self love! Even if Gina were the endpoint for all of the love and affection, it would be enough, because your heart is invaluable to this world.

    Affection is a funny thing, because we spend so much time trying to earn it. Affection can’t ever be earned, however, it can only be shared. There is never a way to deserve love, only to express it. When we do figure that out and open ourselves to express it, we have the ability to feel it from others… not as a thirsty being yearning to feel fulfilled, but as a fulfilled being interweaving our branches and leaves with others.

    It makes sense to me that you’d cry at night, often our dreams help us dig up what has been going on under the surface. That tears come so quickly means you have such a tender and warm heart that the ice-olation melts, and the tears are like chunks of history being let go of by the body.

    Consider that as you cut the addiction to his affections, all that energy that was sliding into the black hole of his addiction is now turning inward. That’s why your efforts were never in vain, because they were like feet revving up. You became very strong as you pushed and pushed against the wall of his addiction, and that strength is now pushing against your own wall and melting it easily. Myself and others are helping you aim, but the power, compassion, and affection are all from inside your heart. Said differently, you are waaay stronger and wiser than you give yourself credit for… the only reason the words here on tinybuddha are so resonant is because the Buddha in me is bowing to the Buddha in you, and she is awake and ready to let the old habits of the mind get out of the way. Namaste.

    One of my teachers refused to see alcoholics. He said that until they confront their addiction, it is impossible to help them. The words and affection we give them slides right into the hole of addiction, because every moment is a craving/satisfaction moment, as they are either high or preoccupied with chasing a high. Don’t despair that no fruit grew from pouring onto infertile soil, there isn’t a strategy or method that works there. You’re right in seeing that it had nothing to do you with you! As one of my teachers jokingly said “there are some people who would piss off even the Buddha.”

    Finally, don’t forget to play. Deep looking and tender self nurturing is important, but if we stay too long we can become aged far too quickly as we begin to take everything far too seriously. This is a sparkly and beautiful world we live in, full of wonder and magic! Sing, stomp in mud puddles, create something… I’m sure there are tons of things you enjoy doing, and the child inside each of us loves to dance. There is a reason the Buddha is always depicted with a smile. 🙂

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #39054
    Gina
    Participant

    Matt and E,

    I am so blessed to receive your guidance, truly. I will keep working on my self-acceptance and carry on with my path and my journey and wait for what adventures come next, and trust that life will eventually take the pain of missing him away. My understanding of condependancy is that is a life long challenge. It is so easy to default on to old patterns just like alcohol is to alcoholics, so it is something that I have to stay mindful of. I think I am a little afraid to fully let go, to fully close the door and accept that he will never be part of my life again and that I may never see him smile or hear him sing out of tune, and may not have the reward of him accepting my apology, but I can focus on reminding myself I deserve a different kind of life and just because he rejected, doesnt mean I should too and just because HE couldn’t love me doesnt mean no one else can, me most of all. I just have to find a way to really get there. Sounds very easy when I say it out loud..and my self-worth and self-steem issues go back for me long before this person came along. I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child and developed a sort of touch phobia as a result..I don’t find it easy to let people get close to me but with I chose him to let in, and I guess I got to the point where I thought if I wanted to give him sooo much of myself and had so much “love” to give him and not even all of my love is enough to earn a little bit of his, then I dont have any hope. So you see, I now know just how capable of acceptance and loving I am, I just have to find a way to translate it inwards, to truly do it not just say the words because I am an expert at that, and it is definitively a lot easier said than done and I am aware it may take me years but I think I have a good place to start.
    Thanks again.
    lots of love,
    Gina

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