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Seeking Closure

March 3, 2011

I do have issues with trust, which is due to a long life of misuse and abuse from others. Sadly, the trust issue is still with me, even though I’m growing and changing in other areas of my life. I do realize that the root of my trust issues are the unresolved situations in my past. I never gotten any closure on many of my past relationships and friendships, meaning an emotional conclusion to very bad situations.

In my past, so many people have stepped on my emotions and hurt me in unbelievable ways. They were not sorry for it and when I broke down from their abuse, they simply ran away, not without slinging more insults before slithering out the door. In those moments, I was so hurt that I didn’t speak up for myself, or say what I really wanted to say before it ended. I never got that chance to tell them, in person and loudly, “What you’ve done is wrong! And you’ve hurt me a whole lot. I know that you don’t care and will never be sorry for it. But, I just wanted to let you know that it’s not okay. And goodbye.” And… I may have had some other choice words I wanted to say too. But, I never got that kind of closure. They hurt me, ran away, and that was it. :-/

The main reason why I never spoke up right away, I think, is because I was hoping that reality wasn’t happening. I was so sure that these people that I had deeply loved, trusted, and meant so much to me and my life, couldn’t possible be this horrible. I kept waiting for them to “snap out of it” and claim some kind of cruel joke of, “I’m just kidding! You know, I’d never treat you in that way, but man… you should have seen your face! Ha, ha, ha!”. But then reality always win against fantasy and false hope. By the time I realized that I was hurting for real, and it wasn’t some kind of sick joke, these people were half-way out the door. Then it was too late for me to say what I really needed to say to them, before they ran off and left me alone with a lot of emotional baggage.

This is the reason for my theory of “people don’t change” and that it’s best to see abuse for what it is, instead of trying to ignore it and hope that it goes away. Abusers don’t stop, unless they get the idea that you won’t allow the abuse to continue and that you will see the abuse for what it is. It’s no gain for them, if it’s going to be a hassle every time they want to stomp on you or if it’s clear that you’re going to stomp back. They prefer victims, not survivors, in other words.

Though, part of a survivor’s path is trying to come to terms with the abuse and how to gain some kind of closure to it all. It’s not always feasible to face the abusers again, to have your last say. And getting a true apology from an abuser is very much slim to none, even if you are lucky enough to have one last conversation.  So, how does one get past the scars and hurt left by another’s cruel and thoughtless actions?

Well, the answer isn’t simple, but there is an answer to it. It’s called, “letting go”. And no, that doesn’t mean ignoring or pretending that the situation or relationship never happened at all. Or simply “shrugging it off”. That’s not letting go of something, but only burying it within yourself, only for it to resurface later. Trying to deny the existence of an experience is playing a game of self-denial. And that never works. Letting go is a long effort of purposely facing the abuse that has happened to you, going through the emotions of it, and finally reaching a mellow point where the memories of that pain doesn’t affect your life as much.

It starts with anger or sadness, a grieving period of the pain caused by that person. However long it takes for you to wallow in these emotions is really up to you. Don’t let others, even well meaning friends and family, try to rush you through this process. Because, it will only resurface later. It’s best to cry or growl it out for however long it takes. And the time varies for each person.

The second step to letting it go, is to get rid of every item that the abuser ever gave you. Trash it, burn it, sell it, or donate it away. Just don’t hold onto the items of that person, because it’s not helpful and will be a constant reminder of the lies and the abuse that the person put you through.

The third step is, write about it! Yep, I’m not making this up. Psychologists and their studies have long realized the healing-power of writing. Though, you don’t need to go to therapy in order to grab a notebook (or blog it. ;-p) and write down from beginning to end the relationship. Though, this step isn’t easy and  it will be a lot painful to write. I have done this before, so I know. But it’s another way of working through the pain. And once you’re done writing about it, you may burn the pages, shred it, or delete it. :-)

The forth step is finding some support, with joining a group of others who have been abused. A support group isn’t for everyone, though. So, if you have  close and caring friend who doesn’t mind you rehashing over the details of your pain, that’s the next best thing too. It helps to talk things out, over and over again, until you can come to grips with what happened. And the more you talk about it, the more the pain fades.

And the last step is something that I am still working on. At this point, it’s time to move forward in life. You can’t erase the abuse done to you or to wipe out all memory of it. Sometimes it helps to reach out to other victims, to help them avoid the same abuse. But mostly, this is a time for a person to gain better and non-abusive experiences, starting a change and new beginnings in their lives.

I know that someday my trust issues will get better, once I began to spend more time around trustworthy people. And that’s what lacking in my life, right now. Someday, I hope to reach that point where I can feel free to let go and trust fully again.

-D

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