• Dr. Jonathan Hoffman

Taking a Break From My Mind



I tried to break up with my mind recently. For the hundredth time.


My relationship with my mind... well, it’s complicated. We’ve been a couple as far back as I can remember, and who understands me better? But sometimes I feel suffocated and just want to do my own thing.


I suspect many people go through a similar experience but nobody talks about it. Here’s what went down:


“What did I do wrong?” my mind asked. “It’s not you, it’s me,” I replied.


“C’mon,” my mind said, “that old line won’t work on me.”


“I’m worried how you’re going to react if I tell you the truth”


My mind said, “When have I ever not been willing to face the facts?”


“Seriously?” I retorted.


“OK ... it’s just that I feel like I can never live up to your expectations. I can’t tell where you’re coming from one minute to the next. Also, you’re very controlling.”


“You’re making me feel very bad and not appreciated,” said my mind.


“Not to mention, you’re a big-time guilt-tripper.”


My mind said, “I can change.”


“You always say that!”


“This time it’s going to be different.”


“How?” I inquired.


“I’m going to give you more space and not be so judgmental.”


“That sounds good, but we’ve been down this road many times before.”


“I know,” said my mind, “I get so attached to you that it’s hard to remember we are not one and the same.”


“Yeah,” said I, “it’s hard to keep boundaries straight for me too. I mean, I know I can make my own decisions and don’t need your approval but sometimes it just doesn’t feel that way.”


My mind thought for a minute. “What do ya wanna do?” it finally said.


“Let’s just take a break and see what develops from there.”


“Fine,” my mind said, “but what if we run into one another?”


“Well, I can’t see how that’s not happening,” I responded. “I’d like to think we are both mature enough to handle it though.”


“It’s going to be painful, but I’ll try,” said my mind, adding, “So, you’ll do you, and I’ll do me?”


I can’t lie, my heart started to melt. “Maybe we’ll get back together some day,” I told my mind, my resolve already starting to weaken.


Maybe I need to take a break with my heart too?


Later that night I got a message from my mind, “Hey u up?”


I replied, “Yep Wassup?”


Ugh! Minds. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.


I guess that’s just how it is. As human beings, we all have these minds that we can never really get away from, no matter how much we might want to. No amount of tuning out or self-medicating can provide anything but a temporary fix for this situation.


But since we are stuck with our minds and our minds are stuck with us until death do us part, we can try to get along.


Since there is no divorce court for you and your mind:


You can accept that your mind, well, has a mind of its own. It pretty much goes wherever it wants to, which could include some places that would be highly inappropriate were they to occur in real life. Although it may seem like it is at times, your mind simply is NOT real life! Thankfully!


And, while your thoughts are not under your control, you can take charge of how you react to them. That is, you can think one thing, and do another. For example, you can decide to stay polite even when you would like to give somebody a very uncensored piece of your mind.


If, however, you and your mind can’t work it out on your own and need some couples counseling, perhaps you should agree to schedule an appointment with a therapist to talk it over. Although it can be a challenge, plenty of people and their minds have learned to live together in harmony.


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