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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jonathan Hoffman

The Heartbreak of Closureitis

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

If a relationship or other situation ended badly and you cannot move on, you might be suffering from the heartbreak of closureitis [klow·zhr·rai·tuhs]. Symptoms of this condition include irritating, unresolved loose ends, constant woulda, coulda, shouldas and fantasies about traveling back in time for a ‘do-over.’

Left to fester, closureitis can be a progressively worsening condition. The trick is to catch it as soon as possible. Closureitis does not have to ruin your life!

To see if it’s closureitis that’s ailing you, respond ‘yes,’ ‘kinda’ or ‘that’s ridiculous’ to these five highly scientific statements:

  1. Understanding the exact reason why something I didn’t want to end did is as essential as air or water.

  2. I deserve to get every single answer I want, no matter how the person or organization on the other side of the situation feels about it.

  3. Anything or anyone that gets in the way of me getting a complete and final explanation and mea culpa is unfair, arbitrary and flat-out wrong.

  4. I cannot and should not have to put up with any level of incomplete satisfaction about a painful and unwanted ending.

  5. People that expect me to function and be happy until all my boxes are checked for why this awful circumstance befell poor me are very mistaken.

Responding ‘yes’ or ‘kinda’ to any of these statements suggests closureitis is indeed present. And the more ‘yeses,’ the greater the potential impact of closureitis on your future well-being. If you answered ‘that’s ridiculous’ to all of these questions, whatever closureitis you might be experiencing at the moment is likely to clear up quickly on its own.

It’s natural to ask, “why me?” Some people are more sensitive to lack of closure than others, whether it is rooted in anxiety, perfectionism, incompleteness-phobia or LAT—Low Ambiguity Tolerance. Remember, closureitis is not your fault, but what happens next is entirely up to you.

You can spend the rest of your life obsessing about getting the answers you want, playing the blame game and putting your own life on pause. Or, you can progress in a positive direction by increasing your skills for moving forward in the face of uncertainty and doubt, even if what happened to you really is 100% the fault of the other party. However, and it must be said, this is rarely the case.

And now, a word about reverse closureitis—which means avoiding dealing with the fact that something you don’t want to end for all intents and purposes already has. People with this condition are only putting off the inevitable crash when the truth cannot be put off any longer.

In the interest of self-disclosure, I have another form of closureitis. Mine is characterized by an aversion to incompleteness in anything I write.

To challenge myself, I will end with the following words...

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