In my last blog, I wrote about endings and how to manage them. I looked back over the year and thought about the endings I had made and what had ended in me in order for the ending to come about.
What if the ending is thrust upon us unexpectedly or without us being involved in the process? This can create anxiety, apprehension, hurt or uncertainty. Sometimes, even a desire for revenge.
To put myself in the other’s place I thought about times when relationships, situations or friendships had been ended by the other. This could include bereavement too of course. How I felt about the ending depended on how much warning I had about, if any, or the situation in which the end came. Did I feel considered by the other? Could I understand where they were coming from and why they wanted to end? Did I secretly want to end too but hadn’t had the nerve to do it first?
Whether I felt good about the ending depended on whether I was able to put my point of view and whether I felt all loose ends were dealt with. Sometimes things have just ended without a formal ending, without a conversation or a reason known to me.
It comes down to acceptance. The acceptance of the ending or acceptance of the fact that the other either couldn’t end openly and cleanly. Endings imposed on us can also be a relief. We may realise this after the fact though.
Our mindset determines our response. Is your glass half-empty or half full? If we have a negative view we can feel negative about the ending but if we can find a positive view then we might see it as an opportunity. A good friend of mine will often say ‘Everything is exactly as it should be, otherwise it would be different.’ When things are not going well this can be a hard concept to accept. My experience is that in the end, everything can work out and if it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not the end.
In the therapeutic relationship, endings are important. They complete the circle of opening up and closing down. As well as giving an opportunity to have a positive experience of ending, it is an opportunity to recognise achievement and to respect the work the client has done. Curiously, unlike personal relationships, the way of ending is discussed in the first session. A way of working is established and the framework for the ending agreed. This important step means that the client can lean into, and feel supported by, the structure of a number of sessions and also know that there is an end available.
In our work relationships, how we end is discussed when we take the job through our employment terms. We are clear about why we might be asked to leave and the process by which we would leave of our own choice. We know the rules of ending.
It would be unusual to agree on how we end an intimate relationship when we start it. To have the conversation ‘well if it doesn’t work out, this is how I’d like to end’. Or would it?
If you would like help coming to terms with an ending book a Discovery Session today.