Could Rumination be the Death of You? Part 3 of 4
Therefore your relationships can end up contaminated and compromised. Who wants to be around a moody grouch who’s always mooching around the mausoleum of the past? And you never break the karmic cycle and move forward. Your perception of past events effectively hijacks your present and future. And, as a consequence, the harmony, happiness and equilibrium of those around you.
Rumination also starts to prematurely age you. If you constantly think about the past, you live in the past. Its grasping hands prevent you from enjoying the present and crush the life out of your future. If you want to see death at work, look in the mirror. You can almost imagine rumination accelerating that process.
Is that what you really want?
Brooding and rumination over perceived slights and situations might also turn you toxic, wherein you decide to stalk and harass the object of your disaffection. Not only does this have a negative impact on you and your long suffering friends and family, but it has an unwanted and undesirable effect on the object of your obsession and people within their environs. Not only is this unfair and unprincipled, but it’s illegal in most jurisdictions. Therefore someone may chose to take legal action against you.
Let’s say you are besotted with the idea of someone who’s made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in your amorous entreaties. If you’ve become obsessed with them, they may have picked up those ‘uh oh stalker’ vibes, set their boundaries and told you to stay away. They may have broken off all contact, leaving you with the choice of persisting with your unhealthy obsession or doing something useful with your life, like moving on and finding new people to hang with or new places to visit.
If you take the former route of rumination, you’ll be thinking about the situation, who said what, who did what and who was responsible and so on. This process can just run and run. Days become weeks, weeks become months, months morph into years.
You have no input from the recently departed party. You’ve given them no option but to stonewall you, right, so all you can rely on are your memories and perceptions of events. These, to say the least, will be highly personal and particularist.
They’ll represent one point of view. Yours.
If you continue in this state, the constant presence of stress hormones will start to nuke your specific memories of the person or situation. So you’ll start to fantasise more, imagine more and so on. Your handle on reality distorts to accommodate the rampant ramblings of your overheated ego. Your point of view will become more fixed and rigid, and you may well start to justify your actions, or perceptions of these actions, believing that those were the only ones possible or viable within that context.
The problem you have is that, no matter how long you spend on this, you can never be sure of anything. A thought might be dredged up regarding the situation that nuances the narrative, giving you what you might think to be a helpful perspective. But then what happens if that thought comes into conflict with another thought stream, causing you further cognitive dissonance?
The reality of the situation is that things happen because they happen and your role in the situation is likely to be less significant than you think. It’s tempting to unleash your inner narcissist and pretend you’re more important that you are, but this can lead to a very lonely and solipsistic view of the world.
So how do you break this cycle, refocus your attention and energy, and move on to greener pastures?