The Ugly Truth About Closure.
The Ugly Truth About Closure.
NOV 30 2020 | 5 MINS
Written By Brandie Janay Sanders
The need for closure often comes from feeling shut out or rejected and the inability to voice or share how that rejection has served as a traumatic experience in our lives. Yes, rejection is trauma. Heartbreak is trauma. Even deep disappointment is trauma. When someone is rejected and refused honest answers about why; they are left with anger resentment and confusion. Yes, we hear it all the time. The only closure you need is within yourself. The advice while true often comes with the premise we do not need to converse with the people or things that bring us pain. Regardless of who or what, you are seeking closure from, usually, we feel there are lots of things left unsaid. When things are left unsaid, we tend to sit in this place of anger and resentment for a long time. For me, my closure was about making sure the individual I felt had wronged me... knew the extent of their wrongs... which was selfish and not a reason to seek closure. I went a year without a word of communication to a person I once spoke to every day and when I reconnected with that person for what I felt I was ready for, I found that I in fact was not ready at all. This is because I hadn’t defined for myself why I wanted or needed closure. I only knew that I was angry and I wanted this person to know how they made me feel. I was prepared for the scenario of my feelings being dismissed, I was prepared not to receive an apology which after all is likely when dealing with an individual who has wronged you. What I was not prepared for were my own reactions. I forgot that reconnecting with this individual would arise emotions in me I had not prepared myself for.
The ugly truth is that closure can sometimes re-open a wound instead of bringing peace.
I was not prepared to acknowledge that no matter how much pain and anger I felt for a year, I still loved the person deeply and what I really felt beneath my surfaced anger was disappointment. This is why knowing how to find closure is important. To say ‘find it on your own is great advice, but without providing the proper guidance as to how to go about ‘finding it on your own it leaves space for an individual like me to think we are healing on our own when really we are just suppressing what we feel in hopes we will eventually... get over it
The ugly truth about closure, it doesn’t exist. It is a myth, created to help us regain control over a devastating situation.
Closure is defined as a satisfying ending that provides such a sense. Well in reality trauma isn’t satisfying, heartbreak isn’t satisfying and sometimes we never close the door or feel satisfied with the end result of such devastating experiences. Rather I think we learn to adjust, adapt, and proceed and use these experiences as lessons and tools for change. We have to normalize taking the time to process our pain, while also actively working on our healing.
The old cliché “time heals all wounds” is mostly true, but also a myth that time alone provides healing… it doesn't.
Time alone may make things easier to cope with, but you are never truly healed until you are faced with the opportunity to react the same way to something and you react differently. When faced with an individual years later, you can feel the same things you felt as if the break-up were yesterday. Time alone does not heal wounds, rather it allows our minds to be more easily distracted from our pain. This is why we should stop telling people to find closure within. The advice to 'get your own closure' infuses the notion that the person who has just been rejected is now responsible for moving past something they do not fully comprehend, cannot psychologically reconcile, and are insufficiently prepared to navigate. So what should we say? In order to find closure, let's encourage people to be open. Feel all the things all the emotions and all the pain. Encourage closure by encouraging an individual to go through every emotion as it comes. Let the sadness come, then ask yourself why. Let the anger come and then ask yourself why. I was seeking closure because I needed to say how I felt without understanding fully what I felt. My anger did not dismiss my love which in part was why I was angry. I felt I would not do to them what was done to me on account of my love. It is not always the event that causes the discomfort, it is the lack of clarity as to why the event occurred in the first place. In my quest for closure, the ugly truth was that after the betrayal my heart did not stop loving the person who my mind hated for hurting me. In order to truly move on from things and people that bring us pain, we can't rely on time to pass or the release of unsaid words to find peace.
"HEALING IS NOT ABOUT MOVING ON OR “GETTING OVER IT,” IT’S ABOUT LEARNING TO MAKE PEACE WITH OUR PAIN AND FINDING PURPOSE IN OUR LIVES AGAIN."
― SHIRLEY KAMISKY