The title of this blog says it all: there is no such thing as closure where a broken relationship and heart is concerned. What there is, however, is something much more powerful: ultimate detachment… but first, we have to understand how to allow ourselves to reach that stage!
We imagine that if we can just understand what actually happened, if we can just have answers to questions that are burning a hole in our mind and heart, if we are heard and understood… then we can finally have closure. In reality, what we seeking is acknowledgement and validation of our hurt feelings, pain of rejection, and sense of injustice. The chances of all of this actually coming to pass is generally pretty remote, because the other person involved would have to be willing to completely open themselves up and place themselves in an emotionally vulnerable position – by accepting responsibility and genuinely putting our need for healing above their own feelings of discomfort and resistance. However, the problem is, they are unlikely to be perceiving things in exactly the same way that we are, and even if they made a token gesture it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough for us to experience the relief of closure. Having worked with literally thousands of heartbroken people I can tell you that even if the cause of their pain takes the lion’s share of the responsibility, it doesn’t magically bring closure; they continue to feel hurt and angry for months and months… sometimes even years!
So, closure is not what the heartbroken are seeking… it is, as I said, ultimate detachment.
When we become genuinely detached, we literally don’t care anymore. We are aware that we have been through that particular experience but without feeling any residual rawness or pain of rejection. It belongs to the past, to another lifetime within our lifetime. And I promise you, it is possible to reach that point – in fact, it is absolutely necessary to do so, if we are going to move on and be happy again.
Don’t fight the pain…
So, how do we do it? Well, first of all we understand that we cannot force it, and that we need to be willing to breathe through the emotional pain. Fighting against it is resistance and this will get in the way of our healing process. We accept that this is how it is, right now at this moment in time, and this is exactly how we feel!
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…
Secondly, we decide to view the whole situation through clear, realistic eyes. Resistance to the truth is something that keeps hurt feelings alive and kicking, well past their sell-by date. We need to be honest with ourselves about the reality of the relationship before it finally hit the rocks, objectively breaking it down into junks. What had we been struggling with for some time? What had he/she been doing or not doing that was hurting or angering us? In what ways were they disappointing us, and what expectations did we have that were not being met? Separate the good times/memories from the bad – honestly speaking, which was dominant? Was it really a healthy relationship, or were there obvious problems we were sweeping under the carpet or hoping would magically change? Would the source of our pain have had to change in very definite ways in order for us to have been happier with them? Would we have had to change for them to love and accept us more? By focusing on an honest, clear, and realistic picture, we can start to see the wood for the trees, and to recognise where some of our feelings are superfluous and unnecessary – because they have no basis in reality.
The agony of rejection!
I have said it again and again, and I will continue to repeat this mantra: most of what keeps us hanging onto a broken relationship or long-term ex is the agony of rejection! Even if it was us who left them, the fact that they hurt us enough to push us that far still leaves us feeling abandoned and rejected. They didn’t care enough to cause us to feel loved and safe… they rejected our love and our needs – which means that they rejected us. To learn more about how seriously all forms of rejection can affect us, check out my blog: REJECTION LEADS TO OBSESSION… AND SO THE PAIN GOES ON. HOW DO WE BREAK THE CYCLE?
If we continue to tell ourselves this story of rejection, rather than acknowledging the reality of the situation, we cannot heal because we are caught within an illusion. If the relationship ended then the likelihood is that there were reasons, including problems that were insurmountable. If we edit the truth in favour of an inaccurate story, we can never be free of it… because even though we have to move on physically (we don’t have any choice!), we will continue to live with an unhealed wound that is created by the belief that we have been let down and are therefore vulnerable. Not every person who enters our life is destined to stay, even if at some point we believe that they definitely will or should. The journey of life is made up of many, many experiences, and there are few that will literally steal our future away from us… unless we allow them to, that is.
To sum up…
So, we accept that this is where we are at in our life right now; we step aside from our emotions long enough to objectively analyse the reality of the situation, to break it down so that we can understand it, warts and all; we cry when we need to, we rant when we need to, but we don’t allow it to consistently engulf us – and we avoid repeatedly telling ourselves the story of rejection, abandonment, and injustice, keeping ourselves trapped in victim-mode for longer than we need to be. When we have good days we embrace them, and we do something positive and productive for ourselves. When we have bad days we don’t fight them, and we remind ourselves of the stuff that we struggled with before the relationship broke down – not to be negative, but to retain an accurate sense of perspective. And we remind ourselves that there was a time in our life when we didn’t even know that our heartbreaker existed… and somehow we managed to not only live, but also to be happy! Eventually, the day will come when we no longer care (and by that I don’t mean saying, “I couldn’t care less whether that s**t lives or dies!”… that isn’t detachment!!), when we no longer miss them, and don’t even think about them, unless something pops us that briefly brings them to mind. Closure is akin to shutting a door on something and keeping it firmly locked; detachment, on the other hand, is freedom!
2 thoughts on “Don’t look for closure on a broken relationship – it doesn’t work that way!”
Just what I needed to hear Leanne. Somehow it immediately made the sense of a relationship I had been in. Love your articles. Marian
Thank you, I am pleased it helped x