The Myth About Relationship Closure
I Want Closure
“I need closure,” words spoken through a hopeless voice of defeat while holding back tears. We’ve all sought to have closure at some point in our lives. Though circumstances might not be the same for everyone, but we've all been there.
Relationships end and sometimes we can’t seem to come to grips with why they ended. The unknown issue that caused the breakup makes it difficult to move on.
This is everyone's story...
It might have been closure over the death of a loved one. You miss them so much, if only you could see them one last time and say goodbye.
You’ve invested years in a marriage relationship, it’s only curtesy for them to tell you why.
Closure from the pain that comes with the betrayal from a friend. They were suppose be your ride or die.
Let’s face it, no one wants to let go of anything that they’ve grown attached to.
What Is Closure?
Gestalt psychology pioneered the idea of closure. Gestalt a German word which means "pattern" or “configuration”. The research focused on understand how the mind perceives and processes images. The research discovered that the mind will always thrive to have closure.
Imagine with me an incomplete circle drawn on a piece of paper. The mind does not stop at the edges of the broken circle. Instead it completes the circle. The mind will always perceive it as a full circle, though it is incomplete.
This theory became popularized as a true statement for life experiences as well. If you had an experience that resulted in a trauma, you will not be unable to move on until the issue was "closed" in some way.
This same thought process gave birth to the idea that closure is a solution for emotional pain. And for any relationships that have ended without mutual agreement.
We see it a lot on news media, and in real life where the jilted lover seeks to confront his lover, demanding to know why? A parent who lost a child to drunk driving, stands before the accused demanding answers. All in an attempt to get closure so that she can move on.
Closure is an attempt to clear up ambiguity that has left a void in your relationships.
Closure, it's wrestling to find an answer to the question, what next?
It's people trying to get an answer to the question, why did you do this me?
Until then there is no closure
You’ve heard the phrase before, “You owe me an explanation”.
But does it actually help? Should closure depend on that one last encounter that explains why? Is their explanation pertinent to your healing?
The Myth About Closure
Imagine you are watching an exciting, gripping, and heart stopping TV show that has you on the edge of your seat. And suddenly the closing credits begin to roll. The show ends midway with no hint of part 2 or "to be continued". How would you feel? Annoyed? Upset? Angry? Taken for granted?
That's how people with a relationship that ended abruptly feel.
There is a misguided idea that closure only comes when you face the offending party. In any relationship it is a fallacy to think that you need to go back to and talk to your ex, former, etc., to get closure.
When you seek closure from the person who broke your heart, you give them power over your emotional state. They now have the controls to your emotional themostat. Since the fate of the relationship is in the palm of their hands, you are now obliged to yield to their “superiority”. This also gives away the strength to be able to heal, move on, and build other healthy relationships.
You remain in a state of hopelessness waiting to be set free by someone who has moved on.
The Relationship Closure Myth makes you think that facing your “betrayer” will help you move on, But doing so will only make you give away the ability to have emotional resolve to move on.
Processing Your Emotions
The word process is a loaded word. Process denotes a journey—its “a series of steps taken in order to achieve an end”.
Humans make sense of the world around them through stories. The past has to connect with the present, so that the future can make sense. Life is a process of becoming what God intended you to be. When someone wants closure they are trying to make sense of their story that got interrupted. To have healthy closure you need to process your emotions.
Let’s walk through this …
Acknowledge Your Emotions. Your five senses never deceive you. If you were betrayed, acknowledge it. Accept that you are hurting. Accept that it's making you angry.
Express Your Emotions. Checkin with someone who cares. Speak about your journey and how your plans got derailed. Allow for feedback and reflection. Remember they were just a part of your story, not the whole story.
Create New Pathways. Every relationship is a story that is unfolding in time and space. The more to this time and space, than you and that person. Look for other meaningful experiences, but don't use them as a way of getting over your past.
Explore New Connections. Make room for the next connection to take place, otherwise you will be stuck in the past. Don’t give away the power to someone to edit your story, and affect the next connection. Write your own story, because the story belongs you to you, not them.
Closure is not only about moving on. It is about redeeming the haunting parts of your past. The parts that have left you crippled, and unable to further build healthy relations.
You don’t have to live your life haunted by past experiences. God is the ultimate author of your story. Your story is safe in his hands. He who began a good work in you, will finish it.
"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Closure is re-structuring our story to align with God’s story so that the narrative can go on under God's grace.