Are you someone who can’t move on without closure?
The desire to have closure or resolution in any given situation is human nature especially when it comes to our romantic relationships. In theory, closure is supposed to provide us with a breakup cure-all. If we know what exactly went wrong and what we can improve upon, then we can close the door on that past relationship and MOVE ON. Yet the need for closure doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. Ending any type of relationship–friendship, familial, or otherwise— may bring about a desire to know WHY this is happening to us and how come something is coming to an end.
Other times we may seek the need for closure because of the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a certain lifestyle change, all of which all can be examples of painful endings. Letting go of something that was once important to us can be difficult, and many people seek closure in doing so. But does knowing WHY actually help? And can you really expect other people to give you closure?
When we seek closure we are looking for answers as to the cause of a certain loss in order to resolve the painful feelings it has created. In doing this, we appear to form a mental puzzle of what’s happened – examining each piece and its relationship to the overall puzzle. Closure is achieved when we are satisfied that the puzzle has been assembled to our satisfaction that the answers have been reached and it is therefore possible to move on.
Personally, I do not feel most things in life can be wrapped up so neatly and put away in the psyche of our mind. Sometimes there is no closure or good answer to be given. Sometimes things just need to end. Sometimes endings come about for no good reason or things just ran their natural course.
Moreover, things can end because a situation or person is toxic or unhealthy. Or it can simply be because something no longer serves us. Whatever the reason is does not matter in the big scheme of things. The focus in life has to be on moving forward. Not looking back.
Nevertheless, some people INSIST on closure and answers. As a counselor, I believe if any closure is to be given, only you and you alone can give yourself it. I believe closure is your responsibility because it is up to you to make sense of your relationships and your life. I advise my clients to seek answers from within, not from the external world. I find closure is something people seek because of the illusion of control in a situation where realistically none exists. OTHER people cannot give you an explanation for why your life has unfolded the way it has. Even if that person were to communicate with you, they still may not say what you want to hear. A relationship partner cannot truly tell you a simple reason why the relationship has to come to an end because they can only speak to their side, their perspective. Life does not always offer simple answers to complicated questions.
We are all responsible for our own lives. No one else can give us the perfect answer as to WHY. We often create stories about why people aren’t responding in the way we hoped. We come up with reasons to why something is the way it is. But even our attempts at answering the question of why is conjecture at best. Sometimes we can never truly know why things are the way they are.
The truth is I don’t have all the answers, nor does anyone else. One universal experience that we all get to share is having situations in our lives that don’t meet our expectations. We are given the choice as to how we react. We cannot expect the outside world to give us answers or closure. The great thing is we do not need closure for healing. We must take ownership of our feelings and work on getting comfortable with uncertainties and unanswered questions.
Life is full of them.
If you are struggling with finding closure in your life and would like to schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):
Erin Doyle Theodorou, M.Ed, LPC, NCC
Anew Counseling Services LLC
617 Oradell Avenue, Suite 3, Oradell, New Jersey, 07649