If you’ve ever suddenly been broken up with, ghosted, or even lost a friend unexpectedly, you have most likely asked yourself the question, “why?”. When something ends unexpectedly or expectantly, it’s natural to want to know why it happened so we can make sense of it all. Those answers we desperately seek… are called closure. Closure can be very important for our healing because it answers our unanswered questions and prevents us from creating false narratives. Closure makes us feel in control and better about the situation. However, we all know what feels good isn’t always good. Closure can also prevent us from healing. You’re probably thinking, “Jasmine, now why would you tell us it’s helpful when it’s harmful”. The intention behind wanting closure is what you should consider before choosing to pursue or not pursue closure. Here’s a guide that may help make that decision.
How to Initiate Closure
If you have decided that you would like to initiate closure, a good rule of thumb is to take time to think about what you’re expecting from the closure and not rush into the conversation. Immediately discussing matters after a breakup rarely provides us with the answers we’re looking for and could make matters worse because we’re most likely acting out of emotions. Give yourself the necessary time to reflect. Are there unanswered questions you would like to discuss? Are you hoping to reconcile? It’s important to be real with yourself that this conversation might not give you the answers you want or the closure you’re hoping for. Journaling or writing down what you’re seeking can help you organize your thoughts better.
Closure conversations are not one size fits all. However, simply asking them if they are willing to have a conversation is a good first start. If they agree, schedule a time to talk or meet. During the conversation, do your best to keep the conversation respectful and honest. That might look like apologizing for your transgressions and giving them time to ask questions as well.
When you shouldn’t initiate closure
Sometimes, it is better not to seek closure, such as when it is more harmful than helpful.
Some examples of when to not seek closure include:
- The relationship was abusive or manipulative
- You are putting your safety or other’s safety at risk
- They shared they do not wish to have further communication (we must respect their boundaries)
- If your goal is to reconcile the relationship and they have made it clear that they are not interested
- They lack the emotional intelligence or honesty to have a meaningful conversation
If you find that one of the above applies to your situation, it may be better to initiate your own closure.
How to Initiate Your Own Closure
Initiating your own closure starts with allowing yourself to feel your feelings and giving yourself the space to mourn the loss of that relationship. Losing relationships is never easy no matter how good or toxic the relationship was. Initiating your own closure may be beneficial for processing and healing.
Here a few ways to initiate your own closure:
- If you find that it is difficult or unhealthy to see that person on your socials, it’s okay to unfollow or unfriend for your healing. Cutting off contact is a major key.
- Spend time with supportive people who are good for you. It is natural to want to isolate, but too much alone time can be detrimental to our mental health. Schedule activities with friends and make time for yourself.
- If you have much to say but can’t say it to the person, write a letter and burn it. It may feel good to let the insults fly, but it won’t be as beneficial. Instead, focus on writing about how you feel and things you have learned, and speak your piece. This is your narrative. You can also use this as a space to make amends for things you may have done. Be honest and vulnerable. After you’ve let it all out, burn it or bury it to signify saying goodbye.
Most of all, give yourself space to heal and feel.