Why is Closure so Difficult?

relationship closureThose of us who end up with narcissists are often highly empathic people. We have a strong desire to know the truth and for the truth to be known. We care about the other person’s feelings. We absorb the feelings of those around us and we feel their pain. We want to caretake others and to rescue them from their pain. Although these are great qualities to have, they can be taken advantage of by narcissistic individuals. A narcissist will typically target empathic types. This is because empathic individuals provide them with narcissistic supply. The narcissistic also knows that they are likely to be able to use the target’s kindness to manipulate them.

This dynamic of the empathic person wanting to caretake and rescue the narcissist, who in turn wants to manipulate and control the empathic person, means that we find it very difficult to walk away from these relationships. We may feel as though we are going around and around in circles, with no way out.

A narcissist is able to sense when we have had enough and are about to leave. This will prompt the narcissist to turn on the superficial charm. We say to ourselves, “Perhaps this time it will be different??”

No! The REAL truth is that the narcissist is not going to change or to see the errors of their ways. Sadly they believe that manipulating others is the only way to be safe in the world.   Deep down we know that if we approach the narcissist again, we will be hurt, and the cycle will start over again.drama triangle

This can be described as the drama triangle. When I take a step away from the narcissist after he has done something unacceptable, he plays the victim. This leaves me feeling as though I am the persecutor. Therefore I want to rescue the narcissist from this position. However he then moves into the position of persecutor and I am victim. There is no one rescuing ME from the victim role. Therefore the only way for me to get out of the victim role is to leave – and stay away!

drama triangleThe bottom line is that this situation is never going to turn out well for you. By rescuing the narcissist, you are effectively sacrificing yourself. The narcissist will always be the winner, for no better reason than the fact that they lack a conscience and so there is no limit to how low they will stoop in order to get what they want. A narcissist cannot function in a healthy relationship. They need to steal energy from another person in order to feel alive and therefore they need to create chaos!

If you give the narcissist another chance, they will not thank you for it or treat you any better. In fact, their respect for you will decrease and they will know that they can get away with treating you badly.  You show them your standards by your actions.

Your only option is to not play their game. Do not be fooled by their act. It is the narcissist’s choice to hurt others and there is nothing you can do to change that. The best hope you have is to shine by example and focus on your own health and wellbeing.

Please comment in the box below to share any experiences you have of struggling to gain closure. What obstacles have you found and what have you found helps?

4 thoughts on “Why is Closure so Difficult?”

  1. My difficulty is not looking at the bigger picture and missing/longing for the person I fell in love with. Ruminating over the hurtful comments and behaviour which cut deep. Thinking she loved and cared about me but her smirking and laughing when she had said something she knew would hurt. Telling me that I’m a sensitive person looking for an apology and I’m not going to get one, after saying something inappropriate by trying to triangulate me with a work colleague. How my perception of her was completely flipped on its head and I experienced someone who was insensitive, showed little/no empathy and care and constantly criticising me and being dismissive of my feelings. How she ended the relationship with a text message and when I tried to talk to her over the phone she shouted over me and hung up. Having to continue working with her for six months after the relationship ended, her acting completely unaffected and like the relationship was unimportant or that it even existed. Continuing to see the public side of her, which first attracted me to her, finding myself still attracted to her because that loving, kind, caring person appeared to still exist. Not acknowledging the hurt caused, not accepting responsibility for her behaviour and not apologising…being invalidated. Re-writing history by dismissing what she’d said about her feelings for me like I never mattered to her. I entered into a relationship with genuine intentions, showing love, care, campassion, empathy and support for someone who was going through a difficult time. She showed no appreciation. Everything was just to have her own needs met and for her own comfort. I trusted and believed her when she spoke about our future together then told me it was just a fantasy. Stuck in this trauma bond not knowing when I’ll stop feeling this pain and confusion.

    • Hi Dan, Thank you for your comment. It sounds like this person did a lot of hurtful things and it makes complete sense that you would be feeling confused and ruminating over the situation. It is difficult to make sense of it, because their behaviour does not make sense to someone who does not employ those manipulative tactics. I think some of the points that you have made highlight really well why it is so difficult to comes to terms with these sorts of relationships and to get over them: the triangulation, the way they appear so charming to the outside world, seeing them take pleasure in making hurtful comments and acting like the relationship was unimportant to them. It sounds like you have a lot of insights and are on the right path. Let me know if you have any topics that you would like to see covered in another post.

  2. This is the best website I’ve seen in a while on these topics! Thank you for putting this out there for people as a resource!

    My question is regarding the logic fallacy of false dichotomy: could there be couples in which both people have both roles because both are wounded empaths? Or would that be something entirely different, such as the Borderline-Narcissist relationship?

    I’m sure there are many other combinations, and I’m not trying to open Pandora’s Box with my question, but I wondered if there were variations on a theme with this wonderful illustration given here because I think it does a fantastic job explaining this dynamic.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Melissa,
      Thank you for your comment. I think this particular dynamic requires an imbalance of power. One person’s needs and emotions are being sacrificed for the self-serving intentions of the other. I don’t think that two empaths would be able to function in this dynamic. An empath tends to take on the feelings of the other person, sometimes even mistaking another person’s emotions for their own. This means that the empath would always end up rescuing the other person from their pain, since they would feel that pain as their own.
      Ironically an empathic person is likely to worry and fear that they may be acting as a perpetrator, while the narcissistic individual will often play the victim. This is one reason why the true dynamics of the relationship are not always clear to outsiders. It is also seen when many survivors of abuse question whether they themselves are a narcissist.
      I wonder whether there is a particular situation that you are seeking to make sense of.
      I think a useful litmus test is to ask yourself, from your heart: Does this person truly care about me and want the best for me? Do they want to see me happy and fulfilling my dreams? Or is it that they are self-serving and envious, looking to see me falter, despite what they claim with their words?
      I hope that answers your question.


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