Closure? Not So Fast….

Closure is a healthy part of ending a relationship. You each get to say your peace. You both apologize for any unintentional and/or intentional hurts. You say goodbye and wish each other well. This is how closure works between two reality-based, reasonably sane adults who basically had a good relationship. It didn’t work because of different goals, values, interests, a lack of compatibility or you grew apart instead of together. A less satisfying form of closure is when you had a relationship with someone who wasn’t considerate, wasn’t invested in the relationship or just wasn’t ready for commitment. If this person is a reality-based, reasonably sane adult then you break up and state how they hurt you.

They apologize and give you an ego massage by offering, “It’s not you; it’s me. You deserve someone who really loves you.” You accept his or her apology and you both go away feeling a little better. The Paradox: Trying to get closure with a narcissistic and/or borderline woman usually results in reopening your old wounds. Attempting to obtain closure with an emotionally abusive, narcissistic and/or borderline woman is always a maddening exercise in futility.

You will never get closure with this kind of woman. NEVER. First, she doesn’t meet the three most important prerequisites for giving and receiving closure: A reasonable degree of sanity. A foothold in reality. Empathy. Being able to give an ex closure means you’re able to accept your responsibility for the demise of the relationship and when has your BPD and/or NPD ex ever taken responsibility for her behavior, especially when she was clearly in the wrong? Don’t you remember how she would rewrite ancient and recent history when you were together by portraying herself as the long suffering heroine and you as the terrible ogre, after every nasty blow-up, attack or cold shoulder episode that she initiated? Do you really think she’s going to admit to any of the relationship atrocities she committed during the relationship now that it’s over?

I hate to break it to you, but if you’re waiting for this to happen or, heaven forbid, an apology from this woman; IT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. If you try to get closure from your NPD and/or BPD ex by detailing the many ways she hurt and tortured you, she’s not going to acknowledge what she did. Instead, she’ll puff herself up, look at you like you’re the crazy one, and mystifyingly tell you, “I was a wonderful and loving wife or girlfriend. How dare you say these things to me? You must be crazy or someone’s brainwashed you. Don’t you remember how good I was to you and the many things I did for you?” Somebody has a memory problem, but it’s not you.

If you seek closure from this woman, she’ll regale you with her revisionist relationship history as you have yet another NPD/BPD induced WTF-moment. You’ll be understandably rattled after walking into another one of her traps and she’ll tell you how worried she is about you because you seem so unhappy now (the “without her” is implied). This is evidence that the hard wiring in these women’s heads is truly out of whack.

1. They don’t get that when you look hurt, unhappy and “in pain” it’s because of something they’ve done. They think it’s because of something you’ve done because if she hurt you, you deserved it and she was right to hurt you. She’s confused hurting you with “showing you affection” and trying to take most of your assets as “generosity.” You cannot reason with this.

Once most men finally get out of an abusive relationship, they feel an intense amount of relief. They have regret and sadness that they fell in love with a woman who doesn’t really exist and put up with the abuse for so long, but that’s normal. Nearly every man I know who’s broken free from one of these women is infinitely happier—even with less money (if it’s divorce—a reader describes it as “the price of freedom, sanity and happiness”) and/or less time with their kid(s). Once the abuse stops, it’s a tremendous relief.

2. What they call love is really abuse and control, but they doggedly insist, “it’s love.” Enough said.

3. Some of them truly believe they were the best wife or girlfriend. You could show this kind of woman a video tape of one of her unprovoked rage attacks and she’d still deny she did it or find a way to blame you for it. Her defense mechanisms on this are impenetrable. This is why it’s crazy for you to seek closure from this woman. She may have brief moments in which she can recognize the truth of who she is and what she’s done. However, the reality of it terrifies her and shakes her to the core. Instead of apologizing to you, she’ll quickly revert back to her idealized false self or image that no one (who knows her well) believes.

Narcissistic women in particular believe that their facade is so slick that no one can see through it and many people don’t until they get too close, which is why these women don’t let anyone get too close. In other words, she believes her own bullshit. She has to believe it because if she doesn’t she fears she will fall apart. It’s a matter of ego preservation vs. ego annihilation except that she’s actually preserving her false self. Then she will either attack you or gaslight you by rewriting history yet again. Do you really want to get caught in one of these crazy-making, never ending loops with your ex again? Didn’t you learn your lesson while you were with her? Here’s how you get closure from an emotionally abusive narcissistic and/or borderline woman: Get as far away from her as you can and then get on with your life.

The best form of closure for you is living well and that means a life free of abuse, filled with love and happiness. This woman will never have the kind of relationships other people are capable of—she will be left with herself and that’s a fate I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

  1. Reading through this does make a lot of sense and is helpful! For this reason, ill do a bit of sharing too. I was in a long distance relationship with someone I can only assume was a narcissist.

    Just like you all, it started amazingly. Met her on a work trip and instantly we both seemed to fall in love! I decided to go straight back to her country and continued to do so every couple weeks if possible. She was demanding though and very soon I was in a situation where I had to be talking to her all day, every day when I wasn’t physically with her. I didn’t mind at all, she was going through some genuinely hard times and I wanted to support her as much as possible. After all, i soon considered her to be the love of my life. The more I gave however, the more controlling she became. Very soon, any time I would see a friend, it was met with suspicion and inevitably a day or two of the cold shoulder.

    I’m relatively naive, and really thought my actions were wrong. For example, we’d send pictures and videos to each other throughout the day. If there was another girl in a photo I sent, she’d go mad. I just presumed I was being insensitive. I also presumed that it was just because of her current situation (her mum was very unwell), and accepted every moment that she was ‘irrational’, as she called it. Soon there was talk of marriage and children. After all, the times it was just the two of us, whether we were physically together or not, were amazing. How little I knew!

    Everything then took a massive turn for the worse. I have a history of depression, which I had made very clear to her on many occasions. I’d just returned from seeing her, and everything suggested another relapse into depression. I understand the symptoms, and during a Skype talk with her, Brought up the fact that I was not feeling well. She recommended seeing a friend, which made my evening as I really thought she was looking out for me. An hour later I thanked her, and mentioned I was feeling a bit better, only to receive the same cold shoulder I had received every other time I saw my friends.

    Something broke in me that night, she didn’t understand the one thing that I needed her to. A day of non contact ensued, where in that time her personal situation got much worse. For this I was instantly blamed for not being there for her. That was a hard thing to stomach, considering that is all I wanted to do. I got back on antidepressants and we made up as usual. A couple days later though things really got bad.

    This time on my side. I had a day from hell, My friend passed away in the morning. I went to my dad’s who I hadn’t seen for a long time. His drinking had become far, far worse than expected and he terrified me. I’m not sure if it was the tablets/depression making me over emotional, but I genuinely thought he wasn’t going to last much longer. Later that evening I then got news that my nan had also passed away. What a day! Obviously my instant reaction was to go to my partner for comfort. Big mistake! She shouted at me for having a beer (I’d just started anti depressants) and pretty much mocked the fact that my nan had died.

    The next day, I was massively shell shocked. Got back home later that evening, and had the expected break down with my flat mate. At which point my partner decides to call me and tell me that I was an immature, manipulative liar for saying that these things happened, and also stated that there was no way I would go to my flat mate for support (she was a girl, and therefore a threat).

    Immense disbelief is the only way I could describe it (what I later discovered was ptsd) I tried to salvage the situation and begged for understanding. Maybe my situation sounded implausible? After all, a lot had happened.

    The next day I tried to reason with her, showing anything I could to prove my innocence. However I was painted as a monster and anything I said, she took as a deep attack on her personality. All in a couple of days I had gone from the love of her life, to an annoyance that she couldn’t care less about. All because I didn’t react the way that she wanted me to when she initally hurt me.

    After a few weeks of being severely mentally ill, and trying to talk to her, getting consistently nasty responses in return, she decided that she believed me and starting talking to me normally, but with no apology or any attempt at understanding what she had put me through. At this point, I was diagnosed with ptsd and concluded that there was no way on earth a normal person would do the things she did. I told her to stay away and promptly got cut off and blocked for the final time.

    It has been one hell of a difficult recovery from this and boy does ptsd suck! I guess it is all a learning process. Closure is an Immensely important thing if a relationship ends and having none, especially after a seemingly very intimate relationship is about as hard as it gets.

    I’ll never know for sure what she was thinking, if she had npd, bpd or was just going through a hard time. Maybe she even knew exactly what she was doing (that doesn’t bear thinking about!) Something however was very wrong with her though and at the end of the day, I am lucky that it happened while I was still in my home country (I was trying very hard to find a way to move over to her).

    It is easy to paint narcissists in the same way, as predators with no empathy etc. Whilst that is not far wrong, it is also important to realise that people don’t generally become this way without good reason. At the root of it is potentially a very hard upbringing. After all, narcissism is a defense mechanism in its own right. It’s very easy to just hate that person, but I think given the right amount of time, understanding that it is due to their own problems is important. They are still people after all. Npd or bpd is probably also a very hard thing to live with!

    Just try to be thankful that you made it out the other side (just about!), and know that bpd/npd etc isn’t all that common. Regaining trust in people is a very hard thing to do, but you will have become wise to the signs of personality disorders and lightning (hopefully!) Won’t strike twice!

    As an aside, pay real attention to signs of ptsd. Just because you weren’t in a literal war, it doesn’t mean you can’t have it. Treatment is really important as symptoms don’t often go away on their own.

    Happy recoveries people!

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  2. Great Article, I can also say that I was in a relationship with a Narcissist and didn’t realize it until it was too late. She is a physician and we met when she was in her residency program. During that time we lived in separate cities and I realized that she had a demanding schedule, so i would drive to her home to visit her every weekend. When we became engaged, I moved to her city so we could spend more time together which doubled my commute to work, but hey, I was willing to make that sacrifice. After doing that for a couple of years, she finished her residency program and decided to move across the country because she missed her family. We decided that I would quit my career and she would support me as I started graduate school and looked for another job. What I didn’t realize at the time is that this gave her full and complete control over me and didn’t see the red flag at the time of her obsession with “strong independent women”, making comments that she wanted a house husband, things like that. We planned our wedding, well I tried to participate but she wouldn’t allow me. I had bought her a $6K ring using my savings because she wanted it, her budget for me was $500 “because rings don’t mean as much to men”. I ignored all of this at the time figuring that it was not a big deal, however when we moved closer to her family, things took a nosedive.

    Fast forward a year into our marriage, I was going to graduate school and working more than half time which was difficult. I also cooked all the meals, cleaned the house, ran errands, started remodeling the house that we had purchased, paid the bills, etc….. I figured that I appreciated her working so I was happy to carry more weight; but I was working myself to exhaustion. I would frequently ask her to help take some of the responsibilities from me, it fell on deaf ears. I would clean the bathroom and kitchen, immediately after that she would mess up everything (food all over the counters, makeup splashed, clothes and towels on the floor, etc…) I asked her if she is not going to help if she could at least not make things more difficult for me and that I don’t feel like she appreciates what I do. Her response was that I don’t appreciate that she works. I was unable to find a full time job for several years despite 1,000 applications and would tell her that I want her to appreciate the sacrifice I made to give up my career and move for her to be close to her family. This was met with a response, “You moved to go to graduate school and you didn’t like your job there”. Any attempts to reason were turned back onto me. I came home from work one day and she told me that she scheduled a therapy appointment for “us” so she could “fix” me. That upset me and I refused thinking, who is she to tell me that I have a problem. I finally received a job offer after 3 years and talked to her about it, she told me that she doesn’t think I should accept because it is not what I wanted to do. It sounded reasonable and I declined; less than a week later we got into an argument because I asked her if I had to put time on her schedule for intimacy. She then told me that she wanted a divorce, packed her suitcases and left the home. A short time later, she withdrew all of the money from the joint account and justified it by claiming that I was spending everything. I showed her receipts that I paid for her medical bills, etc…. She refused to listen. She had complete control over me financially which took away my independence. I started counseling and asked if we could work on things, her response was that I should have started when she asked me to go a few months earlier, but would tell me that she still hasn’t told her family about her leaving dangling the carrot that we could reunify. Finally one day I noticed that all of her family had blocked me on facebook. When I met with her to discuss a financial plan, we agreed that it would take 4 months to fix the house and get it ready to be sold. 2 months later she messaged me at school telling me that she scheduled a meeting with a realtor to put the home on the market for sale “because I was dragging my heals”. I told her if she want’s it done faster, she could help or hire a contractor. The moment that the lightbulb went off that she was a Narc was when I told her that I think we both need to look at our own contributions to the demise of the marriage. Her response was “You mean to tell me that I am responsible for you hurting me”. After that I told her that I don’t want to have any contact outside of ‘business’ via email. Needless to say the divorce was brutal, I had to cash out retirement accounts to pay for an attorney, 10K in 6 months and I had nothing left, so I had to represent myself. I later found out that she only paid 3K and was running up my legal costs. That’s my story, I could go on, but when you realize that you are with a Narc, protect yourself because it will turn your life upside down.

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  3. I was with my female Narcissist for several years. She had me shaving my chest and other parts. She had me buy a different truck. She had me grow facial hair and change my hair style. She asked me to buy different clothes and boxers. Basically I allowed her to put a ring in my nose with a rope through it and lead me around. Everything was fine one day, then the next she said she needed space and went no contact with me. I was lost for four months. Chasing after her, pleading and begging. Then one day I see her facebook page and she is with a women. The pictures were shocking. I felt pretty stupid.
    She was in her car one day after that and she saw me and started kissing on the lady. Yup, over night she decided to like women. The lady was imported from Texas. Not too sure how they met? She moved her up and moved in over night. Her facebook said that she had been in a relationship with my ex while we were still serious. It is so messed up and I am in therapy. They think I have a form of PTSD. I can not get past it.

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  4. This doesn’t just pertain to women. I had this happen to me some years ago, we were engaged, moved in together, then two weeks later his ex girlfriend walked back into his life and he ended up marrying her. I had given up everything to be with him–my job, even moving to another city. I couldn’t figure out why he could be so loving one day and then overnight! Goodbye I don’t love you anymore, it wasn’t meant to be! Wait, wut? I never felt so used. I finally figured out I had involved myself with a narcissist. He’s on his third wife, so good riddance.

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  5. Yep, this describes my ex 100 percent.
    I video taped her after hitting me one night and questioned her about it while video taping her and she denied it and also remained calm and quiet. Everything we argued about was shot that she would bring up. She is still trying to piss me off and is living in a jointly owned house with my name on it and somehow believes that she owns the house. I have attempted to reason and bargain to sell the house and she is demanding a whole lot of money from me. I also had been assaulted by this woman physically 7 times while in the relationship and on the night I pushed her away and out of the bedroom before she got the chance to hit me again she called the cops and bingo!!! I had a dvo put on me. Many times she through solicitors she pulls the dvo card out. These women are nothing but cunts and the lowest form of scum on the planet. Like this says. Run away from them for your own sanity. Wishing 3 months I found a beautiful new lady.

    I am still waiting for her to agree and sell the house but it’s a total control thing. These type of women are mentally unstable. They can’t and do not move on. But you can.

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  6. Ugh. Thank you thank you THANK YOU. In my relationship, I am a female and my ex was a female. And oh my god, I have never met anyone like her in my entire life. Everything you said above was true. On March 22nd, I finally, after 4 years of crap, had enough.

    She was from NY and I was from PA. She moved in with me for a year and a half and it was the worst 4 1/2 and 1 1/2 years of my life. Things just got progressively worse. She lied, she probably cheated – even though you know she would never admit that! She hurt me more times than I can count. And she pretty much wasted the best years of my life. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to let go. Because I though with my forgiving, loving, attitude, I could somehow fix it. Pisces. Ugh. Anyway through it all she never apologized and when she did, it was simply to appease me. Man, the things I went through with this girl, was crazy. at times, I FELT CRAZY! I couldn’t actually be in a relationship with someone like this right? I mean I must have been doing something wrong! No. She did things, started fights, did unscrupulous things to me and my mom, my dad, my family, my friends, were ALL like, Um hello, ITS HER NOT YOU!!!! On December 2015, she moved back to NYC.

    Anyway, March 22nd comes rolling around, she’s playing games as usual. And I decide I had enough, finally, FINALLY! So I changed my number, blocked her from everything, I mean everything! And she starts calling me and texting me from these apps I don’t even know about. Telling ME she deserves closure. I had to laugh at that. I’ll never have closure. I’ll never know if she cheated. I’ll never know who Carlos is. I’ll never know if she slept with Phil. I’ll never know why she chose me out of the millions of people in the world, to be with. I’ll never know if she ever really loved me. I’ll never really know if this was a game all along. etc.

    My mom says I don’t owe her anything. And I keep feeling like that. But, then I also feel guilty. Its like the angel and the devil. One shoulder – give her what she wants. The other shoulder – NO!

    2 weeks goes by and she finally sucks me back in, partially. I don’t feel ashamed saying that to you guys, because, well you know what its like. The promises, the fake I’m sorry’s, the words. Words! Nothing but words. Words at this point mean crap but she sucked me back in anyway! Finally, I talk to her, not wholly, but we start talking more than I meant to. Its day 3, and here we go again. Lies, silent treatment, blah blah blah. On Tuesday, April 5th. She finally really definitely broke me. She cracked me right in half. I called her damaged, I told her this was all her fault and could have easily been fixed if she wanted to change. I mean not to blow smoke up my own ass, but I was a really good gf. We could have had a really GOOD life. If the shoe was on the other foot, and it has been, I would do everything and anything I could to be better, do better, change, etc. But, she has no interest in that. Honestly? I feel bad for her. You’re right, she is forever going to be alone. Even if she finds someone else to be with, she won’t be able to hide this hideous being forever. Eventually, she will run everyone off. And that to me is damn sad. Just the same, I was wondering today as I was taking a break between this positive thinking video I was watching (Norman Vincent Peale) and I thought, does she actually deserve closure or not?

    Came to your article. And I came to my senses. Thank you. Seriously. Thank you for making me see I shouldn’t be beating myself up. Thank you for allowing me to be self-aware again, that people like that, don’t not only deserve closure but that you can never really GET closure from a person / for a person like that. I have not talked to her since the 5th and I feel no need to. Really. I tried a million times to help this person, to help her change, to be loving towards her no matter what, to be kind, to walk on egg shells, to be forgiving, etc. And it did….. absolutely… nothing. Not on my end anyway. Not for my benefit. All it did was hurt me more.

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  7. Ugh. Thank you thank you THANK YOU. In my relationship, I am a female and my ex was a female. And oh my god, I have never met anyone like her in my entire life. Everything you said above was true. On March 22nd, I finally, after 4 years of crap, had enough.

    She was from NY and I was from PA. She moved in with me for a year and a half and it was the worst 4 1/2 and 1 1/2 years of my life. Things just got progressively worse. She lied, she probably cheated – even though you know she would never admit that! She hurt me more times than I can count. And she pretty much wasted the best years of my life. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to let go. Because I though with my forgiving, loving, attitude, I could somehow fix it. Pisces. Ugh. Anyway through it all she never apologized and when she did, it was simply to appease me. Man, the things I went through with this girl, was crazy. at times, I FELT CRAZY! I couldn’t actually be in a relationship with someone like this right? I mean I must have been doing something wrong! No. She did things, started fights, did unscrupulous things to me and my mom, my dad, my family, my friends, were ALL like, Um hello, ITS HER NOT YOU!!!! On December 2015, she moved back to NYC.

    Anyway, March 22nd comes rolling around, she’s playing games as usual. And I decide I had enough, finally, FINALLY! So I changed my number, blocked her from everything, I mean everything! And she starts calling me and texting me from these apps I don’t even know about. Telling ME she deserves closure. I had to laugh at that. I’ll never have closure. I’ll never know if she cheated. I’ll never know who Carlos is. I’ll never know if she slept with Phil. I’ll never know why she chose me out of the millions of people in the world, to be with. I’ll never know if she ever really loved me. I’ll never really know if this was a game all along. etc.

    My mom says I don’t owe her anything. And I keep feeling like that. But, then I also feel guilty. Its like the angel and the devil. One shoulder – give her what she wants. The other shoulder – NO!

    2 weeks goes by and she finally sucks me back in, partially. I don’t feel ashamed saying that to you guys, because, well you know what its like. The promises, the fake I’m sorry’s, the words. Words! Nothing but words. Words at this point mean crap but she sucked me back in anyway! Finally, I talk to her, not wholly, but we start talking more than I meant to. Its day 3, and here we go again. Lies, silent treatment, blah blah blah. On Tuesday, April 5th. She finally really definitely broke me. She cracked me right in half. I called her damaged, I told her this was all her fault and could have easily been fixed if she wanted to change. I mean not to blow smoke up my own ass, but I was a really good gf. We could have had a really GOOD life. If the shoe was on the other foot, and it has been, I would do everything and anything I could to be better, do better, change, etc. But, she has no interest in that. Honestly? I feel bad for her. You’re right, she is forever going to be alone. Even if she finds someone else to be with, she won’t be able to hide this hideous being forever. Eventually, she will run everyone off. And that to me is damn sad. Just the same, I was wondering today as I was taking a break between this positive thinking video I was watching (Norman Vincent Peale) and I thought, does she actually deserve closure or not?

    Came to your article. And I came to my senses. Thank you. Seriously. Thank you for making me see I shouldn’t be beating myself up. Thank you for allowing me to be self-aware again, that people like that, don’t not only deserve closure but that you can never really GET closure from a person / for a person like that. I have not talked to her since the 5th and I feel no need to. Really. I tried a million times to help this person, to help her change, to be loving towards her no matter what, to be kind, to walk on egg shells, to be forgiving, etc. And it did….. absolutely… nothing. Not on my end anyway. Not for my benefit. All it did was hurt me more.

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