< Lesson 4. How to Gain Closure from Your Abusive Relationships >

Section 4: Closure in Relationships

Earn your Verbal Abuse Defense Certificate

In this Section you learn how to find closure if you lost your partner or lost your dream.


Title L. Losing a Partner or Losing your Dream?

We Can't Fix a Narcissist

Here is a Youtube Explanation Worth Watching

Now that your are nearing the end of this course, we wish you the very best of luck. But, really, you don't need luck, you need to believe in yourself. Gaining respect for your choices and your boundaries must become second nature to you if you are to stop this pattern in your life. Here is a video that goes over our main points. The solution lies within you--which the creator of this video clearly shows. Watch the entire video before proceeding in this lesson.

Do victims reinforce bad habits?

The narrator says that "victims" reinforce the bad habits of their narcissist (abuser). Imagine one example in your mind where you are trying to "help" your abuser and how that increases your chances of being a target. You don't have to write about this, but I want you to draw one example from your mind and think about it for a few minutes before moving on. If you can't think of an example--please go back to the video and watch it again or one similar before proceeding.

Now is the time to take responsibility

Take responsibility for how you have allowed him or her to treat you. Don't call yourself a victim. You are not. You are stronger than that. Your abuser can't abuse if you don't allow it. HONEST! You owe yourself a life and only you can ensure that you have one.

Now if you stay with your partner and choose to stop the abuse, be diligent and faithful about enforcing the Respect-me. Rules Don't negotiate with a bully! Learn to detach as Al-Anon has taught us. This is this section's first lesson.

Detachment, neither Kind nor Unkind

Read this one page handout on Detachment. Pay attention to how it feels--ask yourself if you understand "Detachment." Not all of us understand this concept right away. In one or two paragraphs, tell us why detaching is better than ignoring or manipulating.

If you find that you cannot, or simply will not, stay in this relationship you will want closure. (Actually you will need closure even if you do not leave--because you are leaving your dream behind.) It is not shameful to want out--it takes a lot of energy to stay in an abusive relationship, and more energy to stop the abuse--a target needs to remain vigilant for the rest of their life and for many, it is not worth it. Hold you head high and move on, if that is your decision!

We ask you to find a support group whether you go or stay. Remember, these principles must guide you in the relationship if you stay and guide to a better relationship if you choose to leave (or they leave you because you won't let them abuse you any longer.)

Chapter 10 in Respect-me Rules covers the extra support you need to change your life and stop the destructive patterns of your relationship.

Title M. Forgive and Forget, yeah right!

People tell you to forgive and forget--its not that easy coming out of an abusive relationship. In fact a lot of us don't want to hear it. What do they mean, "Forgive" the bastard? Yes, we know it is the spiritual thing to do but the pain they've caused is usually so deep. We are scarred. We need a way to work through it. Granted this whole site is about taking responsibility for ourselves and that our abuser could not have abused without our consent, yet that does not excuse their behavior. People have wanted us to be understanding because our partners were/are "sick" or really didn't understand how they hurt us or maybe others just want us to get on with our lives and figure we have to forgive for that to happen.

Title N. To Heal the Wounds

You must dance together or the dance ends.

Healing takes time

Most of us want more than just putting it behind us.

Look. We went through trauma! Most of us went through it for years and possibly some through several relationships. I didn't want to just put it behind me. I wanted closure! I wanted my husband to acknowledge what he did!

Look. We went through trauma! Most of us went through it for years and possibly some through several relationships. I didn't want to just put it behind me. I wanted closure! I wanted my husband to acknowledge what he did!
Author Sam Vaknin explains:

For her traumatic wounds to heal, the victim of abuse requires closure - one final interaction with her tormentor in which he, hopefully, acknowledges his misbehavior and even tenders an apology. Fat chance. Few abusers - especially if they are narcissistic - are amenable to such weakling pleasantries. More often, the abused are left to wallow in a poisonous stew of misery, self-pity, and self-recrimination.

Well we don't want/need to wallow ladies. There are a couple approaches we can take.

Carefully consider both types

Sam explains that there are several types of closure, the first being:

Conceptual Closure

This most common variant involves a frank dissection of the abusive relationship. The parties meet to analyze what went wrong, to allocate blame and guilt, to derive lessons, and to part ways cathartically cleansed. In such an exchange, a compassionate offender (quite the oxymoron, admittedly) offers his prey the chance to rid herself of cumulating resentment.~ Sam Vaknin

Ideally he would let her know that it wasn't her fault, that she could have done nothing to deserve it, that nothing she did would have made him better. Once the target of abuse knows this and hears it from the horses mouth, hopefully she could get on with her life. The burden of self-incrimination is gone.

Retributive Closure

When the abuse has been "gratuitous" (sadistic), repeated, and protracted, conceptual closure is not enough. Retribution is called for, an element of vengeance, of restorative justice and a restored balance. Recuperation hinges on punishing the delinquent and merciless party. The penal intervention of the Law is often therapeutic to the abused.~ Sam Vaknin

This falls under one of the Top 10 Reason the EXpose your EX. Click over there and review the good reasons for telling on your abuser and ways in which you can expose him. Exposing him or her as an abuser is a good way to work on retributive closure. We never advocate anything illegal or immoral but retribution can be sweet. According to some research reported in Scientific American, Mind (Jan 2005) revenge stimulates the same types of reward centers in the brain that desserts, desire, and drugs do. "Ernst Fehr, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and his colleagues have shown that the dorsal stratum--the part of the brain that processes rewards--lights up when we punish those who have betrayed our trust."

Since there is a fat chance of him ever allowing you to have a more civilized "Conceptual Closure" you might want to close off the past with the Retributive kind. In addition to the Top 10 Reason the EXpose your EX you can check out the Revenge Lady's site. She has some deliciously clever ideas.

Title O. Ways to move on without Proper Closure

Look up sites devoted to healing from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Yes, most abused women and men suffer from PTSD and resources for PTSD people are resources for you. There is a lot you can do for yourself by followign the suggetions of others who have been traumatized. Unfortuantely many of these self-help sites will refere to the PTSD person as a victim. Howefully by now you realize you are not a victim--but still a person who has been traumatized. Part of your lesson her is to look up sites on how to help yourself through PTSD and NOT use the word "victim" even if they do. Start here with this PDF.

Write about your ideal way to find closure in the Completion form Below.

Completion Form for Section 4

Note: You may save this form and review the Titles above before continuing--submit the form when you are done.

Obtaining your Certificate of Completion

After you submit Completion Form 4, and we have a record of all 4 forms, a Certificate will be emailed to the email address provided on the form, signed by Dr. Marshall. Print it out on a nice parchment paper and frame it. You earned it and now it can act as a prompt!

Although a Certificate of Completion does not have any continuing education hours per se, often an educational institution will offer some credit for taking this type of workshop. Contact us if we can help in any way.

NOTE This tutorial is not meant to take the place of therapy or a support group. In fact it is a very brief introductory tutorial and you need much more help to master all this. Tod is a good day to conintue your work on yourself!