You hear a lot of talk about closure & how necessary it is to healing. Closure usually seems to involve someone apologizing for the pain they caused & changing their ways. While that seems wonderful, that is also virtually impossible when it comes to narcissists.
A hallmark of narcissism is never admitting to any wrong doing on their part, let alone admitting to being abusive monsters. If you have escaped narcissistic abuse & hope your abuser will see the error of their ways one day, you most likely are going to be very disappointed. I’ve heard of narcissists who refused to admit anything even as they were dying. Their denial truly runs deep.
This doesn’t mean that there is no hope for closure for victims, however. It simply means that closure after narcissistic abuse is a bit different than it is for many other people.
First of all, you need to accept that narcissists have no desire to admit any responsibility or change that about themselves. This is how they are. Nothing can change that about a narcissist other than the narcissist being willing to improve their behavior. And that, Dear Reader, is highly unlikely.
You also need to let the narcissist be who he or she is. I don’t mean that you must “forgive & forget” or tolerate their abusive behavior. What I mean is you need to recognize that the narcissist is who they are, & not try to change them. This can be hard, especially when the narcissist is someone you love & want something better for them, but it is also necessary. Trying to force anyone to change, even when the change is in their best interest, is a form of control. If God Himself doesn’t force people to change, we as mere human beings certainly don’t have that right!
Part of allowing the narcissist to be who he or she is involves forgiving them. I don’t mean forgiving them as in everything is fine now. I mean forgiving them the same way a debt is forgiven. Sometimes, you have to let go that someone owes you a debt they can’t repay. You couldn’t expect your unemployed friend to repay you the $100 he owes you, right? Along those lines, you also can’t expect a narcissist to repay you by showing genuine remorse for their behavior. Lose that expectation. It is quite freeing.
Do NOT acknowledge anything the narcissist says about you in a smear campaign or any attempts from others to get you to resume the relationship. Anything you say or do in this situation will end up hurting you. Why I don’t know but it seems as if any normal response when these situations happen proves to narcissists & their flying monkeys that you are exactly as terrible as the narcissist says you are, & that you need him or her in your life.
Living your life is also so important! Live your life however you know is best for you. Go to work. Participate in activities that bring you joy. Enjoy your healthy, functional relationships. As time passes without the narcissist, you will feel more peaceful & grateful to be free of the narcissist.
Work on your emotional healing. Leaving a narcissistic relationship is hard no matter how awful this person was to you. You are going to feel guilt, shame, like you let this person down, like you were unreasonable, anger, sadness & more. These emotions are normal! Process them. Take time to really feel them. Write in a journal. Cry. Beat up pillows. Take your time to grieve & feel whatever emotions you are feeling. Do what you need to do to process your emotions & take good care of yourself!
Remember, whatever the narcissist in your life does, you still can have closure. It may be a bit different than it is for most people, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It just takes a slightly different course when dealing with narcissists.