Many people think that narcissists deliberately refuse to give discarded partners closure.
I do not totally agree.
I believe that if you insist, the narcissist will give you closure. The more you insist, the clearer your closure will be.
The problem is that you will, not recognise it. Why? Because the narcissist’s way of giving closure is very different from what you expect.
According to Wikipedia (I know that it isn’t the best source but anyway), closure or need for closure is an individual’s desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion towards ambiguity.
No surprise you have a massive need for closure after the discard by a narcissist. You went from the perfect little goddess on a pedestal, to a ‘perhaps I keep you, perhaps I won’t’ of the devaluation phase, to ‘I don’t need to explain anything to you’ and ‘leave me alone or else I call the police’ of the post discard. A pretty mad relationship trajectory, I will tell you.
So here you are, struggling with cognitive dissonance, still subconsciously attached to the memory of the perfect prince charming from the pedestal period, trying to figure out how on Earth did you deserve the change in treatment.
The problem is that the person you are seeking closure from is the prince charming, who, as we know now, was just a false self, a mirage, the narcissist’s creation based on them mirroring you.
You are trying to reach the reasonable, kind, loving mature person you used to love and still care about and don’t understand that this person never really existed. You don’t understand that the mean cruel jerk you are dealing with now is the real deal. There is no one else there and never has been.
This misunderstanding means you are failing to grasp that the narcissist actually IS giving you closure. And he is doing it very clearly
Here is what you expect:
In your mind, which is still attached to the false self and all it meant to you, you expect something like this:
You: Hey, I am really sorry that we didn’t work out. I used to believe in us so much. But well, this is what it is. I am sorry if I hurt you. I understand that I wasn’t always my best self. I know that I said things I shouldn’t have said but when you started ignoring me that was really difficult. That made me feel like a piece of garbage. I guess you probably didn’t do it deliberately, did you? When you told me that you never really cared about me, you were just triggered, right?
(Do you see how desperately you are clinging to the memory of the good times. You simply want to believe that you indeed mattered, despite the weird trajectory of the relationship).
In your dream world, the narcissist says something like this:
False Self: Yeah, you are right. I did say some mean things too. I understand how you felt when I ignored you. I think I was really lost and confused. But I always cared about you and I still do. I am also sorry that we didn’t work out…
And then you think that you hug, part your ways and keep sending each other Christmas and Happy Birthday wishes for the rest of your lives.
As I said, this fantasy scenario of yours is based on your attachment to the memory of the False Self. You are struggling with cognitive dissonance and still, at this stage, don’t fully understand, that the narcissist, due to the nature of his disorder, manipulated your feelings and led you to believe that he was something that he actually wasn’t. He made you build up your expectations and then kicked you down from your pedestal.
Here is the actual closure with the narcissist:
You (again): Hey, I am really sorry that we didn’t work out. I used to believe in us so much. But well, this is what it is. I am sorry if I hurt you. I understand that I wasn’t always my best self. I know that I said things I shouldn’t have said but when you started ignoring me that was really difficult. That made me feel like a piece of garbage. I guess you probably didn’t do it deliberately, did you? When you told me that you never really cared about me, you were just triggered, right?
Narcissist: You seriously have to stop dwelling on it. It’s really unhealthy. Seriously. The relationship never really was that hot in the first place as far as I am concerned. It was only as good as it lasted. It’s normal. These things happen. It just ran its course. You have to accept it.
You (shocked): What? You are telling me that the relationship wasn’t all that serious? But you spent three years of my life telling me how much you loved me, adored me and worshipped me. You were telling me you never felt anything like this before. You were telling me that we were the perfect couple, a Brangelina. You were telling me what a great influence I had on your life…
Narcissist: Did I really say that? Ha ha ha ha ha! Well, maybe I did. I guess I just saw something on TV so I was testing those lines on you. You know what? You can’t really believe everything. You have always been so naïve. That’s a big difference between us. You believe everything. These things, that’s just what people say in a relationship. It doesn’t really mean anything.
You (starting to cry): I don’t believe you mean what you are saying (you see, you are failing to accept the closure). You said you would always love me. You said you could never hurt me. You said you would always respect me! Why are you being so cruel now?
Narcissist (getting increasingly annoyed): Look, there have always been significant differences between us. Your obsession with healthy eating, you always got annoyed when I watched TV, you are generally quite naïve, you always get over-excited about everything, and I am not even talking about those crazy beliefs about reincarnation that you have. Just ridiculous. I am much more pragmatic and reasonable.
You (defensively): My obsession with healthy eating? You used to like that about me, you used to say I made you healthier…. And you used to like that I am enthusiastic. You used to be intrigued by meditation…
Narcissist (really fed-up): Look, I am long over it. I don’t see any benefit in discussing this over and over again. I am much better now. I am very happy. I have no regrets. I am not looking back. Breaking up with you was definitely the right thing to do. I am sorry that you still miss me and are in pain but I hope that one day you will be happy too.
You: I just wanted you to understand how your cutting me out of your life after all that made me feel ….
Narcissist: Listen, I have always been the type of person that just turns the page, burns the bridge, walks away and never looks back. That’s me. I have always been like this and now please leave me alone. I see that you are still very resentful. Maybe I will talk to you again when you stop being resentful.
You see? He is giving you closure!
If you are like I used to be, you are failing to see the closure there simply because it does not match your idea of closure (the hug and be friends type of closure). The dialogue above is very much based on my interactions with my ex narc. It’s nearly a word-by-word transcription. You can see that there are many moments, when he very directly tells me what he thinks about me, that he doesn’t give a sh.t about me, finds me annoying, stupid, has absolutely no warm feelings towards me whatsoever and simply wants me to disappear. What an annoying insect, me!
I will be honest with you. I failed to accept this closure. I eventually got a much harsher one that totally cured me from all cognitive dissonance. Anyway. My advice to you is: Trust what the narcissist says when you seek closure. This is the only moment when he is really honest with you. All the rest was a lie.