You Can Have Closure On An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

23 Sep 2014

When you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship, you live with the belief that you can never recover from emotional abuse and be at peace until your emotionally abusive partner acknowledges what a jerk he was.  Not that he is ever going to do that – which means that the rest of your life could be consigned to a kind of Limbo.  An emotionally abusive husband has no interest in setting you free psychologically, because he LOVES being able to press your buttons at will.  He will not give you closure because that simply doesn’t serve his interests.

But does that mean you can’t find closure?

Only if you carry on looking for it in all the wrong places.

worriedwomansmallI was reminded of that this morning when I nearly crashed the car.  I was doing that thing that a lot of us do: I was going inside myself back into a little stagnant pool of negative feelings, instead of focusing on what was going on in the outside world.

I was having a real throwback moment.

It was all about some unresolved emotional business with one of my brothers.  Prior to my mother’s death, this brother and I had a ‘relationship’that just about held together by email.  Until he tried dumping a load of toxic, ancient history on me.  I was responsible, he said, for  the misery my parents had caused in the family.  I sent off a well-considered reply stating my experience of what had happened and my refusal to tolerate any more such accusations from him.  (Truly, I showed great moderation. There were no counter accusations, no appeals to his finer feelings.  Just a few simple statements refuting his arguments.) 

His reply came alarmingly, but characteristically, swiftly.  Clearly, he had had no need to think anything through.  And I never read that letter until today.  I never read it because, given the huge amount of stress I was under, I didn’t feel any need to add to it.

Turned out I was right, of course.

Why on earth would he change, even a little bit?

Sure, a lot of years had gone by, and our remaining parent lay dying, leaving her offspring as divided as they had always been.  But, hey, there were rules in our family, and I had violated every last one of them by refusing to live their kind of Blame&Shame lifestyle.

So, there I was, driving along mulling over what I could say to him and whether there was any point in having the last word, when I very nearly wrapped the car round a crash barrier, at speed.

Not bright, right?

But a useful wake-up call.

Of course, I have the right of reply – you always have the right of reply.

But what will it get you?

It will remind the other person, yet again, that you are – at the very least – to be shouted down and, quite possibly, will also be a cue to that person to trash your feelings, one more time.

deadendsmallUnless you need another bruising reminder that they are not listening and don’t care, there really isn’t much point in going there.

You see, there is no point in looking for closure from people for whom the only agenda is getting you to surrendering to their map of the world.  Closure does NOT exist for them.

If it doesn’t exist for them, can it exist for you?  And for me?


Closure comes when you accept what is, rather than breaking yourself in two trying to get what you want.

What might I have liked from my brother?

Well, I might have liked some sibling fondness, and a wee bit of connection.  (Truth is, I can’t even write that without using stilted turns of phrase because, truly, I cannot see how it could happen.) 

It was never going to happen.

But I can accept that it was simply a relationship that was predestined to fail.  Nothing much would have changed that.  Unless I’d been prepared to sacrifice the requisite pounds of flesh at regular intervals.  That was the way the relationship was set up from Day 1 – and I kind of always knew it from Day 1.. 

So, what does that say about me?

It says as much – and as little – as I choose to make it say.

It could say that I was worth less, it could make me a tragic figure banished from the annals of family; it could make me a winner, loser, survivor, or pariah.  But whatever I chose for it to make me would be a judgement that I was taking on board.

I don’t like living bowed down under the weight of judgments.

So, I say “Whatever!”


It is the narrative of ancient history.  It’s not who I am.  It is the experience that has taught me compassion, thoughtfulness, and commitment to living wholeheartedly.

That’s all.

Closure is there for me because I choose to focus on what is important in my life; primarily my life – which is lived in the present, and will be lived in the future.  That can be as beautiful as I choose to make it.

Yours can, too.

Past ugliness in your life is a HUGE motivation to create present and future beauty.

That’s the journey you are on, whether you fully realize it or not. Yet!

If I can help move you forward more comfortably along that journey, nothing would give me more pleasure.





Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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