Friday, 2 June 2017

In Pursuit of Closure...

 I had never heard of "closure," until I was around 12-13 years old and I saw an episode of Friends, where Rachel tells Ross that she's over him and that "that, my friend, is what they call closure."

It became something of a buzzword to me.  I was obsessed with Friends and I carried a lot of phrases from the show through to my own life (I still do use words and phrases I picked up from the show, to be fair...).  If I found myself in a negative situation, I would start looking for ways to get "closure."

According to Wikipedia, closure refers to "an individual's desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion to ambiguity."

I guess the reason that this particular buzzword stuck with me, even from such a young age, is that I've always been a hugely analytical person.  I like - perhaps even need - to fully understand personal situations, from every angle.  I analyse my behaviour and the behaviour of those around me in order to feel like I've got a better handle on things and when I fail to understand something, or when I fail to get answers, it genuinely stresses me out to an enormous degree.

And in the last seven or eight months, I've been massively stressed out.

we often talk about needing closure after a break up with a romantic partner, but the fact is, any kind of split is going to lead to you feeling that need to chase answers.

In my own personal life, I've spent the last eight months trying to work out why a fairly simple argument that could have been very easily solved, instead led to me losing two of my best friends.  I've been over everything, time and time again.  I've read the entire text conversation I had with the person I initially fell out with, searching for things I said that were so utterly awful, she had no choice but to paint me as some kind of ogre and drop me from her life.  When I found only the frustrated responses of someone who felt she wasn't being listened to, I thought I must be going mad; I had to have said something horrific, surely?!  Otherwise, why did this happen?!

I went through the whole grieving process - sometimes seemingly all in one day - only to start it again, the next.  I was angry - furious - then crushingly sad, then frustrated, then in total denial of the hatred that people I unconditionally loved suddenly felt for me.  If I didn't believe they hated me, then maybe they didn't.  I was flip-flopping all over the place, unable to get a clear handle on the situation.

I tried - and, apparently failed - not to talk endlessly about it all to my best friend, who had been mad at me for having done so.  Instead, I kept trying to internalise it, or write it all down, but nothing seemed to be working.

Eventually, I started counselling, because I was completely stuck in grief.  

That helped.  Slowly, I realised I wasn't the monster I had been painted as, whether in hate mail sent from one former friend, or on social media by another.  I was someone who had felt hurt and angry and had verbalised that.  Maybe my frustration meant I didn't word it all as well as I could have, but I was within my rights to say something and I did offer an apology, saying sorry if my being annoyed had upset my friend.  I never had an apology back and for a long time, I thought I needed one.  A part of me still thinks maybe I do.

But it was counselling that made me realise that far more than a "sorry," what I really needed were answers.

There were so many "why" questions and not all of them on my much loved friend's shoulders.  I had my own responsibility for what happened, too.  I could have chosen to ignore the barbs posted on social media and suggested we meet up to talk things through like adults, but I didn't.  I was too angry.  Too hurt.  Too busy telling my side of the story to anyone who would listen, because I felt so unfairly portrayed by people I had trusted.  After all, this whole thing had happened in response to me being hurt in the first place and having the audacity to say so.  My gut response to someone saying "you've hurt me" is to apologise and then defend myself, if it's necessary to do so.  I couldn't understand the response to me verbalising my hurt feelings being criticism, anger, accusations of lying and bullying (I have never bullied anyone) and the ditching of me from not just one friend, but several friends' lives.

I needed answers.  I needed them, because I didn't understand how any of this happened.  How so much nastiness arose from a situation that could - should - have gone so differently.

As time went by, the need to understand only got stronger.  We were so close.  I loved my friends like family.  I had always been fiercely loyal to them and I would have done anything for them.  I couldn't compute the idea of them not being in my life anymore, for such a bloody stupid reason.

Almost three months ago, I contacted my two former friends and told them how I felt.  That I didn't believe I had suffered alone, for the last few months; that I knew what happened must have hurt them, too.  That we should have been mature enough to take our argument off social media and talk face to face.  That I was still open to having that discussion, now.  Because, no matter what had happened, I missed them.

Neither responded.

My door will always be open to them.  I'll always want those answers.  I'll always feel an urge to try to sort this whole sorry mess out, because the friendships we had were two of the best I ever had.

But it turns out that the search for closure sometimes leads to a locked door.  So it was, in this case.  I tried knocking, but nobody wanted to answer.

Eventually, I had to come to realise that in this situation, the only form of "closure" I will ever really get, is accepting that my friends are gone and accepting that I will never have the real answers as to why.  I can acknowledge my own role in the argument and see that I was angry and frustrated, but I'll never believe I deserved the hate mail, the constant attacks online or the insistence that this could never be fixed.  And if they won't talk to me about why they think I did deserve those things, then I can't keep banging on that locked door.  All I'll end up with are bloody knuckles.

In time, I will be over this.  I will forget the pain of the ending and simply smile at the memories I have from 14 years of friendship with one person and 8 years with another.  For now, I will remind myself that some doors never open and that all you can do is turn away, knowing you tried your hardest to make things right.

I still want to say so much about this.  I still have so much love for my two friends and I still feel that huge urge to reach out to them.  But I know that there isn't any point in talking to myself.  I have to accept that I can't make this right if they're not interested in doing so.  Sometimes, silence is the only answer you'll ever get and I have to accept that.

Perhaps, for me, that's closure.


  1. Wow. I went through a very similar situation to this several years ago. It was just crushing to think that verbalizing how I felt could lead to such a cold, cruel reaction from someone I thought was my best friend. I also went through the grieving process and it was extremely difficult to move forward. She did try to reach out to me several years later and we did manage to find closure (wishing each other well and feeling ready to move forward from that time in our lives). I am sure that will happen for you as well. But if it doesn't? Know that you did everything you could. You made the effort to reach out to them, express your feelings, and be honest. That in itself is admirable. <3 <3

  2. I'm so sorry you had a similar experience; it really does affect you on such a deep level when this stuff happens. It causes you to question yourself so much. I'm really pleased you found some closure and I remain optimistic that I will, too. Thank you. :) x


Drop me a line!