No Closure From a Narcissist? Don’t Worry, You Don’t Need Them to Move on

If you’ve ever had a lucky escape from a narcissist, you know the road to recovery is a long one. And one of the hardest things about it is when they just up and disappear without giving you any closure. 

It’s like, ‘Hey, this relationship no longer suits me – see ya, byeeee!’

Sound familiar? Probably makes you sick in your mouth as well 🤢.

Well don’t worry, I’m here to tell you that closure is bullshit. I mean the concept of another person being in charge of your closure, that’s bullshit.

By the end of this blog, you’re going to have a prescription for getting the closure you need. But without relying on your ex narcissist to do it for you. Cos I know you got this. And who knows, you might even have a laugh along the way too. So keep those peepers peeled and read on!

What does closure mean?

You know when you’ve had a super intense relationship. And you’re desperate to move on, forget about it, push it aside in your mind sort of thing. That’s what closure is all about:

Tying up loose ends and resolving any conflicts or issues.

It’s finding that inner peace and understanding that lets you move forward with your life. Waving goodbye to the past you and saying hello to the future you. And hey, if you can do it with your dignity intact, even better babe.

I don’t know about you but when I normally get dumped, I kinda know why. I may not want it to happen but I get it. I accept it. Then I never see them again, yada yada yada. The usual stuff. 

So you can imagine my surprise when my ex dumped me the day before our holiday to Bali. Was not expecting that one. 

I aimlessly walked about, numb for days. Fucking confused really. When I saw him he had this great speech prepared too. Vague and blameful were his words. Lacking closure for our whirlwind romance.

But that’s typical of a narcissistic break up: they’ll rip your heart out and make you wonder what you did wrong. It’s a dumping with no resolution. It’s no closure.

Closure won’t fall into your lap either. And you can’t go looking for it from your ex partner. But you can decide to give it to yourself and I’ll tell you how.

Tips for giving yourself closure

Stop chasing the narcissist to give you closure

So you’re trying to move on from a narcissist and you’re hoping for some closure. But it’s not happening. Trust me, I get it. You’re thinking:

‘Maybe if I reach out one last time, they’ll give me what I need’.

But pestering them to have that last conversation with you, only results in their needs being met – not yours.

You see, they crave that attention from you – they want you affected. In fact, they’re hoping you’ll cling to them forever, even when they don’t want you. It’s a game of control that they always want to win at. 

Remember, it’s how things were in your relationship too: 

You jumping through hoops meeting their needs and ignoring yourself in the process. 

And if your needs were never met before, then why the hell would you think that’s suddenly changed now? Personalities don’t just change one day, we are who we are. Like me, I’ll always be introverted at heart.

I’m afraid narcissists don’t play by the rules. Period. And while it might be tempting to try and force them to give you closure, it won’t be worth it. Your mental health is not worth the sacrifice.

Don’t expect an apology

If you’re honest with yourself, what you’re yearning for is an apology from them. A sorry for wasting your time, type thing. You want validation that your relationship was real and that you’re not the only one hurting. Essentially, you want some form of justice for the pain you’re feeling.

But that’s an unrealistic expectation to have. You’re wasting your time chasing that pipe dream. Because at the end of the day, a narcissist doesn’t think they owe you an apology. The thought doesn’t even crossed their mind.

Reflect back to your break up: did they take accountability? Or did they blame you for everything? 

Chances are that it was the latter.

My ex was no different. I was the one making him unhappy and I was holding him back. He had me convinced that I was the problem. So if the ending of your relationship was anything like mine, that’s a sign you need to give yourself closure.

Acceptance is key to healing

Like the 5 stages of grief, acceptance is a vital part of moving forward. You’re basically working towards accepting them for who they are. And not who you wanted them to be. It’s accepting the reality of what a relationship with a narcissist means: utter chaos.

I’m not saying it’ll be easy. It’s damn hard accepting the truth of who they really are. I know, cos I’ve been there too. It’s sickening to realise that the struggles of your relationship were the cause of abuse. But, acknowledging how awful it was, opens the door to the new you.

It’s time to accept that closure is your responsibility and you don’t need them to move on with your life. Don’t worry, it’s not like you’re going to be stuck in this limbo forever. It may take some time, but eventually you’ll be able to find peace and let go of all the pain. 

In the meantime, reach out to us when you’re struggling. Find ways to take care of yourself and fulfil your needs instead of chasing answers you’ll never get. And hey, if all else fails, there’s always the power of a good vent and vino session with your girlfriends.

Look at your toxic relationship as a tool for growth

When you’ve accepted your circumstances, it’s time to start taking proper care of yourself again. You’ve neglected yourself for far too long that you won’t even recognise who you are anymore. 

Narcissists rob you of everything you are and then leave you to pick up the pieces. So, you’ll never be the same again. But that isn’t a bad thing. Because you’ll become this wise bitch who knows better. 

If we don’t make mistakes, then we can’t learn from them. And as the amazing Elizabeth Day says:

“Understanding why we fail, ultimately makes us stronger. Because learning how to fail in life, actually means learning how to succeed better”.

Every time I hear that quote in her podcast introductions, it hits me right in the feels. I’ve never heard anything truer. My last relationship was my biggest failure in life thus far. But it was also my biggest lesson.

Of course, I can say that now because I’m healed from it. But when you’re in the midst of it all, it definitely feels like your whole world has collapsed. It’s a struggle to pick yourself up and start again. But it’s also an opportunity to fix the flaws that made you vulnerable to the narcissist.

You’re searching for the answers to your pain, so you can help fix them. And bit by bit, you’ll begin rebuilding yourself. You’ll relearn who you are and who you want to be.

Having a toxic relationship makes you reflect a lot and look inwards. After all, you don’t have the narcissist to lean on because you can’t return to the source who harmed you, to help heal you.

So, you’re on your own honey!

Especially, if your friends don’t get it. And they never will if they haven’t experienced a narcissistic relationship before. But what a great time to be single and selfish.

Look after number 1️⃣

That’s how I took it to be. I called it my single and selfish year. I began doing only the things I wanted and said no to the things I didn’t. If it wasn’t a fuck yes, it was a no – thanks Mark Manson for that one.

You’re in charge of your healing and growth so you get to determine how that goes and what it looks like. So what feeds your soul? What do you like to do when you feel like shit?!

Find a goal to work towards

If you’re anything like me, you need some kind of goal to work towards, a focus.

Mine was to be able to do a chin up! I was regaining my strength after breaking my elbow and I thought that was a suitable aim to have. So I was mending my broken heart, whilst also mending my fractured radial head. But before I woke up and had time to cry, I went straight for the weights.

It was almost like a delayed distraction. Because when I was lifting weights, I didn’t have time to think about my sadness. It brought me into the present moment if you like. And before I knew it, my brain was releasing them feel-good endorphins. So, it encouraged my day to have a positive start rather than contemplating my break up.

Take action – don’t wait for motivation to come

Sometimes relying on your feelings to take the right action won’t get you anywhere – especially when you’re depressed. So, when I would wake up – and exercise was the last thing I wanted to do – to combat that resistance, I did the following 2 things:

  1. I reaffirmed my identity as someone who values being happy and healthy. Because the choice to train is either going to reinforce that belief or detract away from it. And…
  2. I would break the action into bite-sizeable chunks to make the act of training feel less daunting. So, I would only concentrate on the right now, which was: 
    • get out of bed, 
    • put my gym gear on, 
    • pick a banging playlist, and then 
    • head to the garage where my weights were. Simple.

All I had to do was start, and then I’d gain the momentum I needed. Before I knew it, I was warming up with Queen B blasting in my ears as my mindset was changing. Things didn’t seem so bad anymore.

So, don’t wait around for motivation to hit you, because you’ll be waiting a while. Instead, use the above to help you take the action you want to do even when you don’t feel like it.

I know it kind of sounds silly. But you’re essentially shifting the pain into something more helpful. And if weights isn’t your thing, you can do that with lots of other activities. How about going for a dip? A walk? A run? Or seeing friends for a coffee?

Whatever it is, break it down into basic, doable actions so the task itself doesn’t seem so intimidating.

The power of breath work

Now, for breathing. Did you know, that traumatic experiences can result in changing your whole physiology? Like, you might be enhancing your stress further just because you’re not breathing properly.

So I was fortunate enough to take The Breath Effect’s course which changed everything for me. I was about 2 years into my recovery when I learnt about the importance of breathing. And boy did I wish I’d known about this sooner! 

I took Emma’s course and it propelled me into a calmer way of living. I’m not going to lie, at first I found it nearly impossible to do her breathing exercises (that’s very normal if you’ve been living in a stressful state for some time). But I stuck with it and followed her program. I put the effort in to complete all the tasks and it transformed me by the end of it.

Not only did it reset me to a calmer state. But it gave me the tools to carry with me through life whenever I face stressful situations. Perhaps you’re like me, ignorant that your everyday breathing is causing you further stress. So give this breathing exercise a go and see how you feel:

Chillax breathing 😮‍💨

Inhale for 3 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds and pause for 1. Repeat for 1 minute. 

How was that for you?

I was honestly gasping for air the first few times. I thought “how is this supposed to relax me?” But I do it with ease now and it calms me instantly. And that’s only a snippet of what I learned. If you want to know more about her life changing course, then have a wee browse here.

Meditate 🧘🏼

Another thing Emma’s course kickstarted in me was meditation. I’d never given it a proper crack before, but heard so many people rave about it. After her course, I carried on with meditating daily. I challenged myself to stick with it for a year – which I almost did (I think I did 10 months in total). 

You don’t have to be sat there for hours like a peaceful monk! It’s like anything you do: start small and build on it. You won’t be great straight away and your mind will feel at its busiest the moment you decide to sit still and breathe for a couple of minutes. But that’s what you’re practicing: quietening the noise and sitting through the stillness.

I never felt more balanced and zen like. It helped me continue the practice of breathing and reset my nervous system. It changed me for the better, whilst having a profound effect on my healing.

Try it for like 30 Seconds

Meditation is one of those things that you don’t realise is benefitting you until you stop doing it. So what are you waiting for? 

Give yourself a minute to just stop and breathe. And then do it again the next day and the day after that. Before you know it you’ll be a full on meditator, raving about it to someone else – like me!

Set boundaries and let go

Ahh, the dreaded B word:


Something all of us – who’ve experienced narcissistic relationships – didn’t have. That’s why narcissists love us so much! We throw our boundaries out the window as soon as they’re tested.

But babe, it’s really not your fault. It happens to so many of us. I was a pretty confident took-no-shit-kinda-gal before my ex. That was probably the appeal: I was a challenge for him to knock down.

After the mess of being with a narcissist, you’re often left drained and confused. And when you’re rebuilding yourself, part of that journey includes learning about your boundaries. They’re crucial because they’re there to protect your needs and keep you safe. 

Setting boundaries is a form of self-respect; what you will and will not tolerate from a person. They define your limits so that you can maintain healthy and authentic relationships. 

I’m sure you can remember times with your narc where you tried to instil them. So it wasn’t that you didn’t have them. They were just better at bulldozing them down then you were at keeping them up.

Write down your boundaries

The thing with boundaries is you’re not taught to be aware of them until not having them becomes a problem for you.

So, what I suggest is making a list of all your non negotiable boundaries. Get into the habit of understanding your wants and needs. That way you’re clear on what matters to you the most before heading into your next relo.

No contact is a boundary

Your first and most important boundary that you need to set has to be with your narcissist. If you can cut all contact with them, perfect. 

But if you have to maintain some form of relationship with them (because of kids), then you need to do it in a way that honours your well-being. You need to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. And disrupt the narcissist’s pattern of behaviour from effecting you.

So set limits on communication; such as only through email or text message. Maybe you could even have a separate phone number for them (thanks Jo for that tip). Or only communicating at certain times of the day. All are solid boundaries needed for narcissists.

Closure with a narcissist will look different

Another thing to remember is closure with a narcissist will not look the same as a ‘normal’ break up. It won’t be thoughtful goodbye speeches wishing the other all the best. Because narcissists don’t have empathy. They’re incapable of giving you the healthy ending you deserve. So holding on to that hope is just going to keep you stuck in the past.

So let go of your traditional sense of closure. And get comfortable with one that focuses on self-care and personal growth instead. 

Do things that bring you joy, talk to a therapist, write in a journal, or reach out to a support group (*hint* Sallt Sisters). And don’t forget to give yourself some compassion and forgiveness for getting caught up in it all. 

It’s normal to have feelings of confusion and hurt after interacting with a narcissist. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

No closure from a narcissist? 


Can you still move on?

Hells yeah!

Healing’s totally possible – even in the face of this challenging situation. Just follow these steps: 

  1. Accept your circumstances,
  2. Focus on your needs, and 
  3. Start setting mother fucking boundaries!

It won’t be easy and it will take however long it takes. But by taking things a day at a time and being kind to yourself, you’ll navigate this tough experience – pinky swear. 

Take back your power by taking responsibility for how you move forward.

I’m so excited for the new badass you!

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