Dark Closure

I have always been someone who needed closure. I never liked to let things sit in limbo without knowing where I stood with anyone. Certainly, my desire for closure can be annoying. Poking at a fresh wound is ill-advised, and yet I do it. I just need to know. To me, it’s better to know definitively that someone doesn’t like you – whether platonically, romantically, or even professionally – it feels better to know. But that, knowing that someone detests you, is closure, albeit strange and sad.

            Isn’t it wonderful to know? Why labor under delusions and keep a relationship going that you’re not sure is reciprocal? Something seems wrong? Perhaps it is. I know, that’s one of the worst things you can say to an anxious person like myself. Your worries are valid isn’t necessarily comforting. But, when it comes to relationships, it’s always better to know. Spending time with the upkeep of a relationship with someone whom you’re a bit unsure about can be a tremendous waste of time and energy. Closure can bring such clarity. But, I’m here to tell you that all closure, no matter how painful, is good.

            Getting closure about something can lift a weight from your shoulders. Learning why someone did what they did or why things went the way they did is enlightening. However, seeking closure doesn’t always end in mutual agreement. It isn’t always a clean sit-down, understanding, a firm handshake, and a knowing glance. Sometimes, it ends poorly – but that in and of itself is beautiful. There is such beauty in things not going how you planned, even things that go badly. If you go seeking closure, you’ll get it, but it might not be the immediate comfort you expect.

            I want to talk about what I call dark closure. Dark closure, simply put, is closure that manifests itself as a negative – at first. Basically, you either sought closure and learned that the other person or people don’t like you, or, you had an unexpected exchange that ended poorly enough to give definitive proof of a person’s character. There are people who you tolerate for years, knowing all the while that there are irreconcilable differences that, were they to come to light, would end the relationship. So, you keep them quiet, ignoring your instincts for years. But eventually, the curtain comes up and the scenery is nowhere to be found. You’re faced with the naked person, no pretenses, no crutches, just the person at their core – and at that core, there’s darkness. 

Dark closure is just that: you’ve directly confirmed your suspicions about a person, and now you have the closure of knowing you don’t have to speak with that person again. Unfortunately, you were right, and now it’s over. But that’s wonderful, you’ve rid yourself of a sucking darkness you didn’t need.

            I myself recently had some dark closure, which is of course what sparked me to write this. Though I’m painfully honest, there are some things I won’t tell you. I’m not trying to use my writing as a weapon against anyone, some things are private and must stay that way. I’ll tell you what I can without specifics. I was confronted, responded eloquently and succinctly, deflected some darkness, and ended with a terse goodbye. In this conversation I learned just how delusional a person can be, how when determined to do so, someone can deliberately misunderstand something to satisfy their narcissism and need for conflict. I learned just how self-centered a person could be, how someone can abandon rationality altogether. The exchange began with some veiled threats tossed at me and ended with a cruel insult meant to be dismissive of my entire person.

            I chose not to engage in that way, not to be pulled into that immature and worthless darkness. I saw and see no point. It’s a fruitless endeavor to go on the offensive like that. I’ve never been in a physical fight, they’re perhaps the biggest waste of time. The instinct to fight is not one I have. Nor is the instinct to deliberately hurt someone or misunderstand so I could “win” an argument. I’m not one for outrage, it’s something I don’t have the energy for. And so, I found myself in an exchange with someone I had long considered a friend but always had my reservations, and then I felt it all end. I received that low personal insult, responded with a terse acknowledgment of the hurt inflicted and said goodbye. It was over, and I was glad. I was shaken for a bit after that conversation, but that shakiness soon turned into gratitude. I was thankful that the conversation ended as ugly as it did. I didn’t go there, the other person did, and in so doing proved just how dark they could be.

            Don’t be afraid of these conversations, don’t be afraid of dark closure. What eventually happens is you learn exactly the kind of person you’ve been dealing with, and then you have the relief of knowing it’s over, that you don’t need to carry on. In my case, someone exposed their darkness to me without my having to ask. I was blindsided, but then relieved. It was over, that dark chapter was over. It feels good to know what’s in someone’s heart, to see that it’s not all good intentions like they project. We all have darkness, but when someone’s darkness turns outward, it’s fine to be done with it all. It’s fine to learn what someone is and reject it. Dark closure, although sad at first, is actually a great relief. You’ve eliminated something malignant from your world, isn’t that wonderful?

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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