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How to Move On When You’re Hurt and Waiting for Closure

Man Thinking

“Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Ah, closure. That feeling of vindication, or a sense of completion—it can be very enticing!

There are times when seeking resolution is really important. If we are having an argument with our partner, settling it can help strengthen our relationship. If we are having a disagreement over a contract, determining the outcome may be required to continue with the project at hand.

In these types of situations, seeking resolution is very relevant.

That said, there are loads of situations that occur in life in which we seek closure, even though it does not really serve us. As a matter of fact, this desire can hold us back.

When we feel we’ve been done wrong, we want resolution. The size or type of infraction may not matter. We want to know who is guilty of the offense, or, if we know who the culprit is, we want to know why they did it.

Heres the catch: It’s pretty common to feel like this resolution is necessary to move forward.

Many moons ago I was in a relationship with a man who turned out to be quite unsavory. Unbeknownst to me, he had gone through my wallet, made note of my credit card info, and was using two of my cards to finance what I can only describe as a shopping addiction.

I was not using the cards at all, so was not expecting to see bills, and since he consistently arrived home before I did, he was able to get the bills from the mailbox before I ever saw them.

I did not learn of his deception until we broke up for other reasons.

Besides dealing with typical break-up emotions, I also had to face the reality of this man’s ability to lie to me and steal from me. Yes, the relationship went south, but I thought wed had love and respect between us, and, well, enough integrity to not commit crimes against one another.

I wanted him to account for his behavior; I wanted an apology; I wanted him to explain to me how he could have behaved in such a despicable manner toward anyone, much less me, his girlfriend (at the time).

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get any of that.

I was rocked by this for quite some time. It took me months to realize that the reason I wasn’t getting over it was because I was still waiting for him to explain, apologize, or something. I realized that if I wanted to let it go, I was also going to have to let go of my desire for him to admit he was a mega jerk.

We want to feel in the right. We want it to be recognized that we were done wrong. If possible, we want an admission of guilt.

However, in looking for this type of closure, we are often giving away our power. We’re saying, “I cannot move past this experience until…”

What we actually desire is an internal, emotional shift. We want to feel better!

We already know we can’t expect the outside world to take care of our feelings. Let’s apply that knowledge to resolution as well.

Here’s how I got over the thieving boyfriend situation, and it’s a formula I continue to remind myself of whenever I begin to feel like I can’t move past an experience until satisfaction is mine.

Acknowledge that something crappy happened.

Yes, it totally sucks when a formerly good friend stops returning our calls and texts. And, it can be life-altering when we are let go from a job, despite receiving positive feedback on our performance review.

It’s important not to pretend. Sometimes we rush past the feelings that are present in an attempt to appear uncaring (unhurt, really), or like we have it handled. Getting back on the horse is great and all, but let’s first acknowledge that it hurt when we were knocked off!

Having feelings doesn’t make us less able to handle tough stuff, or to come up with great solutions. It just means we’re human.

Identify all the feelings you do have.

If the situation is minor, it may be one or two feelings. For more intense events, it can take a while to pinpoint all of them.

This is essential, because identification and recognition go hand-in-hand. In doing this, we’re accepting that we are feeling these emotions. This sort of self-acknowledgment is crucial.

By the way, we’re the only ones who get to decide what is major, or minor, for us. We’re all unique, and we’ve all had different experiences that have helped mold who we are. Something that is minor for one may be major for another, and vice versa. That’s okay.

The point is not to compare the experience we are having to how others would react; it’s to self-process and move forward.

Release the need for outside mediation of any sort.

This is not about forgiveness. It’s not about taking the high road, either. Those options both involve the other person. This is about us, and what we want.

It is simply about asserting that we can move forward regardless of what is happening (or what doesn’t happen) in the outside world. We can use affirmations, or meditation, or whatever tools work for us for energy release.

When we are looking for resolution from the outside world, we are also seeking acknowledgement. Learning to self-acknowledge is a wonderful gift to give ourselves.

Whether you use the tips above, or another recipe that works for you, let’s choose to move forward. We are the one who will benefit, and we’re the only ones who will suffer if we don’t.

Photo by Shuberth

Avatar of Maria Moraca

About Maria Moraca

Maria Moraca is a conscious integrated channeler. She and Zurac (her “entity dude”) work in tandem; Maria encourages empowerment and Zurac offers insight and clarification to life path questions. Her website and blog are at mariachanneling.com.

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  • Tim

    Excellent advice! Very helpful.

  • Manish

    I agree that it is important not to pretend. If one is hurt, then one needs to observe it and understand it totally rather than pretend that one is not hurt or just does not give a damn. Being inauthentic to one’s feelings and emotions is the worst thing one can do to oneself – Meevolving.com

  • Amy

    Brilliant article that I needed to read right now whilst going through a break up.

  • RadioBabe

    How do you move on when that person is still part of your life, because of shared children? I’m finding that I’m more angry than I thought, about his lying and cheating during most of our 24 year marriage. It would be easier if I never had to see or hear from him again.

  • lomorising

    I think lots of this is very good advice, but it seems to be based on moving on from negative situations, looking for forgiveness for having being wronged or wanting resolution. But I wonder if the same can apply for, say, unrequited love? How do you move on from what can be one of the most intense forms of hurt to deal with? Is it the same principal for moving on from loss/grief? I would love to come to some sort of resolution on these! Thank you for thought provoking article :)

  • jodi

    A terrific and insightful article. This was also extremely timely for me. I cannot control how other people treat me; but I can manage my emotions and stop giving my power away. Thank you.

  • Fiona

    Really insightful, compassionate, and empowering advice. Thank you so much.

  • BrazlnQT

    Basically: acknowledge, accept, forgive, surrender.

  • Gary

    There’s a big step in moving on that is left out here, the question, “Why did I create this situation?” We can’t really move on until we have learned what Is causing our disturbance. I create disturbing situations (however unconsciously) to wake up to what I must learn. We are emergent beings. Often we emerge through understanding the trouble we are creating in our lives. Moving on before we have learned something important about our own thinking, feelings, and behavior guarantee that this trouble will return–almost always worse than before.

  • nizhonichica2005 .

    When does the feelings stop? I am sick and tired of crying, hurting and talking about what happened to me and my son. I just want the feelings to turn off. I got scammed by marriage fraud from my immigrant husband. He received his green card and no longer needs me or my son anymore which broke me apart. Now immigration telling me there is nothing they can do even if proven fraud. However I am still going to push this to the furthest extent of the law and I am financial responsible for him even after a divorce for 10 years. I am mostly mad at myself for not protect my child and I and being this stupid to not see all the red flags or listen to anyone telling me this is a set up. I feel that my child and I are being punished while he walks with everything.

  • Ann Neris

    It is simply about asserting that we can move forward regardless of what is happening (or what doesn’t happen) in the outside world.  Those where key words for me, they are helping me heal. Thanks!

  • Mariachanneling

    So true, and again, we only hurt ourselves when pretending!

  • Mariachanneling

    You’re welcome, I’m glad you like it! Enjoy your power ;-)

  • oneworld

    Great article, Maria! I enjoyed it.

  • Mariachanneling

    This is a great question! While I’m not sure this is an ideal formula for unrequited love, one could try the first 2 steps to help with identifying and acknowledging the emotions, and then move on to whatever release process works for them. Unrequited love is tough to talk about with details, but as a general idea I think these steps can be helpful. Thanks :-)

  • Mariachanneling

    You’re very welcome!

  • Mariachanneling

    I’m glad that line resonated with you Ann – thanks for taking your time to comment!

  • Mariachanneling

    Thanks for your comment Amy; wishing you the best right now.

  • SinL

    Ok, this is not a tinybuddha type of thing to say, but I think it when I read these sorts of things so I was hoping some of you could help with my logics. After a violent relationship I had the problem of wanting to get closure. I obviously didn’t get answers from him because god knows there aren’t any. People are messed up because they are messed up. Tracing it isn’t impossible if you are a good geneticist or geneaologist or anthropologist or psychoanalyst but it’s usually not worth the effort. However you know what helped me get rid of the rage quicker? Vengeance. Writing it all down, distributing it amongst our mutuals. Not dignified, but I am beyond caring about appearances or identity. It all shifts endlessly anyway. So yes, let go. But what if vengeance is part of that? If I had to realise he was human, I had to realise I was too.

  • Mariachanneling

    I think that’s a wonderful question to ask ourselves, it’s another version of, “what can I take from this situation that will benefit me?” Thanks for commenting!

  • Mariachanneling

    Thanks Tim!

  • Mariachanneling

    Thanks so much!

  • SinL

    I did this for so long, it spiralled into self-blame. It made things worse.

  • SinL

    I am so sorry! Sending you love.

  • Mariachanneling

    That is a difficult thing to experience RadioBabe. I do think the same steps apply, though. It is possible you won’t receive any sort of apology, etc from this person, so releasing the need for that is important. I wish you the best in moving forward, take good care of you!

  • SinL

    “It is simply about asserting that we can move forward regardless of what is happening (or what doesn’t happen) in the outside world.”

  • Mariachanneling

    Let’s put it on a t-shirt! ;-)

  • Mariachanneling

    I am so sorry this happened! If I may, it sounds like some self-forgiveness is in order. I understand it might be really difficult to stop beating yourself up but that’s what will help you move forward and step out of the emotions you have about this. I think I can safely say everyone who reads your comment will be sending you some love! Cherish yourself and your son.

  • nizhonichica2005 .

    Thank you it is much needed for my son and i

  • Chantal

    Great article, really great and what I really needed to read. Thank you x x

  • petillante

    This article really hit home for me because I am currently in a situation where I find myself saying, “I cannot move past this experience until…” The problem is that I feel like closure will eventually happen, even though it’s taking a long time. It’s hard to explain without details. But this article is a very good reminder that if I choose to, I can walk away anytime, and I’ll be okay. Thank you.

  • Sheri Nevill-Carbin

    I think your way of stating this is much more positive than “Why did I create this situation?” because it does eliminate the self-blame element. Sometimes people do have a hand in creating their situations, but sometimes they don’t. Looking for the benefit is more like a “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” approach.

  • Mariachanneling

    Thanks for taking time to comment Chantal!

  • Mariachanneling

    You’re welcome, I’m glad the timing was right for you. Take care…

  • Sheri Nevill-Carbin

    This isn’t always a positive way of looking at this, in my opinion. Yes, there are times when we have a hand in creating the things that go wrong in life. I can see, for instance, that there were times when I ended up in a bad situation because I didn’t speak up for myself or because I felt I didn’t deserve better. There are other times, however, when it wasn’t a situation that I created. When my husband died of melanoma. it wasn’t because I created the situation. I suppose one could argue that I could have tried to talk him in to going to the doctor for a full body check at some point, but there were no symptoms to prompt it. I wish now that I had known how many risk factors he had, but I didn’t, and even if I had known I don’t think I would have managed to get him to go to a doctor because he wouldn’t go about his back pain despite my best efforts. (He did go as soon as he found a lump in his groin, though, and that turned out to be the first symptom he had of melanoma.) Taking on any responsibility for the disease that took his life would not only be inaccurate, but it would also be incredibly guilt producing and wouldn’t in any way help me to move forward in my life. Also, even if anyone can find a way to say that I had any part in creating this situation, I assure you they can’t find a way that our daughter, only 5 years old at the time, had a part in creating the death of her father and her subsequent grief. Sometimes bad things really do just happen and the best we can do is find a way to keep going.

  • Andy Warstar

    If something is beyond your control, let it go. The chapter is closed. Move on to other things.

  • anitaaa

    I got a similar experience, I met a man on online dating site, we got lots of topics to chat everyday, we had very happy moments. Then he told me he got some problem with the bank, unable to get his money for the time being, but his company had urgent financial need, I sent a great amount of money to him for many times, finally, I figured out that he is a scammer. I didn’t ask for any explain nor write him any emails, as I think that he will contact him if he really wants to give me an explanation, on the contrary, if I ask him for an answer, this will not be a true answer.
    I can say that the belief of buddhism helped me overcome this tragic experience, I was even surprised to my peacefulness during that time, as the amount of money was really great, which was 10 years of monthly salary, however, only 2 months, i found myself totally relieved from that experience.
    On the other side, I did cherish the chatting time I had with that guy, through our daily conversation, I learned from him : No good thing comes easy, Patience and Determination are the keys to success, I mix this concepts into my daily life, which are very helpful especially carrying out tough duties.
    Well, since the money can never be able to retrieved, I would see it as a kind of tuition fee for the concepts learned.

  • MamaT

    I was in an 8 year relationship. I never once though he would turn on me and out of the blue in a matter of months have an affair w/ co workers (and many of them at one time) and become the Don Juan of my town. It’s been over 6 months now and though I am still struggling, I am having a hard time to pin point what emotions to feel first and how to cope. I do however find myself not missing him but missing the life I had. IE, the apartment, traveling, independence. Now I am 28, living at home w/ my parents and my freedom ceased, my life feeling ceased. I can relate to what you have gone through. I do feel betrayal, anger, sadness ect but I am still struggling to “move forward”. Your statement of, “…let’s choose to move forward. We are the one who will benefit, and we’re the only ones who will suffer if we don’t.”, was very profound to me.

  • http://www.danubelle.com/ laleh

    I thought i was past what happened to me last sprint, but when I read this I burst into tears. I was dating a guy that was perfect, everything i had ever wanted and had put on my vision board. But there was something unsettling about him which I was always wondering.. Then all of a sudden as soon as I started to get attached to him he disappeared. I don’t know why this one ( I have had way more serious and longer relationships in the past) but this one basically crashed my whole world down. I basically lost my confidence and self worth. I realized after a while the crushing feeling was the fact that the man of my dreams didn’t think I was worthy, I am not good enough for a person like that. Not just him but a man like that. And the fact that he disappeared with no explanation, I didn’t even deserve a good bye. I know in my brain all the good reasons not to want him still, but I still after almost 9 month, when I meet someone I compare them to him. The fact that I still want him and I still feel like I lost something … Remember; I KNOW all the reasons that I should know. But I have realized its all has to come from the heart, the brain wont do it. All the reasons in the world wont help you let go. The heart has to want it and surrender. I have surrendered my heart, because basically accepting that this is what it is and it could not have been any different. And I a just sad about that. Sad.. And since I am a very capricorn earth bound practical person I know that until I meet someone that I like more and i feel is better for me, I can’t get over what was there and was never mine.. I wish this was not the case. I have prayed every time i remembered him ( which is not all the time, just once a while) but I have prayed to let me not want him and get over it. I think I am over HIM but I want a guy like that. I still see someone look like him and my heart drops.. I know it has always been hard for me to get over guys, but this one just chopped me in pieces. I know my right guy is waiting for me to be ready and I want to be ready for him.

  • http://www.danubelle.com/ laleh

    Someone told me something good when I was hurting so much when this guy left me; You can not control someone else’s action or reaction, and it is not your responsibility what they have done or doing. You are only responsible for your own, the fact that he did this it was HIS decision not yours, and if you knew better you would have done better as Mia Angelo says.
    Love

  • Angry ! dont know why

    Great article and unfortunately perfect timing, for she cheated on me 9 months ago. I started with tiny budhdha and started to heal myself, however, somewhere in the middle i ended up pretending to be fine (the constant ” be a man , move on” reminders) but of lately with her bday and Valentines day coming up, the emotions are swirling up again, i meditate, but the hate, just this hate consumes me. I never thought I could hate someone so much, let alone her, and this after i try to tell myself i have the choice to let go and not feel it. I wish to email her with this, really tell her what i think of her cheating and lying ( the truth she never fess’ed up to), but I stopped, now I m waiting to tell her this if she contacts me (my ” i ll get closure if.. moment) I just hope this gets better, 9 months for a 3 yr relationship seems too long. Thanks for your writings, prevented me from something stupid :)

  • Farhan Wahab

    Thanks for this great article. I was having a bad day earlier because of money issues, and it involves my good friend. Before this, I had troubles trying to move on because of a short travel rendezvous which I’ve been keeping for too long (2 years). After reading this article, it was like the final closure for me. At the end of the day you have to tell yourself that you created the situation, and you need to put a closure to it. The question is, how? By acknowledging the emotions you’ve had, I learn that it’s best to just move on. And you’re right, “Whether you use the tips above, or another recipe that works for you, let’s choose to move forward. We are the one who will benefit, and we’re the only ones who will suffer if we don’t.”

    Thanks again for this wonderful article. I feel great after reading this!

  • Mariachanneling

    So glad it spoke to you, best wishes!

  • nizhonichica2005 .

    Thank you so much! I been going to therapy and its unbelievable that Tiny Buddha forum has helped immensely. Also all the comments of other people struggling and their thoughts has helped me. I am still trying to let go of the hurt and anger toward myself. Thank you for your message and support.

  • nizhonichica2005 .

    Thank you for your support and words. Your right I am going to have to let go and cant blame myself for being blinded to someone who had a plan all along. I swear my life is a lifetime movie.

  • http://www.joyattheheart.com/ Lucy Charms

    One of the ways I’ve done this (because I’ve been in more than one unrequited love situation and am in one now), is to focus on the love you have for the person and not the desire you have for them to love you back. Real love is not requited or unrequited, real love just ‘is’. Nothing has to be done about it.

    I feel profound love right now for someone who doesn’t want to be my partner. But eventually, after much suffering, I was able to come to terms with the fact that love doesn’t demand action.

    It’s when we decide something needs to be done about it (I need to be with this person I love in this particular way; I need this person to feel these things for me) that things can start to hurt. It’s Ok to love someone and not have them in your life or be their partner or whatever. In fact, that’s not even unusual.

    So for me, I’ve found comfort in knowing that the most loving thing I can do for someone for whom I feel love feelings and who doesn’t feel the same way is to give them the space to be who they are, for them to pursue their own happiness, even when it makes them happier to not have me in their life in the way i would like to be.

    The disappointment and pain we feel is about us, not about them.

    Sometimes it helps, for me, to say to them (in my head) “I let you go with with love”.

    The great thing is, once we can come to the place of understanding this fact about love, we’re free to love who we love. I love this man and nothing will make me stop loving him, and there’s no pressure I feel to have him feel or act differently. It’s freeing.

    And I’m also free now to pursue other love relationships, which will feel different, but that’s OK.

  • http://www.joyattheheart.com/ Lucy Charms

    Yeah, the hate/rage for someone who betrayed you can be really overpowering, I know how it is. I suspect betrayals like that are much harder to get over than just ‘regular’ breakups. I hope you can work through it to focus on the good things in your life, because intense anger does more to hurt you than it ever will to hurt her. But I do understand the “need” to act out and tell the other person how much you’re hurting. I’ve written a LOT of e-mails to various exes in my life, a lot of them I didn’t send. You might try that. Or even a therapist or counselor might be able to help. I’m a huge fan of therapy for that kind of situation. I have someone “on call” that I make an appointment with when things get really dark for me. Good luck and quick healing!

  • amb12

    I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this right now. Thank you.

  • TinyYellowFlower

    Hi laleh,

    I understand you completely, especially THIS:

    “Remember; I KNOW all the reasons that I should know. But I have realized its all has to come from the heart, the brain wont do it. All the reasons in the world wont help you let go. The heart has to want it and surrender.”

    This x100.

    This is something I read online recently (google the words to find the full article):

    “romance isn’t the only thing that stimulates increases in dopamine and its rocketlike path through your reward system. Nicotine and cocaine follow exactly the same pattern: Try it, dopamine is released, it feels good, and you want more—you are in a “goal-oriented motivational state.” Take this to its logical conclusion and, as far as brain wiring is concerned, when you’re in love, it’s not as if you’re an addict. You are an addict.”

    This is truly how I feel. No amount of telling myself something different is going to change this.

    So when I read your words, like “I can’t get over what was there and was never mine” I totally agree with you. I literally feel ill about it. I don’t know what to do.

    From the same article:

    “one scientist I interviewed describes what happens in our breakup brains in a slightly different way. “In the case of a lost love,” he told me, “if the relationship went on for a long time, the grieving person has thousands of neural circuits devoted to the lost person, and each of these has to be brought up and reconstructed to take into account the person’s absence.””

    :(

  • Craig

    I lost touch with a really close friend last year. After asking if we could talk about something, without explanation she completely ignored me. At first I tried to act like it wasn’t affecting me when in fact it hurt like hell. My emotions over flowed and I sent her a rather erratic email. It was my frustration coming out and therefore not very grounded. She replied saying she would get back to me and that was the last I heard from her which was more than two months ago. I feel weak and less of a man because I’ve let this affect me so much. I’ve been seeking closure but there is no reason to believe it’s going to happen. I’m feeling better about moving on now but there is still that pang of frustration every now and again especially as I think it was just mis-communication and something that could have probably been avoided.

  • Melliefly

    What a wonderful post! I think a lot of us are guilty of waiting for that apology. I know I am! I found to use what I know best to release that energy…write, write, write. I think what happens, too, is we take it so personal. As if we personally had the power to ward off such hurtful tendencies. Or we did something to encourage such things to happen to us. We’re not bullet proof. We can’t be accountable for anyone except ourself. No one is going to love us more then ourself. Not worth expending that energy on someone who clearly didn’t care enough in the first place. All we can do is send good vibes, and forgive- not for their benefit but for our own health.

  • LoveLess

    This is so hard for me to let go of… 5 years is a long time n I feel like I’ll never meet anyone n be comfortable as much as I am with my ex… It’s so hard.. It hurts I thought I was strong.

  • Chameleon

    Craig, I’min exactly the same position, and I know how it feels. I’ve spent a lot of mental energy trying to figure out why my friend suddenly disappeared, and get no response. I ALSO sent an erratic e-mail, as well as a compassionate one asking for understanding (I sent that one first) and have received nothing. What I came to is this: as much as I love this person, and know the beauty in them, they have made a decision that has to do with what lifestyle they want, and excluded me from it. I know I was a good friend — even with my faults. I can’t change what they chose. I also can’t change that it’s heartbreaking to be abandoned by a friend, but that becomes less with time. I think the best thing to do is invest more in OTHER friendships, with people who want to walk through this life with you.
    Hope that helps.

  • Craig

    I think you’re right. We can’t control what other people decide to do and we have to respect that even though it’s not what we would have chosen and even though it still hurts. Seeing the beauty in the other person despite the situation takes true strength and I commend you for that.
    Thanks for your response. It helps a lot.

  • mac

    I totally agree with your comment…
    Each time you don’t learn your lesson it does always return and will again and again until you learn…
    Have awareness, know yourself…
    Love yourself…

  • J28

    I’ve been with this guy and he was my first love. We were 9 months together and we were so happy and he haven’t had any big arguments. But then one day he just wanted to call it off and said that his father does not agree with our relationship. I said no let’s fix this together but he refuses. He insisted on breaking up and so he did. After that he doesn’t talk to me anymore. Doesn’t send text messages, doesn’t call, doesn’t even chat with me on facebook. It really hurts when it was so sudden. Yesterday we were so happy and contended then the other day it was like, gone! I cry everyday, every hour, hoping that he’d come back to me and the guilt of having no acceptable reason for breaking me up is killing me. I miss his eyes, his voice, his hugs and kisses. Everything about him. I just don’t know what to do. Every place I go, everything I do, there’s always something that reminds me of him. Most of the times I think of him and sometimes I tend to pull myself out of the memories of him, but then there’s this particular painful feeling in my heart that just won’t listen. Someone please tell me what to do. :’( :’(