How Grief Can Help You Heal

Last night, I dreamed a lot, but don’t remember about what.  I assume one had to do with my mother hurting me badly a few months ago, because when I first woke up, I couldn’t get the incident out of my mind for quite a while.  She asked one day if my ex husband ever hit me.  I said he did once, & her response was to tell me she had no idea.  If she would’ve known, she would’ve called a lawyer.  Didn’t ask if I’d been hurt or anything, just kept the focus on her- how she felt about it & what she would’ve done if she had known.  Apparently she doesn’t remember she saw me shortly after, when I looked rough, complete with bruises on my wrists in the shape of his hands where he’d grabbed me.  She also forgot telling my father she couldn’t imagine what I did to make him hurt me like that.  The conversation hurt so badly, I began crying while she was on the phone, which I try never to do.  Thankfully, she didn’t notice because of being so caught up in her narcissistic monologue.

That incident hurt me terribly.  It left me feeling very depressed for quite some time as I grieved the fact my mother doesn’t care enough about me to remember such a traumatic incident in my life.  I couldn’t even think about it sometimes, because I simply couldn’t tolerate that hurt.

Thankfully, when I woke up this morning & was forced to think of this incident (gotta love intrusive thoughts..), I realized something had changed.  My period of grief was done.  While thinking about it made me a bit sad, it was nothing like it once was, & mostly I was angry.  It was a healthy, righteous anger at the unfairness of the situation.  My own mother doesn’t care enough to remember seeing her daughter bruised & injured.  What kind of mother does that?!  The anger empowered me, & this is a good thing, I think.  It will enable me to be stronger when I have to deal with my mother, to enforce my boundaries better  & to tolerate less nonsense from her than I have been.

Grieving is a vital part of healing from abuse.  Releasing the pain & sadness for all you went through can help to bring you to a healthier perspective of your situation.  It clears your head, allowing room for other, healthier thoughts & emotions to come in.  It certainly did exactly this for me in the above mentioned situation.

I think many people are adverse to grieving the abuse they endured, because they think of it as feeling sorry for themselves.  Society places so much value on picking yourself up by your bootstraps & moving on that people want to just do that, while ignoring the process that enables moving on to happen.  Instead, they tend to ignore their pain, stuffing it down & putting on a happy face.  There is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for yourself for a time though!  I think of it as self-compassion, rather than self-pity.  If you would feel bad for a friend who told you her painful story, what is wrong with you feeling that same way regarding yourself & your own painful story?

Grieving is more than feeling self-compassion though.  It is processing what happened which allows you to release the pain.  Maybe all of it or maybe only most of it, but once pain is released you are then able to function better & think more clearly.

Allow yourself to grieve over the painful things you’ve experienced!  Cry about them, get angry about them, say out loud that what happened to you was unfair, cruel & simply wrong.  Do what you need to do to get the pain & sadness out of you- you will be much happier in the long run.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

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