Everyone experiences grief. The world is experiencing it probably more than usual because of the last 2 1/2 years, but grief is experienced for a variety of reasons. It could be simply the loss of normal every day life as you have known it. It can be grieving the loss of a loved one.
There are also many other things and ways that we grieve. Here are a few:
Grieving the loss of what you should’ve had growing up. Whatever that may be. From innocence, safety, unconditional love etc.
Grieving the loss of things that can’t be seen in addition to what I mentioned above, such as time lost in recovery, or the loss of a family member that has died and they were one of your abusers.
The last one is the loss I have felt recently that is difficult for me to explain to others, and has been very much invalidated by others. Once the week after the funeral was gone no one asked me how I was doing dealing with it. Many even felt like I should be happy and more able to move on with my life.
Yet, I still lost the only person that would ever be in the position he was in my life and just because he was an abuser does not mean there were not some good times and good things about him. Even abusers can be good and do good as we are all created by a good God.
There is a trauma equation
Trauma is equal to: powerlessness (ex: you are a child and abused by a provider) + the event or how many events + the intensity of each event + the losses + the duration of the trauma
Divided: by the resources you now have – your personal support + your social support.
If you have a large top portion of the equation such as years of intense trauma and losses and it is divided by a small section or no resources as you get better then the trauma is more difficult and usually longer to overcome.
Based on this when your abuser and bystander are also providers it completely changes things for you as a child and even as an adult. For you to speak up when it is happening means that you fear as a child that no one will provide for you. As an adult it makes it hard to navigate because we’re each only given one family. Just because they make choices that harmed us does not mean there is not a love there because they are the only family we know.
In addition to this, when an abuser dies and there has been no admission or discussion with that person about the abuse, there now is grief over the fact that reconciliation will never be possible because the person is no longer on earth. It leaves somewhat of a void that is difficult to explain.
This can lead to invalidation by others when no one asks how you’re doing and dealing with the loss which is a loss sometimes even greater than if it were a loving and “normal“ relationship.
It also solidifies and brings back all those other losses that have been experienced.
Whereas when someone else loses a beloved family member many follow up with that person and continue letting them know that they are prayed for and thought of during their loss. Because it’s much easier to understand a loving loss than a more complicated one.
I want to encourage you today that if you’ve been invalidated in anyway with your grief or the trauma that you endured, that God does know how you are feeling above all. I don’t want this to sound like a “churchy“ answer, but it is the truth. He wants to hear and listen to your grief, crying, anger, frustrations, over your loss and what you endured, and the invalidation of it.
Take that to Him today, cry out to God, and allow Him to comfort you. Pray for Him to provide others to walk with you and comfort you as well. It will not happen overnight, but I know we serve a God that will provide for ALL of our needs.
© 2022 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.