Abuse-Grief or Grieving the Loss of Innocence
Abuse-grief or grieving your loss of innocence is common with sexual abuse survivors.
When you are abused as a child, whether you know it or not, your innocence is stolen away from you. A piece of your childhood is gone. The innocence that your were entitled to is no longer yours to have. It is only natural that you would feel the loss from that.
I am a person who knows grief only too well! I lost my father to suicide when I was five years old. My best friend died in a car accident when I was in 3rd grade and my most difficult loss I believe was when my 17 year old brother was tragically killed in a car accident when I was 14 years old!
I know that grief can take on many forms.
I also know that from my sexual abuse, I grieved the loss of my innocence.
Kubler-Ross talks about the five stages of grief but I have expanded a bit on them:
Basically, you have Shock which also includes Immobilization. This leads to Denial then Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally, Acceptance which enables you to move forward in your life.
Some cultures repress or don't talk about their grieving or "get stuck" in denial for example.
Some people get stuck in Anger. I am sure you know someone who has done this! We as survivors of abuse are prone to get stuck in one or more of these stages.
The thing about grief is that there is an order of the stages but that does not necessarily mean that you are going to follow that order!
You can go back and forth, get stuck in one or more areas, go back and forth again and sometimes Never move forward! It is entirely up to you! You can consciously or subconscoiously make this choice.
Being sexually abused as a child is feeling a loss of "what could have been" sometimes.
I know that I, many times, wonder what kind of person I might have been if I never would have been abused! I certainly would not have some of the neurotic behaviors that I do now! Does it mean that I wouldn't have "Issues?" Probably not! No one is perfect, we all have our own issues, but I know that I would probably feel different about my self esteem for one, and I am sure that you feel the same.
Abuse-grief or grieving is a normal process! If you have NOT grieved, then I would say that it is something that you probably need to do at some point.
You might want to ask yourself if you have truly "let go" and accepted the loss of your innocence or your childhood if you were abused as a child.
Is it easy? Absolutely Not! Grieving Hurts! That is why so many people avoid it and get stuck in denial!
The problem with this is that the pain is still inside of you under the surface. I look at it as a boil, festering in your soul. Sounds ugly, right? That is what pain looks like to ME. It may look completely different to you.
What I do know is that if you never deal with it, you might never be able to be fully happy or at peace with yourself.
What does "Deal with it" mean?
It means going through the grief process. This may take seeing a counselor, talking with someone you know and trust, getting involved with your art therapy, praying, going to church, talking with your husband or partner, going to a support group...whatever feels right to you.
You don't have to do it all at once either. Abuse-grief can take as long as you need. Each individual is different...as is each person's grieving process. There is no "right" or "wrong".
I do know that there are a lot of support groups out there and you deserve to feel good about yourself.
One way of doing this may be
healing your inner child
or reading some books on grieving or sexual abuse.
This is a book that I found quite helpful for me and for many of my clients. It is well written and you might also find it helpful. It is only $3.99!!
A first book for men and women who were sexually abused as children. Beginning to Heal takes you through the key stages of the healing process, from crisis times to breaking the silence, grief, and anger, to resolution and moving on. It includes inspirational highlights, clear explanations, practical suggestions, and compelling accounts of survivors' pain, their strength, and their triumphs.
Look under "self-help" and "abuse" sections for more helpful books on sexual abuse.
This is another inspirational book for women dealing with sexual abuse issues. You might find it quite helpful. Check it out. It is only $3.99!!
"Reclaiming Your Life!"
The first book by an American psychotherapist to win an endorsement from the eminent therapist Alice Miller, Reclaiming Your Life lays out a powerful program for healing the effects of childhood abuse. Using examples from her private practice over fifteen years, Jenson demonstrates that twelve-step and similar programs, as well as traditional therapies, do not fully deal with the phenomenon of repressed pain. Until this plan is "processed" - retrieved from the unconscious, fully experienced, and grieved over - she believes adults will still be trapped in the patterns of childhood. Accessible, compassionate, and powerful, Jenson's step-by-step instructions will allow millions finally to process the buried plan of childhood - and live fully, consciously, and happily in the present.
If they are out of this book, ask them to re-order!!
Use box below to find these and other books at low, low prices!
This article discusses the general process, symptoms, and coping mechanisms for dealing with grief, and then segues into a list of specific resources for managing the death of child, the death of a parent, miscarriage, child abduction, and hospice care. The grieving process can be an extremely debilitating and overwhelming experience, and in many ways, losing someone you love is like losing part of yourself. This article can help people to feel more informed, connected, and supported while enduring an incredible hardship.
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