June 18th, 2010; Vulnerable, Raw.

I’m feeling very vulnerable and raw right now.  I strained my the left side of my neck and back today learning how to box :(  After boxing I hopped in the pool and within an hour it started hurting bad.

Chris and I played basketball in the pool.  It’s funny because we had gone out to practice boxing, and I had just sent Ashley a link to this journal… and well, the minute we stepped outside, there were two people, a guy and a girl –younger couple, in the pool playing basketball!

My jaw dropped, and I was like “Aww, ‘Love and Basketball,’ is one of Ashley’s favorite movies, and I thought it was a huge coincidence how they were playing when I had literally just contacted Ash and actually mentioned her to Chris yesterday about how we used to play ball in the pool.

Anyway, so here I am inside, laying in bed, in pain, thinking of my strained neck and back, the situation with Erin, and Ashley.  Of course I have unresolved grief… a good string of it, but that doesn’t take away the feelings of missing a good friend (Ashley) I had… I respected Ash.

It’s so hard to find someone respectful of themselves it seems, and especially someone who has a good head on their shoulders.  For how I grew up Ashley had a pretty good head on her shoulders.  She was always positive and optimistic and always knew how to have a good time and get through things.  I supposed I am pretty strong, too, but Ash was a trooper.

To make a long story short, Ashley and I dated for 3-4 months, and I broke up with her to get back together with my ex.  My ex had cheated on me right before I met Ash… so I wasn’t fully over her, and Ash wasn’t over her gf (both Ash and I had both just gotten out of relationships) and my gf after 3-4 months of seeing Ashley and I together couldn’t take it and wanted to get back together.

She swore that she had changed and stated that she “needed” me, was “sorry,” etc, and because I had not taken the time to grieve her, I still had grief, which confused me… so, to say the least, I ended up getting back with her.  She did end up cheating on me again with the very same person, but that’s another story!

So I broke Ashley’s heart… it was the biggest mistake of my life, but I definitely learned from it, and it made me into a new person.  I mean that in every sense of the word.  I changed.  Fully and completely.  If I were a boy, you can say that this woman changed me into a man.

Anyway, I need to rest.

I am having a difficult time with this breakup with Erin… I am sad, lonely, and depressed.  I am pouty, and isolate… I’m stricken with grief.  I have basically lost contact with all of my friends since being in this relationship.  Many people have told me that Erin was emotionally abusive…

At any rate, I am all alone, and I feel all alone.  I draw on the strength of Ashley when Ashley is not around.  I will think about her and remember what it was like to have a healthy, fun, enjoyable relationship…

Still, there is loneliness that my heart cannot dispel, and pain so deep that even a miner couldn’t reach!  Honestly though… my soul hurts, and all I want is to be cuddled up to Erin at this moment…

What’s funny though is Erin is not “there;” she never has been (beyond the 3-month mark) and she likely never will be… so there is technically nothing “there,” and I don’t know why I keep convincing myself.  Maybe because Erin keeps coming onto me… it makes me feel like there is hope.

What is “hope” though anymore, honestly?  I honestly cannot help but wonder… because so little seems to make sense or matter anymore… I keep finding myself in the same kind of unhealthy relationships.

I want to fully recover from this codependency and get myself in a good place financially and mind-body-spirit to where I can have a healthy relationship and be able to have a family.  I know that seems heavy, but it’s true.  I really want to have stability and security, a family, and fun.

I wish that Ash would get a hold of me.  She was a good friend to me.  She would always check-up on me every few months, particularly when I was dating Annie… Annie was the most abusive relationship I’d ever been in.  Ash was there.  She was far away, but she was always there.

She has disapeared on me now and leads a different lifestyle.  She has not contacted me in months, and the last time that I talked to her she said some really mean stuff… I don’t understand personalities… and why people change.  I don’t understand what goes on inside the mind to cause people to lash out sometimes…

I have always been truthful and honest with Ash, and yet it seems to make no difference to her.  Maybe she is still upset over what happened years ago… she always seemed to look at me differently since.  But I swear, I am a changed person, and I mean that with all due respect.  I mean that in the strictest sense, and that is a conviction of mine.

Still, it sadly holds no weight, and I sit here with out my best friend… and yes, in many ways Ashley felt like my best friend… even though we hadn’t been physically in the same location for a few years because I moved, and even though we weren’t together any longer… she was still a best friend to me, and someone I felt could see eye-to-eye.

I was always very protective over Ashley.  I loved Ashley… with all of my heart.  I loved Erin, too, but in a different way.  I think love has many facets… many degrees.  I also think that there are many levels of respect.  I respected Ashley… I trusted her.  Trust is huge, and I could trust her.

I could not trust Erin.  Sadly, I couldn’t.  I wanted to, but I couldn’t, because she (like Sarah) would continually lie to me.  I never understood this phenomenon.  Ashley and I had developed mutual respect… I was just too immature at that time to really appreciate what we had.  I was immature because I did not properly grieve Sarah, and I allowed myself to move into a relationship with Ash.

As I said, Ash and I had both just gotten out of relationships… and we started off friends, with no intention of getting together, and it just worked out that way… but worse came to worse, and I broke her heart because of this unresolved grief.  This wasn’t fair to her, and I feel terribly sorry.

I want to talk to Ashley again… to see her.  Last year I offered to fly her out to Colorado for a psychology conference… I thought she would really love it.  I had saved money, and I wanted to take her.  She told me I was “nuts.”  Ash has never reacted that way… and I will be honest, it really hurt, and surprised me that she acted this way.

I would do anything for my friends, especially friends whom I can trust and hold a special place in my heart.  I am generous and more than willing to treat somebody to something like that.  And I just wanted to see her as friends, and that’s the truth… I had no other intention.  I wanted to make her smile.

I guess we all get “hard” throughout the years when we’re hurt… we get jaded… but “not my Ash,” I always said.  Unfortunately it was my Ash.  I don’t really know my Ash anymore… she has removed herself from a relationship with me.  The last time I talked to her she was telling me about this guy, Adam, who was pretty much “identical” to me (she couldn’t get over it), and I added him on facebook because I wanted to show her that I support her and her decision, and she freaked out, de-friended me, and hasn’t talked to me since.

I’m sorry that she reacted this way.  I do not know why she reacted this way, but I was being completely honest in that I was trying to support her.  To be supportive of her and there for her… I wasn’t going to say anything to this man, and this is the truth.  I wanted to show her that I cared, and that I would be there to support any decision she made.

Anyway, the last two years I have experienced several significant losses… including the loss of my therapist, who I actually fired.  She totally was self-serviing and unlicensed and commited some major ethical boundary violations, but that’s another story… I will not go into details.

I have learned to just bite the bullet… to attempt to “move on” from these losses… the truth is, I never really moved on… Ashley, yes, in many ways I grieved the relationship we had, but the friendship I have not grieved, and I am still actively hurting from it.  I am hurting because there is no closure… and because her actions were really hurtful…

June 17th, 2010; My past, my experience, “mother.” Grief stage 2: Anger.

You know, maybe I didn’t really take much interest in the family
because I couldn’t relate.
I wasn’t into sports
and comedy
so maybe I was a little “self-absorbed”
like, with Max and my uncles:

I relate…
I can talk to them
about them
about their lives, interests
because we share those
but I didn’t identify with the things
my adopted family was into
they wanted me to be someone else
and maybe I needed them to be someone else, so I could relate…

There was never anyone to relate to
The first time I related was when I met Max and Lisa
in a family way
it was amazing…








but it hurts that my “family” (adopted) and I never connected
and that my mother did not accept me and tried to change me

I never tried to get my family to change
not to my knowledge
I just tried to get them to understand
I was the outcast to them
why couldn’t I be “popular” (“‘s are expectations that have now become internalized beliefs)
and like “everyone else,” my mother would say

She would criticize me
it was pretty extreme
and yeah, that’s her own shit (I say with animosity and bitterness) but still…
what “mother” criticizes their daughter?
and undercuts her?
undermines her
a narcissistic mother

I mean, I couldn’t do anything right with her
she would criticize me for how I held my silverware
no wonder I was so fucking self conscious
she would act like I was a fucking alien
as though she did not know me…
god forbid I be my own person
not one of her own
and worse, be directly related to her sister
her terrible “disruptive,” “rebellious” sister

Jeanie was not a bad person
she was outspoken
Judy was just different
she always wanted to be popular
it was all she cared about
her and Jeanie were just so different
Jeanie could care less about being popular… she just wanted to have fun and live life
they butt heads
my mother could not separate her sister from me

She’d call me a “bitch”
demean me
call me “Jeanie” –“Jeanie” this and “Jeanie” that
to the point where I could not even talk without being intrrupted and insulted
when I’d talk she’d slap me in the face
and say I was “back-talking”
or she’d pull my hair
or throw the remote control at me
she couldn’t separate
and I stood in-between… in the middle… of her masquerade… her rocky horror show

“it was never my own,” I always said, assuring myself that this couldn’t be about me
but I could have sworn it to be when I was a kid –and through my teenage
and early adult years
kids believe things their parents say
my mother taught me to hate myself
because I trusted her
and her words
“bitch” — “you’re nothing but a fucking weirdo” etc.
I hate her.

Erin said to me one time in one of her fit and rages, “go to hell”
well, I hope she –and my “mother” “go to hell”
I just want to speak
This grief needs a voice
Stage 2 –Anger
I am angry at her
SHE can “go to hell”
That is me dispelling my frustration for her insults
I internalized her words
And  mistook them for truth
I swallowed them whole
How ever did I ingest such poison?
Creating toxic shame

However did I learn to love and believe in myself?
Well, that’s simple… I haven’t yet…
and that is a lesson I need to learn
self-love and acceptance
because god knows I didn’t get any from her growing up

She spit all over me
I could never be my own person
I was never seen AS a person
I was a screen for her to project onto
as I said before, I swallowed it whole
now I have toxic shame and grief as tall as the Berlin wall turned upside

and my trust is shattered
the truth (unconditional love) in my eyes runs (ran) thin,
because all I experienced were lies
strings –attached
“If you were like the ‘other’ girls, you would be good enough” –until then I will call you a “bitch” and a “fucking weirdo” a half a dozen times
and demean, slap, and criticize you
until you get it through your head that you
just don’t measure up

I could not fight back
And now I am the bad guy??
when I bring it up to her?
I am the “bad” guy for saying, “Mom, I felt this way, and it hurt me… your words/actions hurt me…”
“Mom, these are my feelings as a result of your hostile and cruel actions”
“Mom, you have hurt me and shattered my trust”
“Mom, I learned from you that it’s OK to be abused”
Mom, you can walk all over me and criticize me and demean me;
you can pull my hair, berate me, throw objects at me, and then tell me you love me…
mom, you are a Jekyll and a Hyde

And you keep smiling to the world
How-ever, could, should, they know
the real truth
and I sit here as you hide behind some image
behind some face
a mask…
“Mom, how could you have never seen?”
the real thing
the beautiful person inside, behind your projections
your smoke-filled screen of lies and distortions
How could you have never seen, or heard the-my heartfelt cries?
or saw the tears?
large enough to fill an ocean
“How could you have not been there when I was screaming, “Mom, please — Jerry is scarring me… he’s hurting me”
I’m not sure which was worse, you hurting me emotionally or him hurting me physically

She could never live up to her actions
I was a smoke-filled screen, I repeat
A slat for her rants and slanders
curse words
not some dry erase board, either, or blackboard… it was permanent
the scarring
the damage
to my self esteem
hitting me like a lethal dose of cocaine
and all I wanted was some fucking oxygen
to breathe
to be my OWN person
to live separate from her
but she warped me into her world
her sick, twisted little world
Her tongue so sharp… bullets
I was constantly dodging bullets

I could not fight back
it was as though my wrist and hands had been tied
and my throat slit
and her tongue was stuck in my mouth
emotional incest
she would not let me breathe
I could not escape her presence
as she always found a way to pull me back in
to say something more
it was so disruptive to my psyche
anything to get to me
to cast me out
she would keep me wrapped around her dirty little finger
squeezing me to death
and not with love or hugs
but venom
“polluting the airways,” I say

I cannot breathe when she’s choking me with her words
her toxins
my screams were not loud enough for anyone to hear
I felt helpless
I kicked, and I screamed
I wanted her OFF me (her presence)
she would not stop, as she beat her head against me
and it hurt me (further psychologically damaged) me every time

my dad tried to step in, but even she brought him down…
drowning him… drowning out his voice
there was no safety
and no “love in goodbye” in my mind
for I was too tied to her
too wrapped around her finger
to understand
to see the truth vs. a lie
and it was all a lie, but it became my truth…
that was my reality
for so long
her slander and insults
and fits and swings
she can go fuck herself
I hate her, I repeat.

And still, it’s years later, and yes, this is my grief
finally coming out
she’s a joke
a heartless
cruel… crude
I do not recognize her face — this woman who hits me with inanimate objects then claims to “love” me
reinforcing her superficial image with passages from her bible

it sounds like such bulshit to me –hypocrisy
“You want me to believe you,” mother?  Yet you’re so fucking inconsistent, and yet I swallow it
that has become my reality
who would have guessed?
I think it’s funny how I’m a psych major
and how I want to understand all of this
and people
and for things to make sense
my fucking “life” never made sense… my reality with her
which WAS my life because she would not let me separate
it was, as I said, like “dodging bullets”

fuck her
and like my poem says, “and fuck him, too, for not having enough strength in his heart to pull through”
and “fuck you for all the times you told me I’d never amount to anything”
“because some day I am going to be on the top of the world”
“and throw it in your face”
“you’re such a fucking, goddamn disgrace”
those were the words she spoke to me indirectly…
I ingested her projections
I just want to say sarcastically, “I’m sorry, ‘mom,’ did I disappoint you?”
Was there a mis-communciation?  Did I get switched at the hospital?
Do I remind you of someone else?
“Was I not everything you wanted me to be?”
“Is your money not enough, your lovely ‘dream’ mansion –the car, the cash flow.”
Is it still not enough for such a sick narcissist like yourself?

I want to say, “Oh my god you have a pimple on your face!”
“Are you going to fall apart now, ‘mother?’ lovely mother?”
Are you going to shatter?
Oh, wait, your mirror has been imperfectly perfected….
“Mother, you expected me to pick up the pieces”
…”and be responsible for your happiness?!”
“Fuck you, mom!”
She can kiss my ass
her utopia
her idea of perfection
extending to me so far that if I should at all have my own wishes and desires she would throw me to the curb
all while retaining such a lovely poised face
a “white picket” fence reality
quite literally

wow, the delusion
I mean, illusion
the “delusion” on her part
to not even see me as a separate person
narcissistic wounding?
“Oh, I’m so sorry dear mother… was it that bad?”
I was a fucking victim
she took me down
she can kiss my fucking ass
she’s so pathetic
and yet she feeds off people
like a mother fucking vampire
what the fuck do I look like?
I have already been poisoned
what else is left?

nothing, nobody… just Jerry… but that’s right, he’s too preoccupied with his bottle and his sports/news television
“How does it feel now, mom?”
…”to be all alone?  –to be faced with yourself and no one else?”
is it comforting?  consoling?  …knowing, mother, that you have pushed everyone away??
with your vanity
your pseudo-charm
your riches
your material wealth
your false security, happiness
your veneer, your guise, your “mask”
your filter
I must say you sure had no “filter” back then
just degradation

she slapped me
and my god I’m finally seeing a good dose of reality
but I still feel just every bit as angry as I first did when I first encountered it –the abuse
the only difference now is that I have more clarity
I’m stronger than her
but what’s a “man” (person) to do?
now that he can see through the glass?
I am speechless.

if she were a dog, I’d say while she’s licking her chops —
“Have you had ‘enough’ yet?”
has she devoured enough and consumed enough?
excuse me for bringing up a dog… I’m just saying… sometimes she’s like a dog in that she’s that low to the ground with her actions and insults
there is a lack of obvious integrity… of truth, of honesty… of respect of any kind
she sold out
for a pretty image
sold her soul
I was taken down in the craziness
and somewhere my sense of self got thrown out the window
I couldn’t have one with her
it threatened her
her precious image
God forbid I wasn’t her lovely princess
I was constantly, unfavorably compared to her biological siblings
and devalued
compared to Jeanie
my dad fought to have full custody of me
claiming her to be “mentally incompetent”
yet she won –joint-custody
convinced the judge
with her charisma
it’s like a false negative
when it’s really positive
she was positive for a lethal dose of cocaine
and I got shot up
I didn’t want to
I had no choice
she might as well lined my head up against a brick wall and shot me
what “choice” did I have?
It was that simple
her words were insults
beyond cruel
and I couldn’t even recognize her
how could I trust someone who would hurt me, both physically, emotionally, verbally, and spiritually?
You know what?

“Actions speak louder than words”
and she’ll die old knowing that –that she was wrong
but will she ever admit it to herself?
to I?
not for the life of her
shame would never allow her to
was someone else always to blame?
because her childhood was so “horrendous”
because she didn’t get enough “attention,” she stated to my therapist during our one and only group session
which she switched from one face to the next
give me a fucking godamn break
the minute we walked out of that office she turned her back on me
as if the session never existed
as if it was all a joke…
I learned quickly it meant nothing…
just another false hope for the little girl inside of me
“attention,” mother?
you spoiled rotten narcissistic child

Jeanie was honest
she was truthful
she said it like it was
my “mother” couldn’t take it
she wanted to be the center of attention
something terrible went wrong when she was born
something got switched
in the head
something terrible happened
because she never let go of this need for attention

whoring it up with guys
behind my father’s back
for breaking apart our family
our home
breaking my sister’s heart
never showing up for her prom
blowing my brother off
so fucking self-absorbed
too caught up in herself
too busy fucking other men to see she had a devoted husband and children that loved her
lying to my dad
over and over
and yet he had to catch her!
with his own eyes
imagine the agony
that my father felt
and how he had to just shake his head and put on a face, telling the family that everything’s “alright”
what a fucking lie
my poor father

he went into self- denial because of her delusion!
and yet we hear another story
never knowing what to believe
but our own experiences
which seem to frightening to trust– to let into our minds and bodies –our psyches
so we too gt caught-up in the self-denial
and then the truth gets buried

until someone like Jeanie or I speak about it
crack the silence
and yet we’re pointed at
scapegoated against
God forbid I EVER opened my mouth to ANYONE –with my “mother”
she would slap me silly
fuck HER!
fuck me for calling her on her shit!
yet that would NEVER slide with her
she had to preserve the “image” that things were ‘perfect’
telling her girlfriends that I was the “best” daughter; this “straight A” student yet talking shit behind my back and physically abusing me??
Jekyl and fucking Hyde
You never knew what to expect

I call it a lot of garbage, a lot of trash
and unfortunately I swarmed in it for much of my life
buried alive in it
I could not breathe
it was to the top
I could not see
clarity lacked
I got away (to VT) and then I was accused of being “disloyal” to the family –by my BROTHER!
fuck that shit!
for getting the space NECESSARY
to breathe
to see
through the phony fucking veneer
my God she –and now my brother and sister who have been sucked in
must live such a SAD life
a lonely fucking existence

man, to see her with this alcoholic
who mirrors her useless existence
god have mercy on her
pity her
my god do I feel sorry for her
how the hell can I feel sorry for someone who treated without any respect?
who doesn’t respect herself
who doesn’t THINK about her actions
who goes and FUCKS whoever will give her attention
and who flirts with people to get attention
she complains like a fucking martyr
yet she’s CHOOSING to be with him
he’s a fucking mirror of her
and she doesn’t even see it
yet she elicits sympathy from her friends
“oh, Jerry this, Jerry that”
wake the FUCK up
open your eyes

I am 26 years old, and I STILL cannot “exist” with her
I am STILL a threat to her
and the more I break away, the more shit she still continues to say to me
to try and tear, wear me down
how pathetic

who’s going to take care of her when she’s old and grey?
who’s going to be there for her because she cut out everyone else
the only person she can manipulate is her lovely daughter, Amy
who she has managed to enmesh
so bad she has turned Amy on me
of course Amy would disagree because she is in self-denial
pretty fucking pathetic
Amy can’t see through it
because inside she’s afraid and is clinging like a child
there is no judgment there
it’s a normal reaction to an abnormal, shocking response (my dad’s death)
still, there is denial tearing us apart, creating walls that separate
exactly what my “mother” wants!

and my mother just embellishes and embellishes and embellishes
how is there truth in a lie?
how has the truth become a lie?
how has the lie become the truth for some, those who batted for m and were strong within themselves?
how does my sister not see through it?
and me in the background
once again, in the shadow of my lovely mother
such a charade
a lovely dance –of who’s “right?”
of who wins the cookies?  the “grammy?”
has she convinced you?
no one really wins you see…
I don’t have my father
I don’t have my brother
I don’t even have my sister
none left to vouch for me
only myself
and my journals– they are burned
discarded– whatever she did to them
All I have now is my father’s journal used in court
I am an adult now, but inside feel like I have so much healing to do from this stripping of my dignity –of my livelihood

but this “too will soon pass,” as Alanon says
with time
with love, kindness, friendship, support, and acceptance
it will move past like a rain cloud…
the rain cloud will dissolve
we will heal
our wounds
but she will die on her death bed never being able to say “I’m sorry”
because she lacks empathy
she refuses to get help
after all of this damage she has caused people
she continues to deflect blame and people buy into the “new ‘changed’ person”
there is nothing left to fight for when all else is gone,
ie: my father, me…
my mother has won, and now through fear because her siblings are isolated
and they have grown dependent on her –my sister for approval and my brother financially
my mother is the empire –or rather, Jerry is
what would she do without her false supply?
be left with herself? she’s already left with herself which is why she has to feed off people
to keep her sense of self alive
so pathetic
so sad
stricken poverty
she’s delusional
and lost it
a LONG time ago
and tried bringing me down with her
to her level
in this horror show
this film
it was so bad I couldn’t even believe it was real
I had to make-believe
hide out in my fucking room
go outside in nature
to try and escape
the chaos, the craze
and yet she was never to blame
polished her up like a car baby
like her freshly painted, manicured high-end nails
that never lost their shine
except when they encountered a chip
yet people still can’t see through it?

simply put, “My life was never my own”
my “tower” (self-hood) burnt down

a long time ago
she wouldn’t let me build (ie, my own life)
she tried to tear down –every fucking wall I built
she would find where I would hide
and she would breathe fire on me

until I melted and died (shrunk/stood so low I did not have a sense of self –worth/trust)
and then she would bring me back to life with her sweet loving words and sweet-talking “promises”

I fell for them
for her flattery
the guise
such a forced expression
so cruel
“what is a joke,” I always asked
and she’d pick me back up and the whole cycle would start all over
I’d be “damned if I do;  damned it I don’t”
I’d be damned if I repeated the cycle again

and unfortunately I have in all my relationships thus far
I have moved so lovingly into a habitual pattern
of finding unavailable women
to repeat this cycle with
but no more
“I can’t,” I repeat
“I will die again,” I say to myself
“I will suffocate,” I mutter
and occasionally scream
the roof is on fire –“my room’s on fire”
building collapsed
it haunts me in my dreams, as I dream of death and escape

maybe someday I will let a woman in the entry way
not the way my mother did
no woman will knock down every single wall
and will I give her power
to do such
because that’s destructive
and it’s not my responsibility to put on the brakes
to say, “hey, don’t tear me down”
if she can’t have the decency to do it herself she’s not worth it
she has issues
and I don’t want t o be a part of her deadly force
mass destruction
I want nothing to do with it

I want to build my own castle
my own tower
and when I find a woman worthy of trust and respect, I will let her in the doorway
to share that part with me
but until then I have gates locked
that say “KEEP OUT”
hence my swords –over my journal’s front cover
those represent boundaries
“you have to love the unknown”
I wrote, in a poem, “I swear I’m loving myself even less” -me
but this time, I’m turning that cup upside down

she and all who have hurt me can kiss my ass
the truth is, there is grief
but this time I have support
I have 12-step
and that’s enough for me
there are people there who care
there is wisdom, strength, support, love, kindness, and encouragement
I don’t need a beating
or a midnight rant
I don’t need blackness — my eye or heart

My castle will stand tall
my tower
built with new walls
only for me
stable and free
no “wind” will knock me over
no destructive force will break my fall
or tear down my walls

1/27/11-  I am pretty sure that my mother is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or one of its cousins, possibly Borderline Personality Disorder.

Link:  http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/narcissism-traits.html

June 11th, 2010; Types of Grief.

I found this thread:  http://forum.psychlinks.ca/grief-and-bereavement/21086-types-of-unresolved-or-complicated-grief.html online when googling “Complicated grief and addiction,” and I emailed the publisher (David Baxter) in hopes of finding some relief and coming to terms with the grief that I am experiencing…

I actually wrote the individual and stated:

David,Thank God I found you and your informational thread…

Direct link:  http://forum.psychlinks.ca/grief-and-bereavement/21086-types-of-unresolved-or-complicated-grief.html

I am wondering if you can quickly tell me what kind of grief reaction I am experiencing?

I am a 26 year-old female, and I lost my father when I was 18, 19 years old… my father was my protector… I grew up with him… we lived in a house together.  He protected me (the best he could) from my abusive mother who I still had to go see… Anyway, he died unexpectedly one night of a massive heart attack, and I found him the next morning in our home in his bed on my way to go pick up my partner from school.

When the ambulance was there and the medical examiner, the family, etc. my abusive mother shamed me and yelled at me in front of these people while I was staring at my dad when I asked why there was “wet stuff” in dad’s bed (that’s where he died).  I may have been 18 or 19, but I didn’t know that when a person dies they excrete fluids… and she yelled at me in front of everyone –strangers, etc. and said to me loudly something along the lines of “Oh my god, you don’t ask that kind of stuff…”

Anyway, it was toxic shame, and she said something else to me that made me feel really embarrassed… You have to understand, I was traumatized.

Anyway, ever since my father died I have found myself in very unhealthy toxic relationships… I have developed codependency and codependent behaviors/patterns and the relationships have gotten worse… I first started finding myself with alcoholics, then mentally ill people mixed with drug abusers.  Additionally, I feel this unusual, intense sense of responsibility and unwarranted guilt.

In terms of my father and his death… I did not grieve him.  I have literally cried maybe 3 times since 2003 when he died… I do not understand what is going on.  I do not know why I can’t grieve.  I was close with my father… and as I said, he was my protector.

Nevertheless, I want to understand why I have clung to unhealthy relationships and developed codependent, clinging behaviors and stay in these unhealthy relationships (some very abusive) out of guilt and an unusual sense of responsibility.  I attribute this to be somehow linked to my father’s death.

By the way, I do not use drugs/alcohol/food, etc. nor am I self-harming… I only stay in these unhealthy relationships which I have just recently realized have only served to distract me from the immense grief.

Based off this information, can you please tell me what kind(s) of grief I am experiencing?

The desire to understand…  I would really like to understand the type of grief I am experiencing and why I haven’t been able to grief properly… ie, is it because I have been in relationship after relationship as an escape?  I did not turn to substance, but I did turn to relationships… is this what’s blocking me from experiencing grief?  I may or may not know until I am single and alone for a while… I could just experiencing absent or delayed grief for some unknown reason.

Types of Unresolved or Complicated Grief

Types of Unresolved/Complicated Grief
by David Baxter
Monday, December 14th, 2009

Historically, researchers have argued that complicated grief is an expression of a major depressive disorder or an anxiety-based disorder that has been triggered by a specific loss.

More recently, researchers have concluded that grief symptoms only partially overlap with symptoms of depression and other DSM-IV-TR categories, such as anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, and that although there may be some expected shared variance, complicated grief reactions do display sufficiently unique variance to warrant separate consideration (Kristjanson, Lobb, Aoun & Monterosso, 2006).

Absent grief is characterised by the bereaved acting as though nothing has happened. The bereaved show no feelings of grief or mourning and become detached from reality as if the death never occurred. Emotional numbness is common with this form of grief. Maladaptive behaviour is also common but often the bereaved is unable to associate such maladaptive behaviours with the loss experienced.

Delayed grief may result from pressing responsibilities (e.g. funeral arrangements) that the mourner needs to attend to, resulting in postponed grief that may last for years. An experience of grief may eventually be triggered by another loss or an event related to the original loss.

Inhibited grief involves inhibition of the normal behaviours that are associated with grief. Those who do not allow themselves to experience the pain of grief directly may develop some kind of somatic complaints or illness. It is common in this form of grief for the mourner to choose mourning some aspect of the deceased and not the other, for example, the positive aspects and not the negative ones. Like absent grief, this form of grief also encompasses maladaptive behaviour that the bereaved will usually be unaware of or not attribute it to their grief response.

Conflicted grief involves an exaggeration of one or more behaviours commonly displayed in normal grief while other aspects of the grief is suppressed. This form of grief is often characterized by extreme anger and guilt. Exaggerated anxiety manifested in panic attacks is also common. Substance abuse problems may also arise or existing problems may be exacerbated. The conflicted grief pattern can become quite prolonged and is normally associated with dependent or ambivalent attachment to the deceased.

Chronic grief involves the mourner exhibiting intense grief reactions that are common in the early stages of grief but continue long after the loss has occurred. There is little or no progress and mourning fails to come to any conclusion. The bereaved seems to keep the deceased alive with their mourning. This form of grief is maintained by feelings of insecurity and insecure attachment to the deceased.

The bereaved feels that they have sustained a loss of an irreplaceable relationship. With regard to this type of grief, the therapist needs to identify those aspects of grief that are not resolved and intervention would then need to focus on the resolution of this (Williamson & Shneidman, 1995; Freeman, 2005; Worden 2005).

Unanticipated grief, as the name suggests, is grief that results from unexpected sudden death. This form of grief is said to be disruptive to the bereaved and will often involve a complicated recovery. This form of grief entails great difficulty in accepting the loss that is accompanied by overwhelming feelings.

The adaptive capabilities of the bereaved can be seriously damaged in the context of an unexpected and sudden death, resulting in their inability to function normally in any area of their life. Although the grieving person can intellectually recognize the death, they will often have great difficulty in accepting the loss due to it being so sudden and so unexpected. In this situation grief symptoms will tend to continue on much longer than normal grief reactions.

Abbreviated grief is typically a short lived but normal form of grief. This is often mistaken for unresolved grief. The grief process is shortened or abbreviated commonly because the attachment figure or lost person is immediately replaced (e.g., remarrying immediately after the spouse dies) or there has been little or no attachment to the deceased.

At times abbreviated grief occurs due to anticipatory grief whereby an individual embarks on the grieving process prior to the actual loss occurring. This results in a much shorter grief after the actual death.

The problem with abbreviated grief is that the bereaved may show very little sense of discomfort as negative feelings can be blocked away by denying themselves the opportunity to experience normal grieving process at the time of loss. This type of grief can manifest in the future.

In every form of complicated grief, the bereaved tries to deny or avoid aspects of the loss and the full realisation of what the loss means to them. The tendency to hold on to and avoid giving up the loved one is also a common factor in complicated grief.