death of parent you didn't like/was abusive

Anyone dealing with this?

So far I’ve read a lot about wonderful deceased people but not much about more complicated relationships

My grandmother who was my mother died near two years ago and so much has unravelled since. I’m now at the point where I can hardly function

I’ve been doing my best to find supportive service so not really looking for that kind of input

Would like to know if anyone has been in this position, their experience and what has helped

Most people talk so favourably about the deceased person, it seems to offer a point of connection to others, I simply can’t relate to and am left feeling even more isolated


Hi @Omi ,
I hear you, my relationship to my mom, when she was alive, was very complicated, before she became ill, it was strained, we were always arguing, there were things in the past where she controlled all the time, Like when my baby died, she made me feel like I wasn’t allowed to talk about him, if I did try to talk about him, she would just say, :rage:"forget about it, get over it, move on!" He was my baby, how dare she! I wish now I had moved away, I would of had a happier life. After she died, I can safely say the anger carried me through the first year, 2 years on, I’m finally calming down, having the one way conversations with her that I wish I’d had when she was alive. I don’t think mom ever really realised the extent of the damage she’d caused, but this made grieving very complicated for me, dealing with the sad feelings of loss, plus the anger for the pain she caused, my emotions were in such a muddle, autopilot, angry one minute, crying the next, there’s no rules to grieving, you take each emotion as it comes.
My dad is the abusive person in my life right now, he has driven me to 3 suicide attempts, 2 of them this year, in the words of Shakespeare, I “hate him with the fire of a thousand suns”, I couldn’t hate him more than I do right now, & want nothing more to do with him, so when he dies, I have no doubt, that’ll become more emotional baggage I’ll struggle to unpack, & seriously don’t need.

@Pandaprincess I really appreciate your reply and sharing how it was for you, also sorry to read about the loss of your baby, Dad being abusive and it being so bad that you’ve wanted to take your life; that’s a lot, a lot. I hope that you receive support and resources as and when needed

I think the abusive relationship that I was in with a covert narcissistic actually led me back to revisit the old wounds at a deeper layer and the truth of who she was really was to me has come into the light in a way that is so painful. I believe it was actually the stress of 6 moves in 8 months, being autistic and grieving that regressed me enough to be back in the space where I would even entertain entering such a relationship, yet it feels like what was needed to get to the deeper layer of grief about my parent

I feel anger but can’t fully access it because I am in freeze response most of the time and it turns inward. Plus in a physical sense she’s dead so I don’t feel I can turn the anger towards her. Just in the last few days I’m seeing how she is part of what makes up my inner critical voice that has been with me all my life but she is not the accusing and damning thought forms-voice but more the feelings e.g guilt, shame etc

Have you had bereavement counselling or therapy connected to the grief? If so, did you find that helpful?

I have had six sessions. It’s been useful to have the space to pull the weeds but you never just pull one theirs a whole network of them!

Again, really appreciate your response

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Hi @Omi,
Sorry to hear your struggling so much with all this, I have been through quite a lot of therapy for many things, not just bereavement, one of the strange things with therapy or counselling, you have to do what works for you, there are different types of therapy, & sometimes it helps if you have a therapist or councilor who you connect well with, like in all professions, there are good ones & not so good ones. It helps to be clear on what exactly you want from the therapy, what do you want to accomplish from it. I know a lot of them do 6 sessions, which isn’t always enough when there is a lot to unpack, emotionally speaking.
The negative criticism thing, I understand this is a learned habit from someone else, I’ll admit with the way my dad has been constantly criticising me & berating me, especially this year, I have a similar problem, I think it upsets me more when I feel possitive & enthusiastic about something one minute, then from nowhere BAM! He’s in my head & criticising, my brain flips into panic mode, I feel hot anger, & at the same time scared & want to cry, I hear the bad thoughts as clear as if he was in the room with me, when I do manage to fight my way out of my negative headspace, I’m usually in tears, & just feel I need to get out. :pensive::pleading_face: This is something I’m trying to work through, but I find walking helpful, & using distraction techniques like the alphabet game, especially if you go through the alphabet backwards, it’s just trying to focus on something else. But I know what you mean about self criticism being caused by years of someone else doing the criticizing, knowing why the person was the way they were helps in understanding, but doesn’t fix the pain & distress it puts us through. My stubborn angry side says they have no right to control me, they have no right to upset me like this! But I know it’s hard to feel that strong when you feel vulnerable. When the bad thoughts are there, remember it’s your choice how you choose to handle it, a thing I used before in therapy in “thought buses”, imagine you’re at a bus stop, & as buses pass they signs on the front of them which say your thoughts, they can be anything you like, from “It’s sunny today”, “I am really dreading the dentist appointment,” “I need to focus on…” but if there’s a negative thought bus, do you really want to get on it? Definitely not, if you find yourself on the negative/bad thout bus, tell yourself “off the bus!” Usually you need to repeat it a few times, If it’s not working, use an alternative distraction technique, but it tends to be trial & error finding what works for you.
Hope this helps.

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Yeh in the past I was quite good at letting thoughts and feelings pass through, remaining on the platform, choosing which ones I jumped onto. I’ve had quite a lot of others stresses and being in an abusive relationship was also quite dysregulating so it feels quite hard to do that right now but am trying, thanks for the reminder

I’ve had quite a lot of therapy too. About to start with a new one, so hard to find a good one. I also feel like I’d rather lean into my relationship with what I understand to be God and achieve the next layer of healing this way rather than engage in more psycho chat!!! I think its all relevant, can be useful but the core loss being the lie that I was not meant to be here/do not deserve to be here, that feels like it will resolve at the spiritual level for me

It sounds like you have got yourself into quite a resilient place?

I’m also trying to remember choice, that I’m not her daughter anymore but that is also hard when regressed, in an emotional flashback and back in that place again but I can do it differently this time, which is the whole point, and thanks for the reminder

The anniversary is coming up. I am thinking I want to do something to mark it, something that marks the separation really. Do you do anything to acknowledge your mothers death?

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No, not specifically, I have visited her grave a few times when I feel I need to talk about things I normally would of talked to her about, but other people that have passed, I have special place that reminds me of them, I go there on their anniversaries & birthdays.

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@Pandaprincess thanks. I am not likely to go to her grave as far away but makes me think about going to a place where I can speak to her or writing her a letter. I sometimes feel like she’s a child-bully in my psyche that just needs some firm words!!

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Hi. I’ve literally made a post about the other side of grief, when there wasn’t a good relationship. As much as I can’t offer any advice, I can tell you, you are not alone with how you’re feeling.