Grief and loss can be tough on anyone. When we add in trauma and the situation becomes marred in layers. Complicating things is the conflict of judgments, should, and shouldn’t. Often times, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are torn between all these feelings, our rational/logical, or our emotional minds at war with each other.
Along with all of this, is the thought am I (insert your thought here) for missing this person who did this? The thoughts can quickly cycle from there. The truth is, it is natural to feel what you’re feeling and you’re allowed to feel this way. Added to the confusion is there was an individual who showed you multiple “faces”. One who was loving and caring when you first met and then they began to change in subtle ways until you no longer knew the person before you. Looking at them wondering where did the person I fell in love with go?
Grieving includes every aspect of this relationship, the loss of those dreams, the promises, and the hopes you had for this relationship. You’re allowed to grieve for any losses around sexual assault, it could be a sense of safety, friends, family, or any number of possibilities. We offer permission around this as a way to help encourage you. Well-meaning people around us telling us to move on, don’t look back creates more confusion for us.
Subsequently, the loss doesn’t necessarily end with that person. Family, friends, housing, status, and other things also change when we leave a relationship.
Nevertheless, the grief cycle is a number of different feelings and emotions and sometimes you can cycle through them in moments, and other times it can take longer. Remember there is no time limit to grief.
Tips as you move through the grief cycle include:
Importantly, one way to honour yourself, your grief, and your feelings is to allow yourself to feel them. Name them, notice them in your body, and just sit with them for a moment or two.
Journaling, speaking to someone else about your experience can really help you to express those feelings. During this time, remember to treat yourself with kindness, compassion, and grace as you move through this.
Note: We are not Therapists, Registered Counsellors, Psychologists, and or Medical doctors. We are survivors ourselves, who offer support groups and services that help complement traditional therapies and medications. At no time are we providing a diagnosis or making medical recommendations. It is always recommended you speak with a Health Care Professional before making any changes.