What to do When Healing Gives You Grief

A Major component of my recovery/healing from Complex PTSD was the experience of grief. ⠀

Grieving was an experience that I kept away from myself for many, many years. It felt safer to berate and judge and shame myself:⠀
“I should be over this by now” ⠀
“What’s wrong with me?” ⠀
“I just need to get over it and move on” ⠀
“I don’t have time to cry about my childhood” ⠀

I didn’t know a thing about compassion.⠀
About witnessing and holding myself. ⠀
About the sacred practice of pouring out the pain. ⠀
I didn’t know that what I truly needed was a space to grieve. I didn’t know that the grief experience which I so feared, would actually help my integrate and heal. ⠀

I had internalized the shaming messages from years of abandonment, parental betrayal, neglect, and abuse. Shaming myself kept all that pain of deep despair at bay. I preferred the more familiar pain of criticizing myself and pushing myself to keep going. I feared being swallowed whole by the grief. By the sadness. I was rigid, dis-embodied. And really, really scared. And of course, none of that was in my conscious awareness.⠀

Grief isn’t a one-and-done experience. As we build our relationship with healing as a lifestyle, grief will periodically move into our hearts for a while. ⠀

I believe grief is a gift that healing gives to us. I believe experiencing grief helps us stabilize from black and white thinking into integration. It comes upon us in waves. Crashing upon the shores of our forgotten selves. Reminding us that we are real. Our experience was real. It helps us reconnect. It helps us see just how incredible it is that we survived the trauma of a scary, un-safe childhood. It helps us honour our innocence, our inner-child. ⠀

When healing gives us grief, it is a time to remember what was lost. To acknowledge it with honour. Gratitude for where we are now can co-exist with deep grief from past experiences. ⠀
Even now, with years of healing on board, increased regulation and lots of resources, grief still finds its way to the shore of my life. And that’s okay. It is the way. I surrender to it as it happens - I let it wash over me. Knowing I am moving closer to myself.


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