Grieving for someone who abused you

I just came across this post about mourning for one’s perpetrator.

This is certainly a complicated loss. It is not uncommon to know one’s perpetrator well, and the relationship is usually not simple. We might have loved him or her deeply, which makes the abuse even harder to come to terms with.

For some, the death of a perpetrator might mean that an important conversation or confrontation will never take place. Perhaps we had hoped for an admission of guilt, or an asking of forgiveness. We might view their death as a loss of those opportunities. Those who lose an abusive parent often mourn as they realize that they will never have the relationship which they always wished for with that parent; any hope of a change is now gone.

This type of loss may be disenfranchised as well. Those around us (who are aware of the abusive nature of the relationship) might assume that we will not grieve, but that we will simply be glad to close a painful chapter in our lives. While that might be true, a range of emotions or reactions might be experienced, including sorrow, relief, rage, and numbness.

It is helpful to seek support if facing this type of loss, such as a therapist, a dear friend, or a trusted family member… someone who can understand how complex this might be, and who can listen with empathy. Please feel free to post here with any thoughts or reactions.

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