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Old 12-12-2018, 02:59 PM   #1
Anonymous57363
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Trig Grief after death of abusive parent

I am not sure if this post should belong here or on another thread. I do not want to offend anyone. Has anyone here dealt with the death of an abusive parent?
I am dealing with this currently and it's very confusing and painful. I am further alienated by my dysfunctional family. Over time, they decided to re-write history and speak only of our father as though he were a saint. He was not. He was often cruel; emotionally and verbally abusive of my mother, my siblings, and myself. I lived on the end of his rage (as did my family) until I moved out. I was scared of him until the day he died.
Now that he's gone, I am not sure how to think or feel. I want to respect my family members' own feelings. So when they talk about how much they miss him and what a wonderful man he was, I keep my own thoughts to myself and simply provide messages of comfort. Which seems to be working for them but I feel very alone with my complex reaction. He was not a good father but my family seems to think that abuse only means intense physical or sexual assault. I do not agree. My therapist, back when I was still in therapy, agreed that my father was a very abusive parent and husband.
I do not miss him. But there is a lot of pressure in society to feel obligation to our parents regardless of how they treat(ed) us. And yet, I agree with a person who said "Remember that you do not have a familial obligation to be victimized."
Any thoughts folks?
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Grief after death of abusive parent

Perhaps take a break from family while you work through your own grief.

It also might not hurt to get back into therapy as you work through your grief.

It is different for survivors of abuse to process the grief related to the passing of an abusive parent or sibling.

Especially if other family members continue to traumatize the abuse survivor by sticking up for the abuser(s).

My resolution was to go completely no contact, but not everyone is willing or able to take that path.
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:14 AM   #3
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I'm so sorry you're struggling, HopefullyLost1211 It's very hard to cope with grieving if the death was an abuser. It's even harder if others paint the abuser in a positive light. I think you should just avoid the subject completely if you can. Don't talk about him and certainly don't go to any event that may celebrate him or his death. You may even decide to take some time for yourself away from your family. It's not easy but trust me, you can get over it. It will just take time, but it is possible. And please remember that you don't have any obligation to love your father. Sure, he's your parent and he gave you life, but all the abuse can't be forgotten. Just go your own path, you will decide whether to forgive him or not. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:37 AM   #4
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It sounds like your family is dealing with how your father was by being in denial. Unfortunately, this does happen a lot, it's a way of not dealing with how a parent's negative aspects affected them personally, so it's also being in their own denial about their own issues that came from the dysfunctional ways your father behaved. Also, each child will have their own ways of how the family dynamics affected them personally and how they related to your father and developed a bond with him that you may have never had with him.

Are you the youngest child? The oldest? how many siblings do you have?
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Grief after death of abusive parent

Thank you very much for your kind replies...they helped me. Two things really stood out for me:

Quote: please remember that you don't have any obligation to love your father. Sure, he's your parent and he gave you life, but all the abuse can't be forgotten.

Quote: It sounds like your family is dealing with how your father was by being in denial.

Thank you, MickeyCheeky, for saying that I am not obligated to love my father. Because, you see, I don't/didn't love him. Dare I say it? I was relieved when he died. I certainly did not wish death or any harm on him. I would not wish that on anyone. But I only stopped feeling frightened of him when he died.

I felt an immense pressure from others in my life to feel bad because I ended contact with him and did not see him again until he was dying. In the end, I decided to treat him as though he were an elderly stranger who was ill. I wished him peace and comfort during his coma and after he died.

But the strange thing with abuse is that it does not simply end when the abuser dies. Some of the feelings and questions, for me anyway, just began after his death. Because you see I will never get a "sorry" or "please forgive me" or "you were only a child, you deserved peace and safety." He's gone. He was buried like a hero and here I remain. Living with the memories and confusion and pain.

Thank you, OpenEyes...your points about my family's denial were astute and well-taken. I don't live in denial, you see. It is very important to me to be authentic and speak my truth when possible. I always encourage others to do the same because I think it's healthier.

With regard to your question...I have several siblings. I am neither the eldest nor the youngest. I am sorry if that is too vague...the confidentiality on PC is a comfort to me. I cannot discuss these issues with my family directly. You folks here have given me more empathy and true solace than my family has in a year!!! Is that sad or a good thing?? I'll choose to deem it good...empathy from strangers is no bad thing! Especially when a person came from a fractured and aggressive family.

Peace to all here. I am sorry for your pain and wish you a very bright future!
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:10 AM   #6
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Sending many hugs to you, HopefullyLost1211
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:20 AM   #7
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Iím in the same exact situation. I thought I was alone in that and that no one could understand.
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Old 12-21-2018, 04:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: Grief after death of abusive parent

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefullyLost1211 View Post
I am not sure if this post should belong here or on another thread. I do not want to offend anyone. Has anyone here dealt with the death of an abusive parent?
I am dealing with this currently and it's very confusing and painful. I am further alienated by my dysfunctional family. Over time, they decided to re-write history and speak only of our father as though he were a saint. He was not. He was often cruel; emotionally and verbally abusive of my mother, my siblings, and myself. I lived on the end of his rage (as did my family) until I moved out. I was scared of him until the day he died.
Now that he's gone, I am not sure how to think or feel. I want to respect my family members' own feelings. So when they talk about how much they miss him and what a wonderful man he was, I keep my own thoughts to myself and simply provide messages of comfort. Which seems to be working for them but I feel very alone with my complex reaction. He was not a good father but my family seems to think that abuse only means intense physical or sexual assault. I do not agree. My therapist, back when I was still in therapy, agreed that my father was a very abusive parent and husband.
I do not miss him. But there is a lot of pressure in society to feel obligation to our parents regardless of how they treat(ed) us. And yet, I agree with a person who said "Remember that you do not have a familial obligation to be victimized."
Any thoughts folks?



my grandmother died in a nursing home at the age of 96.

she had severe dimentia at the time, and my family (mom and sister), wouldn't let me contact her in her final years- if I did, the home was instructed to hang up on me and then call the police.

in that sense I did feel a sense of loss- because their was stuff I did want to say to her, stuff I did want to tell her before she went.

I wasn't allowed to be part of the funeral either, I was told " she wouldn't want you their."

on the other hand though, it was really hard for me to feel deep emotion (I mean really deep), because she was extremely abusive when she was living- and actually followed in the footsteps of my mother.. mother abused me, so she abused me too

I didn't properly greev, because as selfish as it sounds, their was nothing really to greeve over- sure I would have liked to tell her stuff and to see her one more time, but I didn't actually miss her (I still don't)

it was the same with my grandfather, I never got to say goodbye to him and I would have liked to see him one moere time, but again when he went, I wasn't so emotional- because once again, he showed a lot of abusive qualities.

I dread when my mother dies. secretly I dread it- I don't know whhy, she's a *****

I think because I've tried so hard to make things right with her and she just doesn't want that- and when she goes I'll somehow feel like I've failed, even though it's not me who's in the wrong.

if i'm making sense..
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:05 AM   #9
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I'm so sorry to hear this, raging vortex Sending many hugs to you
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:23 AM   #10
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My abusive and neglectful mother died almost 4 years ago. I don't miss her because I still have not recovered from her abuse.

To my continued dismay, members of the family still tell me repeatedly how much they miss her and what a good mother she was. That "good" mother never fed her kids breakfast because it was an "unnecessary" meal. She never hugged her kids and gave advice that was always self-serving, e.g., "your problem is that you don't do enough for others."

I have bitten my tongue for many years in order to have some family. It's not easy being unable to express my feelings.
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