When do we get to grieve?

February 10, 2021

Grief seems to get both triggered and hindered in so many ways. Flashbacks trigger grief. But flashbacks also trigger avoidance. Part of me wants to feel and remember and process–to take the power out of the flashbacks. But I also do not want to go there. That’s why those memories are buried or, at least, pushed away.

I used to wonder why even good memories would feel overwhelming. I think I am beginning to understand. Experiencing horrific things causes us to shut down our ability to feel. We find any way possible to go numb. From what I have read and learned, it is very difficult to separate negative from positive emotions in the sense of allowing only one type to go through the filters we put up.

Even if we could fine tune our filters, there is another problem. We grew up with bait and switch and constant deception. When something good was offered, it was often either substituted with something negative or withheld until after something negative or led into something negative. So, even the “good” events and “good” memories are so often attached to negative (even horrific) ones.

So, almost all memories, both positive and negative, actually lead to/are connected to something negative. Do I remember enjoying something with my mother? There is the manipulation always lurking in the background…and worse buried deep in my psyche behind the veil of amnesia.

Thinking of my sister is hard. I really have very few memories of her growing up. We lived in the same house, but my memories (except a rare handful) do not include her. It is as if she only visited once in a very great while. I know that is not true, but I have so thoroughly blocked her. Or, maybe, they blocked her for me. Or both.

When I had some memory recall two decades ago, I remembered enough about the relationship my sis and I had to not really want to remember any more. I was trained well and I became her trainer. Or, at least, cotrainer. They are always there making sure we do it “correctly”, leading and guiding us in their evil sickness.

So, I find myself avoiding memories. When they come, I allow myself to grieve as best I can. But it always feels incomplete. Grief is hard. Grief is triggering. It’s hard to process when feeling overwhelmed, but I know of no other way through it. But the shutdown of the flow of both memories and emotion is automatic. How do we turn off that automatic valve which is there for our protection?

I have no easy answers, especially as a survivor of such horrific things. I just do the best I can to allow myself to sit in the emotions triggered by the brief snippets of memory I have, by the photos I see, by the dates passing by. (It’s my sis’s upcoming birthday that got me into this post.)

It is my desire–my prayer–that all of us survivors find a way to grieve, even if we have to make it happen. In fact, maybe making it happen is the answer. Instead of waiting to be hit, I can take some time to choose to go there. I can be the master controller of the process. Maybe. Obviously, I would need to be prepared.

I just know I need to do something. It seems as if the walls of separation are starting to crumble and I had better be able to handle it. And I would rather handle it on my terms. Is it date programming? Age programming? Just the natural progression of aging and healing and growing? It could be any of those, all three of them or even some other option.

I live in a heavy cult area. They are everywhere, even in the places and groups that are supposed to be “safe”. It is absolutely imperative I trust G-D for my safety.

One comment

  1. […] only guess. But I think I am a pretty good guesser. I wrote previously asking the question, “When do we get to grieve?” So many losses, but survival came first. So, grieving was not […]

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