How To Deal With Grief: What Every Child Abuse Survivor Should Know

"Into each life a little rain must fall." --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Summary: Learning how to deal with grief is actually easy...Getting through the grieving process is what feels hard. It's different for every child abuse survivor, but there are certain "universal truths" that apply to the grieving process and make it easier for you to get through the day.

Do you remember riding a roller coaster for the first time? There was probably a long climb to the top of that first hill, and then -- WHOOSH -- a big drop down. Then maybe the ride went up another hill real fast or turn sideways all of a sudden. You didn't quite know what's going to happen next.


But what does riding a roller coaster have to do about learning how to deal with grief as a child abuse survivor?

Learning how to deal with grief is a bit like riding a roller coaster. During the grieving process, you're going to feel different emotions. You're going to have good days and many not so-good days. You may feel up one day, and down the next. It's completely unpredictable, which can be scary for some people, just like riding a roller coaster. But unlike a roller coaster ride, there are certain universal truths that apply to the grieving process...


Universal truth #1: If you're actively working through your recovery, the unpredictable feelings are a good sign...

They're a sign that you are moving through the grieving process. It's your healing process and moving through it is a big part of how to deal with grief. Just remember that the grieving process, like the roller coaster ride, will eventually settle down. You'll eventually incorporate that loss into your life. So hang in there until the ride is over.

When I was moving through my own grieving process, there were days I felt terribly depressed and days I felt angry, wondering how God could allow something like child abuse to happen to me. But I got through it, and so can you.


Picture of Grief Emotions - Roller Coaster Ride

The Unpredictable Roller Coaster of Grief


Universal truth #2: Everyone will find different ways to deal with grief because grieving is an individual experience...

You know that some people like riding on roller coasters and some don't. Some will get nauseous, some are scared of the heights, and some find it thrilling. Riding on that roller coaster is a different experience for everyone. And so is the grieving process. Some people may cry for days, others may not even shed a tear. It doesn't matter how you grieve, what matters is that you find your own way for handling grief.

As a part of learning how to deal with grief in my own way, I found that physical activity helped me. Running was a good way to channel my anger and stay in shape at the same time. Of course, crying also helped.


Universal truth #3: Taking the time to express your grief is the only way to heal.

So don't try and shut out your feelings. Feel them. Cry, laugh, or express whatever emotion you're feeling fully. If you're a quiet person, try writing about your loss. If you'd rather share it with by talking to someone like a counselor, by all means, do so. If you feel like going back to your normal routine will help, do it. The point is, a part of learning how to deal with grief is taking the time you need and EXPRESSING it. You suffered a huge loss, and the only way to incorporate it into your life and move on is to process it.

Picture of a man alone with God, taking the time to grieve

Take time to grieve...

For the longest time, I constantly stayed busy in order to avoid having to deal with my feelings. One particular summer though I had been doing a lot of reading, and one of the books I read suggested that I take the time to think about my traumatic childhood and see if I could imagine my adult self taking the "little child within" away to safety. This brought on a lot of sadness, and I found myself taking the time to cry. Even though it was hard, it also helped me to heal.

So face your grief fully. Get on that roller coaster and get ready for the ride of your life. You may not want to do it at first, but when it's over, you'll be glad you did.



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