Dear Barbara, My father was abusive, a mean man. I left home as a young adult rather than stay in the house with him—-long story. He is dead now and I am finding that I am having a hard time. I’m crying, irritable, not my usual self. I thought people grieved because they missed someone they loved. Am I grieving someone I couldn’t stand?
Not all relationships are good ones and we grieve those losses often even more intensely than the positive ones. It is the unfinished business, the unsaid words that we carry heavily within us.
Write your father a letter. Put all of your thoughts, your feelings, your anger, your "how could you do that?" on paper. Let the anger and the tears flow. It isn't enough to just think the letter. The power is in channeling all the thoughts and emotions into the written word. When all is down on paper burn the letter and scatter the ashes to the wind. Let it go.
Part of grieving is how you channel the feelings. Channel your anger, your disdain into how well you live your life now. Let your life experience be the learning tool you use to guide others in love and understanding. Take your challenging life and turn it into a beacon of kindness, respect and love.
I had a counselor ask me one time if I could find anything positive my father gave me. It was a challenging question as I could find very little. The counselor then asked me if I could thank my father for giving me life? Yes, I could thank him for getting me here.
I ask you the same question. Is there anything you can thank your father for? Any good memories? If not, that’s okay. You are alive, you have the breath to do and be. Bless him for supplying the seed. Let go of the past and live your best life.
Something More... about "Grieving For Someone Who Treated Me Badly..."
I have a booklet about navigating the grief process. It is call My Friend, I Care: The Grief Experience. It may be helpful to you.