Monday, August 10, 2009

The Five Stages of Grief (Part 1)

It is very common for someone who is coming to terms with sexual abuse in the past to grieve. It is common to bury the deep pain of being vio­lated physically, mentally and emotionally as a child. Now that the incidents have come to light, the pain returns and the person must grieve the loss of the sanctity of his or her body. The grieving process, which may continue for several weeks or months, has five clearly identifiable stages. No two people go through the process in exactly the same way, and the stages often overlap and recur.

One of the first responses of grief is denial. You may find yourself at times unwilling to believe that such a terrible thing happened to you. You may have been stuck in denial for years as you kept the abuse a secret. One of the ways your mind and emotions will try to handle the shock of your grief is to say, "No way, this did not happen to me."

A second stage in responding to grief is anger. When grappling with the inevitable ques­tion, "Why did this happen?" you may find your­self lashing out angrily because there is no reasonable answer to that question. You have been violated and shamed, and it seems terribly unfair. You may be angry over the circumstances that led to the abuse or you may feel anger toward the person who abused you. You may be angry at God for allowing it to happen. Your anger may even be directed at yourself because you suspect that you were somehow to blame for what happened. (To be continued)

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