Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Five Stages of Grief (Part 2)

It is very common for someone who is coming to terms with sexual abuse in the past to grieve. One of the first responses of grief is denial. A second stage in responding to grief is anger.

A third stage of grief is bargaining with God for relief from the awful event and its conse­quences. You may find yourself secretly trying to cut a deal with God, vowing to change your behavior and perceived failures if He will just take the pain and the memories away.

Another stage of grief is depression when you realize that the past can never be changed. It's the feeling of overwhelming sadness or hopelessness over what happened to you. Depression may be accompanied by fear, anxiety or insecurity about facing that person again. Intense loneliness is another facet of depression. You may want to iso­late yourself from others in order to keep your past a secret. In doing so, you will cut yourself off from the friends and loved ones who can help you.

The final stage of grief is acceptance. As time goes by and the other stages of grief diminish, you will be able to accept the reality of your abuse and begin to deal with it constructively. Even as this stage becomes dominant, you may still experience pangs of denial, anger and depression. But they will be minimal compared to the more positive sense that God is working out your experience to bring something good out of it (see Rom. 8:28).

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