How do you grieve?

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blues_cruise

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How do you grieve?
« on: March 01, 2020, 02:22:57 PM »
I was triggered today in the kitchen when I was cooking breakfast and my husband manoeuvred around me collecting things to load up in the dishwasher. I felt discomfort and a bit of revulsion and I knew I was emotionally flashing back to living alone with my father as a teenager. Emotional incest was rampant and I never liked being in a dressing gown or pyjamas around him (as I was this morning, but with my lovely, safe husband). After my mum died it always felt like he treated me as a substitute wife rather than a daughter and he had no concept of giving me space or privacy. It always felt icky and wrong, particularly with the covert sexual remarks or personal comments that would sometimes come up.

I was really agitated and wanted to process this flashback, and I ended up trying out the steps in this article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/mindful-anger/201804/9-steps-healing-childhood-trauma-adult It ended up with me crying my heart out and then feeling a sense of peace and true validation of what I had gone through. This is the first time I have ever managed this and it sounds odd to say that I was thrilled at crying, but it felt so good to finally release this emotion and grieve!

I'm now wondering if anyone else has successfully experienced this. I come from a family where expressing emotion was just not the done thing and I would be ridiculed as a small child for crying. My SIL remarked at my mother's funeral when I was a teen that she was shocked that myself and my brothers didn't cry, and looking back I'm shocked myself that I was so closed off because I remember having a lump in my throat and wanting, no needing, to cry but feeling like it was unsafe to show so much emotion in front of people. I feel like everything I was ever taught in my family regarding emotion was just so wrong and toxic.  :no:

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Hope67

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Re: How do you grieve?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2020, 02:59:39 PM »
Hi Blues_cruise,
I really relate to what you wrote here.  I also experienced emotional incest within my family, and really relate to what you wrote about the icky and wrong feeling of those things.  I also recognise covert sexual remarks and personal comments. 

I'm so glad that you found the article helpful - I must look at it too - I should have looked at it before trying to write my reply to you here, but I really wanted to tell you that I relate to what you wrote. 

Expressing emotion was also very much reacted to in negative ways within my family.  I am so sorry that you were ridiculed as a small child for crying.  Being unsafe to show emotion in front of people, that's such a heavy and restrictive and negative thing to have to live with.  I am so glad that you have been able to express some emotion and grieve. 

If a hug feels supportive, then I'd like to send you a safe and supportive hug  :hug:
Hope  :)

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blues_cruise

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Re: How do you grieve?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2020, 01:17:07 PM »
Thank you so much Hope. :hug: It really is such a comfort that someone relates and understands the horrible, weird feelings stemming from emotional incest, though I'm really sorry that you had to experience it too. I think the emotional incest is the thing I struggle with most and I find it so confusing. It's something that anyone could easily write off as me being too sensitive about if I were to openly talk about it to people who haven't been through it. It was covert comments and an unsettling atmosphere/discomfort rather than outright sexual abuse, and yet I know how disgusting it made me feel and he even recalling it makes me feel shame and disgust.

It does feel good to get in touch with my real emotions and to express them healthily, as you say, it is so restrictive and negative to not feel safe enough to do so. I wasn't allowed to make noise as a child either and I remember being yelled at just for happily skipping, which I look back on and just feel so sad about. I now make a point of skipping about in my kitchen as a big "nerrr" to him.  ;D ;)

 :)

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saylor

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Re: How do you grieve?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2020, 04:48:15 PM »
Hi blues,
There are some additional resources on covert incest that you might find helpful if you’re not already aware of them

One is a podcast called Mental Illness Happy Hour (kinda weird name, but...). The guy who hosts it talks about his covert incest by his mother and how it has caused him a lot of difficulty mental-health wise (he ended up going NC with her because of it). The podcast isn’t specifically about covert incest, but he sometimes has guests on who experienced it, and since he did as well, the topic does come up a lot. In general, it’s a great podcast

The second is a book that the podcast host highly recommends, called Silently Seduced

I’m sorry about what you went through with your father. My own F was pretty “inappropriate” with me and my sibling, and I know about the ick factor

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Bach

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Re: How do you grieve?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2020, 05:42:36 PM »
Hi, blues_cruise,

I can relate to being thrilled at having a really good cathartic cry.  I can do that once in a very great while, but very seldom can I do it when I most need to.  I've been dealing with some really heavy mother stuff lately and wish, wish, wish that I could cry about it, but all I can do is whimper or blubber a little bit.  I even tried to watch a really emotional TV show yesterday in the hopes it would get me going, but no.  I'm going to save the article you posted and read it when I next have some time for myself to get into it.  Grieving is really important and is so hard to do.

Emotional incest is confusing to me, I just read an article about it and most of what it describes didn't happen to me.  But then there was this:

I was exposed to sex talk from a very young age. I knew all about sex by the age of 5 and was aware of every man my mom slept with, how the sex was and details thereof. As I got older, this boundary became even more blurred when it came to privacy. I was often told that she was entitled to look at me naked because I came out of her body, as if that ascribed some kind of ownership of my body to her… Even after I was married, my mother always asked about how our sex life was. Did we have “nookie nookie”? [She] seemed to live vicariously through me in an odd perverted way.

That matches pretty closely with my experience.