Grieving The Pathological Loss–The Personal Side Part II

Last week we began talking about the grief process as it pertains to ending the relationship with your dangerous (and often, pathological) person. Even though the relationship was damaging and maybe you even initiated the break up, it doesn’t stop the necessary grieving. Women are then shocked to find themselves grieving at all given how abusive, damaging, or horrible the relationship was. She tells her self she should be grateful to be out and negates her own feelings of loss. The end of a relationship always constitutes a loss whether he died or whether the relationship merely ended–the heart recognizes it as the same–which is “loss.”

I also mentioned last week that grief is natural. It’s an organic way the body and mind tries to rid itself of pain. That’s why it’s so necessary because if you did not grieve you would have no way to eventually be out of pain. Grief is the way a person moves through the loss and to the other side of health and healing. Without grief there wouldn’t even be a POTENTIAL for healing because grief must occur for healing to later occur. To stuff your grief or try to avoid it is to sabotage your own ability to heal. So for every person trying to work through the ending of a relationship, grief is the healthiest response.

Some of the losses associated with the end of the relationship were discussed last week (and you can read any of our previous Sandra Says articles). Many of you wrote me to talk about the ‘personal side’ of grief–the other aspects that were lost because of the dangerous relationship and must be grieved.

These include the loss of:

  • your own self respect
  • the respect of others
  • your ability to trust your own instincts
  • loss of self identity
  • loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • the loss of the trust of others
  • the loss of your own dignity
  • the loss of hope
  • the loss of joy
  • the loss of the belief that you can ever be different

These significant personal losses may not always be recognized as ‘grief’ but more as all the deficits that have been left behind because of the pathological relationship. Although he is gone, this is his mark upon your life and your soul. These losses reflect the loss of your self and your own internal personal resources. Stripped away is your ability to recognize your former self, the ability to tap into what was once the strength that helped you in life, and to respect your self and your life choices.

Of all the things that need grieving, women indicated these personal losses are the most devastating. Because in the end, she is all that she has –when he is gone, she must fall back on her self for her healing. But what is left, is an empty shell of a former life. A garden that is over grown with weeds and in disrepair. A once stately estate that has been vandalized and abandoned. To begin the arduous task of healing and repair requires that she turn inward and draw on her resources. But what was there is now gone. She may want to begin the healing from the pathological relationship but is stopped short in her tracks by the necessary grieving of all things internal that are now gone or damaged. Clearly, the first step is to grieve. Let us know if we can help you begin the first step.

(**Information about pathological love relationships is in our award winning book Women Who Love Psychopaths and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions. See the website for more info.)