Q. My husband of 30 years passed away at my feet on 2/20/2020. My grief has been complicated with unresolved issues of infertility and verbal abuse. I’ve learned he was emotionally unintelligent from his childhood. I’m feeling strong PTSD & wondering at what point should I seek professional help to overcome and be happy again. (via Tumblr)
A. First, I want to begin by saying how incredibly sorry I am for your loss. No matter who they were, losing someone that is such an integral part of our lives is a pain that’s hard to bear. While my words and advice won’t be able to heal you, I hope they can point you in the right direction.
It sounds like you, and your husband had a long and complicated past. When our emotions (and the pain we associate with someone) run that deep, it’s best to get started with a mental health professional right away. That’s especially crucial given your own acknowledgement of PTSD.
We can’t always see our loved ones for who they really were until they are gone, and when we do it can be like being hurt or traumatized all over again. What’s worse, it’s still hard for us to see and admit who they were in some things — even when we know they aren’t coming back.
I would find someone with experience in grief counseling and traumatic relationships. I myself had success on BetterHelp.com in finding someone that could help me manage my own complicated emotions surrounding the passing of my mother and our abusive relationship. I would also check out this book by Dr. Judith Hermanwhich can help you get started in understanding your trauma.
Whatever you do, start right now finding ways to love yourself. You can put your grief in the back pocket to work through slowly with the right person, but you have no time to waste on learning to establish your own self-worth right now in this moment. The more you can love yourself, the more empowered you will become to see reality for what it was and what you want to make it in your future.
Wishing you the best of luck in your continued healing. Stick in there. You’ve got a lot left to look forward to in your life and the chance to make it whatever you want it to be.
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