For survivors of ritual abuse the amount of loss they have experienced in their lives have surpassed what most people will ever be faced with…because survivors of ritual abuse have experienced such massive and multiple losses in their lives, the survivor may be stuck in the grieving process for many years…I have struggled immensely with all of the losses in my life…I have been overcome by enormous grief for all that I have lost in my life by growing up in a family that exposed me to all of the sickness and horror in the cult… I have been wracked with guilt, denial, anger, fear, depression and despair…the abuse has literally broken my heart into a million pieces…there isn’t one day that goes by that I don’t think of all that I have lost in my life…some days it overwhelms me and its all I can think about…I have dealt with many losses…some of them are:
Some of my losses are:
-Loss of family (My father, mother, sister, relatives)
-Loss of my innocence
-Loss of a ‘sense of safety’ in the world
-Loss of the animals tortured and killed in the cult
-Loss of the babies, children and other people killed in the cult
-Loss of a normal life
-Loss of love
-Loss of protection
-Loss of ever being able to save myself for a man (I never got to be a virgin)
What are the stages of the loss process?
A loss experience involves the following 5 stages of emotional response: (1) denial, (2) bargaining, (3) anger, (4) despair, (5) acceptance.
These 5 stages can happen in sequence or in a variety of sequences…the survivor may go through these stages over and over again with one stage lasting a long time…the survivor may go through the loss process for 6 months or 6 years…going through the stages of loss and grief are normal and to be expected…it is much healthier to acknowledge and face the losses than to ignore, stuff, or deny them…it is important that the survivor takes the time to grieve for all that was lost…in doing this, this will be the way the survivor will be able to heal.
Denying that the loss has occurred
Denying the impact of the loss
Believing that the loss never occurred
Rejecting the truth
Believing you can avoid facing the loss
Denying your anger
Denying your despair
Begging and praying to God that none of this is true
Striking a deal or a bargain with God to make the loss go away
Anger at God for allowing the loss to happen
Anger at God, others, or yourself over the loss
You misdirect your anger at others because you have a hard time dealing with your loss
You become overwhelmed by your loss
You have uncontrollable crying spells
You become very depressed, despondent, and melancholy
You believe you are responsible for your loss
You become over run with extreme guilt and despair
Loss of hope
Loss of faith
You begin to accept and cope with your loss in a healthy way
You begin to think rationally
You are able to express and verbalize your emotional reactions re: your loss in an appropriate and healthy way
You understand that it takes time to deal with the loss
You believe you can get past your loss in time
Hope is restored
Faith is restored
Make a list of all your losses
I believe that in order to heal from all of the losses that you have experienced in your life as a ritual abuse survivor, you need to identify all that you have lost in your life…once you are aware of your losses then you can begin to heal from all the pain, anguish and despair.
Grieving your losses
I feel it is so important that you allow yourself the space and time to really grieve for all that you have lost in your life…this is a painful thing to do but so important in order for you to heal…remember that the grieving process can last for years and may have to be repeated over time…this is normal for most people dealing with regular losses…remember that you are a survivor of ritual abuse and your losses have far outweighed what most people will ever deal with in a lifetime so be kind to yourself…and most of all remember that you are not alone.
Moving beyond your losses
It is possible for you and I to move beyond all of our losses…it will take time…one day at a time to be exact…sometimes if things are really rough and you are in the crisis stage you may have to take it one minute at a time…then one hour at a time…and so on….dealing with loss is tough for anyone...especially for a survivor of cult abuse…but I believe with everything in me that it is possible for you to move forward and beyond your losses.
It is so important to remember that even though we cult survivors have suffered immensely…there is so much more to us than just being a survivor of ritual abuse…we are friends, girlfriends, wives, mothers, etc…we have likes and dislikes…things that make us unique, special…our sensitivity, our love for animals and children, our perceptiveness, our courage, our strength, our artistic abilities, etc
One of the things that will help you in moving beyond your losses is to have a goal and a dream…and when things get tough you keep bringing your focus back to what you want for your future.
I want to be truly happy and free of all of the abuse
I want to write a self-help book on SRA
I want to be a published author
I want to write book after book after book
I want to be a best selling author
I want to get married to the love of my life
I want to have a sense of peace and calm
I want to heal from all of my abuse
Then you take the steps necessary to achieve those goals and dreams…every little tiny step you take in the direction of your goals and dreams will bring you that much closer to achieving your goals and dreams.