Complicated Grief after a Death of a Loved One or Severe Relationship Abuse

Complicated grief can occur after the death of a loved one, after the suicide of a loved one, and also after a narcissist discards you. 

Complicated grief is like being in an ongoing, heightened state of mourning that keeps you from healing.  Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic Lists the signs and symptoms of complicated grief as follows

  • Intense sorrow and pain at the thought of your loved one
  • Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
  • Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased
  • Problems accepting the death
  • Numbness or detachment
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one

The problems of complicated grief are severe.

People lose touch with their friends and tend to isolate themselves. It is a mammalian response to want to go crawl into your cave and hide. You want to get away from any triggers and have no desire to be around other people.

It can result in losing one’s job and friends. If it continues, complicated grief can lead to very severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

There are factors which can cause a person to be unable to accept the death of a loved one. The death may have been senseless or violent. The death may have been of a young child or teenager. 

This can be a result of miscarriage or still birth. Any death of one’s child can cause mental trauma.

Some people can experience Complicated Grief after the death of a spouse, especially if they are now left to care for a child with no other parent.

The child’s grief only serves to compound the grief of the parent. They have to carry their own grief and the grief of their child for the lost parent. The more the surviving parent claims, internalizes and feels responsible for the suffering of their child, the more likely it will result in Complicated Grief that they cannot seem to recover from.

The child is a constant reminder of the lost partner. The child is grieving the lost parent. This can easily overcome the strongest of people, who are struggling to keep their child and themselves together, in the midst of their own grief.

There is seldom time for them to deal with their own feelings, because they are dealing with their child’s trauma over the death. This repression of feelings, in order to keep going, can cause the grief to not be resolved. The parent needs to get help with their own feelings.

Sometimes people do not understand why their loved one is still in the same state of grief that they were in months ago.

When they comment that the person should be better by now, it makes the person draw into themselves more, which is the opposite of what needs to happen.

There are any number of circumstances in combination with the person’s mental state at the time of the death, that can lead to ongoing grief that does not heal normally.

This is a very serious mental health disorder. It may need to be treated by a mental health professional. Telling a person to “get over it” or making them feel bad for continuing to feel grief, will only cause the person to further isolate themselves.

Complicated grief can also occur after the victim of narcissistic abuse is cruelly discarded. Their reality has been corrupted intentionally by a psychopath or a narcissist. When the abuser discards you, the world that you know completely falls apart.

There is a chemical addiction that the victims of narcissistic abuse suffer from and there are actual physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. There is also a sudden, rude awakening of the reality as they knew it, being shattered.

The realization that you were with someone in an intimate way, that was very dangerous, can be frightening and cause you to question humanity itself.

So, victims of narcissistic abandonment can go through a similar but different experience of Complicated Grief. As I said, it is a severe mental condition and can cause the victim to contemplate suicide.

Not all people that suffer from complicated grief will become suicidal but it does not make their condition less important to get help with. There is a lack of being able to accept the reality of what happened. Every day the person wakes up and re-experiences the death all over again.

Every day is the same trauma replaying itself.

People cannot go one with this level of severe grief and still live and function normally. It can cause destruction to their mental health and to their functionality in life.

If you are or have experienced the symptoms on the list above, you should reach out for proper help. Do not let people tell you that you “should” just get over it. You cannot get over this condition all alone.

It is not a choice that someone makes to stay have Complicated Grief or PTSD.

It is a state that your brain goes into. Your brain is always trying to protect you, but sometimes it does the wrong thing in the process.

The brain is causing the amygdala to work overtime. You become in a state of post traumatic stress. The brain decides to put the fear centers and the pain centers of the brain, into alarm mode. It is trying to defend you against more trauma.

The problem is that you cannot live and function if your brain is keeping the alarms on all the time. We were not designed to tolerate stress and anxiety in an ongoing, continuous manner. 

The fight or flight mode is a chemical reaction in the brain, that wakes up the amygdala and the frontal cortex. It is supposed to get your body ready to fight or to run. It is like that super adrenaline rush you get when someone does something on the road that is about to cause you to crash. 

It is like if someone were to hold a gun up to your head. It is like any kind of severe life threatening situation occurs. One example might be if you saw your baby in severe danger. Your entire body would feel that. Your blood pressure would rise, your heart rate would increase  etc.

PTSD and Complicated grief are similar in that the alarms are in a permanent ON position.

Someone traumatized from narcissistic abuse may have both of these condition –  PTSD and complicated grief. The grief causing the severe sadness and lack of acceptance. The alarms are on that have to do with not wanting to accept the trauma that you have to experience about the death.

People who have lost a loved one and were not prepared for it, can end up with complicated grief. If the death was violent, or there were circumstances that the person’s brain just cannot accept, then they may also have PTSD.

The conditions of  PTSD and Complicated Grief can exists as comorbid conditions in the same person’s brain. 

What the exact thing that is going on the brain is not as important as the fact that the person is in a severe mental disturbance. It is not sustainable for them and they cannot live normally with this ongoing critical mental disfunction.

God bless and protect those that suffer,

Please reach out for yourself and catch the hand of others who are sinking,

Much Love,

Annie

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