How do we grieve an abuser?
I am so grateful to Monique Allen for being willing to share so openly on this episode. This is a conversation that is very underrepresented in the dialogue about grief. There aren’t enough spaces talking openly about grief in any capacity, but in the ones that do exist so often it’s a conversation around healing from the loss of someone described by all as a great person. While no one is perfect, the dead sometimes take on a Saint like quality in the minds of those left behind.
But for some grievers whose loved ones were difficult or even abusive in life, it is not so easy to imagine them with rose colored glasses. Still, the pain and grief of losing someone who was abusive or sometimes hard to love is no less valid and no less painful. I believe this type of grief can be even more complex because of the seeming opposition of the persons imperfection, with our very real feelings of love and heartbreak at their loss. Add to this the trauma from our past interactions with them getting triggered and kicked up by the loss, and you have a very courageous healing journey.
The choice to forgive an abuser is an extremely personal one, but one Monique made for herself and her own healing. If you are grieving an abusive parent (even if they are still alive), a mentally ill loved one or even the loss of a toxic relationship, I hope this conversation is healing for you and a reminder that you are not alone. Regardless of how your person acted in life, your feelings of loss are valid, as are feelings of relief or anything else that comes up. People are complex, and nuanced and multi dimensional and so is loss. And if no one has told you recently, you are so so brave.
Connect with Monique on Instagram @monique.allen and on her business’ account @thegardencontinuum .