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Complicated grief

Community Member


So an abusive grandparent passed away about 5 years ago. To this day, I still have mixed feelings about her passing.

Most days, I try not to think about her passing. In fact, most days, I try not to think about her at all. Nonetheless, she's often at the back of my mind.

When she was around, I used to write a lot. I lived in my own head. Imagination was my escape.

But when she passed away, something inside me died too. I stopped writing, and I barely engage in any sort of creative writing these days. I'm fine with uni assessments and stuff like that but I don't really write creatively if that makes any sense.

It feels weird but it feels as though I've lost some of my ability to imagine and create, which I'm sad about, and the turning point was her passing.

Most days I feel okay- as in I have somewhat accepted- my past and her passing. But some days, like last night, I suddenly felt like I was 5 again, and just wanted to crawl into a ball and cry.

And the hardest part is sometimes I think that I'm doing okay but then it sort of all starts hurting again (and I often can't pinpoint the trigger). And I remember.

Dottie x

63 Replies 63

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Dottie,

I see you have been around the forum a little while but I don't think our paths have crossed.

How very brave of you to post. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you everything is going to be okay. It will be okay and this moment will pass.

How dare adults abuse in anyway little children. It is complicated especially when it is a member of your family, did you live with your grandmother? Childhood abuse is very hard to overcome as is post traumatic stress and I suspect you may have both of these demons.

I also know that feeling of life is sort of okay then whammy you get hit in the face with something and the terror return. I've spent my fair share of time crying in the foetal position.

Sweetie, I'm sorry to ask the same questions you may have been through before but have you sought any help from a doctor or counsellor? Of course the lovely BB forum people are here with their experiences and support and you can post anytime.

You are not alone nor did you deserve to be mistreated. You deserve a beautiful life filled with love and joy. You deserve to be able to be creative just because you like being creative. These are your rights, don't let the beasties in your head win, this is your life fight for it!

Hugs, x

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Dottie

Like Wednesday, this is the first time we have crossed paths. It's good to talk to you even though it is not a good topic. My guess about you not being able to write in a creative way is that you used this to escape your grandmother. Now there is no need to escape in the same way and your need for creativity has dropped. Possibly you feel a little guilty that she has gone and you are now free to do what you want. Don't know and I may well be talking through my hat. But it's a thought.

Regardless of whether grandma's death has anything to do with your creativity, you still have a lot of anger and pain towards her. May I suggest you write a letter to grandma, telling her how you felt when she was abusing you and how it affected your life. These things take a while to get over and the effects can last a while. Write down all the hurts she inflicted and what this meant to you.

No need to write it all at once. Take time to say everything and reflect on what happened, not brood. There is a difference. Then when you have finished give yourself a check-up. How do you feel about grandma? Can you forgive her? Remember forgiveness is not about letting someone off the hook. It's about letting go of your hurt and releasing all the stored anger. It's all about you. It's also about understanding her anger to some extent and why she acted in that way, but this you may not know. Forgiveness and compassion go together but not always at the same time. Compassion may come later.

I hope this is helpful for you. Would love to know.


What you do with the letter is up to you. Keep it, burn it, bury it, whatever feels right to you. You will feel so much lighter when you reach this stage.

Community Member

You're awesome Dots.

I stopped writing for ages after my Dad took his own life.

I found his diary in his study and after reading that I couldn't write.

I went completely blank. Burnt it in the fire hoping it would help and it didn't really.

I can still see the words on those pages in my minds eye.

It's the strangest kind of loneliness living with someone that says they don't want to live. We all like to think that we alone, would be worth hanging around for, but to discover that the love you give isn't enough anyway, sucks. Really sucks.

Interpersonal abuse is very complex. And don't minimise or compare yours to others if you can. It's just a sneaky way your mind tries to deny it. It's a head spin. Absolute head spin.

I personally think that it is a blessing that it 'waves' over a long period of time and doesn't 'flood' you.

Floods overwhelm. Waves can be surfed.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
dear Dottie, how sorry I feel for you because to be abused in any way is absolutely horrific and I have always detested this kind of behaviour and always will.
Maybe you were writing as a way to sort of self medicate, although no medicine was involved but by writing would take your mind off what was done to you and definitely your way to escape.
Doing your uni assessments is different than writing to yourself, the first one is to complete a degree which you want to achiev, while the other way is just to distract those evil thoughts.
At the moment you are suffering from PTSD which I can't really diagnose you as I'm not qualified, but now is the time to see your doctor who can then send you onto a psychologist under the mental health plan, which entitles you to 10 free visits.
Please don't struggle with this by yourself, because it's virtually impossible to overcome this by yourself, where at times you may think that you are fine but then a few days later you crash, please now you have to look after yourself here. Geoff. x

Community Member

Thank you Wednesday, White Rose, Cornstarch and Geoff,

I don't know how to articulate how much your support means to me. Whether you can empathise from firsthand experience or not, your words all meant a lot.

This is especially as I realise that you all have your own struggles- even if I don't know what they are- but still took the time to respond so thoughtfully and empathetically.

I was seeing a psychologist for a number of years but stopped this year because I thought that I was fine. My brain went something like "woo, I'm 'cured'! I'm outta here!" And things were pretty good for a while.

Cornstarch, I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like to have a father die by suicide. And to have gained access to some of his final thoughts in his diary. The word that comes to mind is mindf**k.

I've stumbled upon your posts here and there so I have some (however vague) idea of what you've been through. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for responding despite what you're going through. It means more than you may realise. And you're right, it is complex.

Thanks again everyone, I've some thinking to do.

Dottie xxx

I was seeing a psychologist for a number of years but stopped this year because I thought that I was fine. My brain went something like "woo, I'm 'cured'! I'm outta here!" And things were pretty good for a while.

Everyone does this Dots.

It's healthy.

We all get absolutely sick and tired and bored and frustrated and fed up with the story and the narrative. And yet it haunts us.

God love ya Dots you're a high achiever. I can smell it. So you like to achieve results, you like to see progress etc etc etc.

Don't you hate duality and boomerangs.

I give you a HD and a WAM of 99.9

Organic Heirloom Corn of Sun and Sea.

Hi Cornstarch,

Yeah, it certainly does haunt. As much as I like to pretend it doesn't, it does haunt.

You're very perceptive 😊 I'll never match your wit so I won't even try ha, ha. But you're right, I am a perfectionist. I would definitely prefer to think about grades than this, that's for sure.

Thanks Organic Corn.

Dottie x

And Cornstarch,

I don't know...I'm not saying anything groundbreaking- and I wouldn't be the first person to think- so but behind your joking and what not, you're smart. Really smart. Just keep being you and doing your thing.

Dottie x

You're a perfectionist.

And I am psychic.

It's how I stay close to Mum.


Peas and Pods.