Grieving process with complex PTSD

Jan 22, 2019

Biggest fear: if I start crying I won’t be able to stop!!!
I know this sounds crazy and ridiculous, but is this you too?
Interestingly, if I watch a sad movie, I am an emotional mess. 😭 crying throughout the movie and often still after. It’s like I’m feeling the emotions of every character in the movie.
So I feel intense emotions for other people’s suffering and can cry and cry for them, just not about my own losses and sufferings.
Did you know that 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢 𝘛𝘝 📺 for that reason 😂

Truth: I have never been able to talk through any of my traumatic events from my childhood in a cohesive way from start to finish, while staying grounded and present and connected to my feelings.
𝗠𝘆 𝗯𝗼𝗱𝘆 𝘀𝗵𝘂𝘁 𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲. Goes numb and I lose the ability to speak.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to “heal” or I am treatment-resistant or any of those unhelpful labels.

🔎 𝘐𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘶𝘮𝘢 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭.
-> if what you are doing to heal causes you more suffering and feels re-traumatising -> PLEASE Pause and get curious about what else you could try.

You can always get back to that thing you are doing later.

🔎 There is no one solution to healing from childhood trauma. In fact please stay clear from any professional who tries to tell you e.g. >>EMDR/somatic experiencing/mindfulness etc<< is the one and only treatment that works for cPTSD.
🔎 Childhood trauma affects our brain, body, sense of self in complex ways, so no one approach is equipped to deal with it all.
🔎 Different people respond to different approaches better. And that’s ok
🔎 Different approaches work better at different stages of your healing.

I strongly belief it is my curiosity and willingness to try different things helped me transform my life to what it is today. I have so much joy and inner peace, feel connected to people, feel full of energy and balanced (mostly of course I have off days).

Yet still to this day I have never told anyone my full story of any traumatic childhood events. It’s not even one of my goals to try and do so.
💛 Please don’t let anyone push you into telling your story or try to convince you that’s what’s needed for recovery and healing.
💛 Do what feels right to you in the moment. That’s were the healing is! Reclaiming that power and using our voice to speak up
I believe in you!

Below is a video and some more information grieving and brain function

Have you ever felt like you're stuck in this grieving phase on your healing journey with complex PTSD?

That intense sadness and heavy pain… if you’ve got complex PTSD, not only are your PTSD symptoms complex, but also the grieving process is complex.

People may have suggested to you to “just let it go” or “just move on” … Well that’s not helpful advice!

There’re several reasons why the grieving process is so complex for us with cPTSD.

Let me explain two of them now 😊

  1. If the trauma happened early in your childhood,

you may have missed the milestone where you learn to regulate your emotions. Life was just too chaotic, unsupportive and dangerous at that time of our life.

When it comes to regulation of emotions, people generally think about difficulties with regulating anger. But for us it includes all emotions, e.g. anxiety and fear, sadness and grieving, excitement, joy, pleasure, …

The minute any sensation comes up in our body, it quickly feels like “oh my gosh, it's gonna be way overwhelming… I’m not going to be able to cope…”

... and if you’re like me, my number one coping mechanism is shut down, go numb or dissociate. This really stopped my grieving process, because every time there was a sense of sadness coming up, I dissociated, hence I was never able to cry. I couldn't process that heavy pain. Instead I shut down all emotions...

 I’m curious to hear, if you’re stuck here too for that same reason.

  1. All the trauma and abuse affected the way our brain developed and functions.

From brain scans we can see that the area called anterior cingulate gyrus often works too hard in trauma survivors. That results in us getting stuck on thoughts and ruminating on thoughts, including being stuck ruminating on grief and pain.

(find out more about brain function and register for this free educational webinar now)

So there's a physiological reason there, why this is so difficult for us and why we can't just let it go…

While searching for information I stumbled across Kübler-Ross’s work on the stages of grieving. It's a simplistic version and her work was designed for people with terminal illness and not cPTSD.

But it helped me to realize just how complex the grieving process is. There is so much more to grieving than I realize.

For example “DENIAL” is one stage of grieving according to Kübler-Ross. I was stuck in denial for many years. It was too painful to think about my past… (I used to be a workaholic to avoid thinking about the past…

Other stages of grieving are shock, testing, anger, bargaining and depression…

So the grieving process was way more complex than I imagined. It took me a long time to work through this. I was stuck in different stages over the years.

But I’d like to share one thing that really kept me stuck.

(This may not be an issue for you, but it sure kept me stuck 😊)

All the trauma and abused caused me so much pain.

There was so much pain within me and I wanted people to see just how damaging and painful the trauma and abuse I been through was for me. I wanted some form of acknowledgment…

So, I clung on to that pain, because I believed that

  • pain was my only evidence that this trauma & abuse ever happened. There’s really no other evidence or signs
  • having a joyous, successful, happy life now, would tell others that what happened to me wasn’t really that bad

This is just not true. No amount of happiness, joy, love, peace, pleasure, success we’ll have now or in future will ever take away the fact that what happened to us was not ok. It was in fact abuse, which is an illegal and criminal offence. That will never change.

This was my number one reason I clung on to all that pain, sadness, mourning, grieving… for so long. Really, way longer than necessary.

So here you go 😊 Please let me know your thoughts on that too. What kept you stuck or trapped in the grieving phase?

 For more videos hop on over and check out my YouTube Channel 

Here are the recordings from FB lives where I shared tips, practices and tools that helped me on my healing journey 


Do you feel disconnected from your body? This is a normal coping mechanism to survive the trauma but puts as at great risk of developing burnout and disease in adulthood. This video series is for you to become more aware of all the different ways your body is talking to you and some practices, tips and exercises.  


Please repin and share if you find this useful... Let's try and reach all those brave hearts out there, suffering in isolation...

In the meantime, I'm sending you lots and lots of love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little.