When Your Abuser or Abandoner Dies: How to Cope

“Don’t speak ill of the dead.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that saying at some point in your life. I’ve heard it for decades and wondered where that phrase came from. I found the origins of this saying date back to Roman times. In Latin the phrase is: “De mortuis nil nisi bonum.” People used to believe if you said bad things about someone who died it would cause their spirit to come back and haunt you.

It’s time for a new saying and a new way of talking and thinking about this aspect of death.

If the person who abandoned you or abused you dies, you get to speak ill of them. You get to speak the truth about what they did to you, what pain they caused you, and how it changed you.

The question for victims of abuse or abandonment is always this: who do you feel safe talking to?

Before I continue on this topic, though, I want to offer the following information for readers.

Special Note for 13-25 year olds:   If you are between the ages of 13-25 and someone is abusing you now, or has in the past, or you have been abandoned/thrown out of your home, and you don’t know where to turn for help, please think about using the Crisis Text Line to get help.

The Crisis Text Line (CTL) is available anywhere in the United States. It is a nationwide toll free texting service, available 24/7, for young people in crisis. CTL can help with issues such as physical and sexual abuse, abandonment, coping with death, bullying, cutting, and drug and alcohol issues and more. *There is no cost above the usual text message cost your plan may charge.

Just text “LISTEN” to 741-741 and text them a message about what you are dealing with and a trained specialist will help you stay safe and connect you to someone in your area who can help you. You can learn more about Crisis Text Line services and how CTL works on their webpage www.crisistextline.org.

When you find out that the person who abused you or abandoned you has died, you may feel relief that they are dead. You may also relive those deep emotions of fear, pain, or anxiety and feel like their victim all over again – even if it’s been years since you last saw them or you’ve had years of therapy. I see the whole spectrum of responses to the death of an abuser/abandoner in my probate practice.

Death has a way of triggering deep-seeded, long forgotten memories that your brain retains. I’m not talking about what toy your sister took from you when you were 10, or what slight you suffered at the hands of a family member at the holiday dinner table. This is about the tangible pain and recall of horrific events you experienced as the victim of abuse or abandonment.

Every day an abuser or abandoner dies, but their victims don’t talk about what they suffered and what this death means to them. We need to talk about it, though, because when the phone rings to tell you that your abuser has died, you can suddenly find yourself back in the moment as the child who was abandoned, the wife who was abused, or the victim who was raped. We need to know what this death can trigger, and how to cope in those first moments, days, weeks.

I am not a psychologist, but I do counsel people who are in crisis because someone has died. I offer these suggestions below based on my own experience of working with victims of abuse or abandonment in situations of the death of their abuser or the abandoner.

If you are the victim of abuse or abandonment and you have just learned that your abuser/abandoner has died, please pick up the phone and call your closest friend or your therapist, if you have one, for help.

Please do not be alone with this news, let someone help you.

If you do not have close friends you feel you can share this information with, please call a hotline dedicated to crisis assistance with the issues you are facing. You can find hotlines dedicated to assisting people in crisis through Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other major search engine. There are so many crisis lines that I cannot list them all here. The important thing is to not be alone with this experience.

If you get a call from a friend in crisis, I offer the following practical suggestions of actions you can take that might help alleviate some of your friend’s pain and suffering, and give them support in those first moments, days or weeks after a death.

  1. Do you want me to stay on the phone with you or do you want me to come to your house?

That is the first question you should ask when you get one of these calls. If your friend lives within the same city or you can reach them quickly, offer to go over and be with them if possible. Your physical presence can help calm that person and support them.

Don’t be surprised if the person says they don’t know the answer to that question.  They are in crisis; just keep them talking on the phone until you can work out a plan for someone to get to them physically, either you or a friend who lives closer.

If you can’t physically get to them, then assure them you will stay on the phone with them as long as they need you to listen. Once they calm down, make it clear that at the end of the call, the two of you will have agreed to a plan for how the rest of their day is going to play out.

For example, is there a friend nearby who can get over there quickly until you can arrive?

Does someone need to call the person’s boss to get some time off approved for this friend so they don’t lose their job for not showing up for a shift?

Do they need to see a therapist for emergency professional counseling?

You have to think about whether your friend is at risk for harming themselves (alcohol/drugs/cutting/suicide)?  If so, get them emergency mental health counseling, this is not a situation you should or could handle by yourself.

You may not feel qualified to answer any of those questions. You may even be wondering why they called you out of all their friends.

The short answer is this: none of the “why you” questions you might ask yourself while on the other end of this call matter. They called you, so you need to be present with them and honor their request for your help at this time of crisis.

  1. Listen, and keep listening, for as long as they need to get their pain out verbally.

People are like boats on an ocean, we get rocked off our centers by these waves of emotion around events of death – especially when they blindside us and crash into us. People usually return to their center again and calm down if they can just talk out their initial shock and pain at knowing their abuser or the person who abandoned them has died. Your job is to listen and hear what they are saying.

If the person who died had abused/raped your friend, then you can reassure them that this person can no longer hurt them or anyone else. They no longer have to worry about seeing the abuser on a street, on a bus, or when they open their front door. The abuser is gone from this earth, and your friend has learned they never have to be in an abusive relationship again. Get them to a professional counselor, if they are not already seeing a therapist, as soon as you can.

If the person who died abandoned your friend, that’s a harder road. Usually, children who have been abandoned still have hope of finding some way to have a relationship with that parent/brother/sister/child/friend/ex-spouse and death cuts off that hope.

In some cases it’s an adult child who abandoned the parent and the parent is your friend. What if that adult child has died and the parent is the one grieving because they had always hoped for reunion and relationship with their adult child?

Whatever the circumstances, these friends need professional counseling to help them sort through all of those feelings, so get them the resources they need as soon as you can.

You can’t be their mental health counselor, unless that’s your career, but you can be the friend who makes that appointment for them and takes them to see someone who can help them.

  1. Get emergency professional counseling, if needed.

Emergency counseling is hard to find, but it does exist, and in these situations, look everywhere you can think of to find it if you think your friend is at risk of harming themselves. If your friend is already seeing a counselor, call that professional and book an appointment.

Here are several possible sources for emergency and non-emergency professional counseling:

a)      The person’s health insurance company, which should have resources for referral for counseling options.

b)      If the person’s employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), call that 800 line, it’s usually listed somewhere in their employee handbook for health coverage information, or can be obtained from the human resources office/website of their employer. EAP may have access to emergency counseling for your friend.

c)       If they are religious, call their spiritual leader/counselor for help.

d)      Call the local hospital triage line to see what, if anything, they can offer.

e)      Call or text a crisis hotline and get help.

If professional counseling is not immediately available, gather the friends around and form a supportive network for the friend who is experiencing this death. They may want someone to sleep over with them so they are not alone. They could use food brought to the house that can easily be rewarmed (soups are good) and will last in the fridge a few days so they don’t have to think about food prep. Whoever is staying with them needs to monitor food and water intake to make sure they are eating and drinking plenty of water.

Some Practical Advice on Getting Through the Days and Nights.

If your abuser or abandoner has died, there are practical things I encourage you to pay attention to in the first days after you learn of this death.


If you are caring for a friend who is going through this experience of a death of an abuser or abandoner, please consider the following suggestions as guidelines for your friend who is in crisis.

  1. Drink water, especially if you have stopped eating. Our bodies react to trauma/shock in different ways – some people just stop taking in food altogether. Victims of abuse and abandonment tend to replay in their minds all of the abuse they suffered, or the history of their abandonment. Make sure you drink water and stay hydrated. This is a huge stress event for your body and the body needs water. It may sound like a weird thing to focus on, but my experience in these situations is that dehydration makes things much worse.
  2. Get moving physically. You need to move your body in some form of exercise – walk around the block, in a park, on the beach, in the woods, go for a run, go workout, whatever you usually do for exercise do it! Get moving again, outdoors if possible, it helps bring down the level of anxiety and may help you feel hungry and start to eat properly. Exercise helps us feel in control of our bodies, for those who suffered abuse, this is especially important so you feel in control of your physical body in the midst of this experience.
  3. Find ways to relax your muscles. When human beings get stressed our muscles tense up and it’s hard to relax, making it even harder to sleep and to cope. Take hot showers, soak in a tub with Epsom salts, do yoga, and/or get therapeutic massage. Massage can help the body release the muscle strain caused by the trauma of learning of this death and reliving those memories.
  4. Meditate, pray, chant, find a spiritual outlet for your fear and anger if you can, the main rule is don’t hold the pain, shock, fear, or anxiety inside, let it out, get it out.
  5. Remember at this time how much you are loved and cherished in the present, by your family, your friends, and/or by those you help in the world. No matter what has happened in the past, whether you were abused or abandoned, you are a gift to those who know you now. Think about how much you have helped others, what you mean to everyone who knows you. Talk to a friend or a crisis line counselor or write in a journal about what you are learning about yourself in this trauma. You may have some new insights into this person who abused/abandoned you and how that experience shaped your own life/values/passions/goals.
  6. Get laughing again. Watch a ridiculous, funny movie, go to a comedy club, sit around with friends and tell the stupidest jokes you know, watch people tell jokes on YouTube, or watch a funny show on TV. Laughter is the best medicine and it’s free! Why do I recommend laughter? Laughing is an interruption in the ongoing reliving of the abuse or story of abandonment you may be experiencing in your brain right now, so laughter helps to heal by bringing you back to the present moment, where you are safe and loved.

Some people feel relief that their abuser is dead. That’s perfectly normal, but other emotions may follow after that initial relief, like anger that this person never had to answer for what they did to you in a court of law, or to you, personally, or to your family if they abused everyone. It’s still a big change in your world when your abuser dies. Please let a close friend, crisis line counselor, or therapist know what you are going through even if you think you are doing fine.

And remember, you get to speak ill of the dead if they abused or abandoned you.

Advice to Friends Helping Friends in Crisis

The simple act of being physically and/or emotionally present can be comforting and calming to someone who is in crisis. When someone is in pain, they want to be heard by another human being and know that they are not alone in the world.

So if you get a call from a friend in crisis because their abuser/abandoner has died, please consider the following information.

When someone reveals their past abuse to you, and is in crisis because their abuser has died, never say “sorry to hear that, dude, I’ll pray for you” and then hang up on them. And yes, that is actually a real life response a young man in crisis got from a friend the day after his abuser died. The “I’ll pray for you, click” response does not cut it in a friendship.

Believe it or not, this is unfortunately a typical response from a circle of friends. We don’t like messy situations; we don’t want to hear directly from another person about their pain, it’s uncomfortable. We resort to these generic, get off the phone fast statements, or quick text messages that make us feel better but allow us to avoid having to be present with another human being who is in pain.

Prayers are nice, but this human being on the other end of the phone with you, or standing in front of you, has trusted you in the present moment to help them deal with a painful experience of life. You are called at that moment to listen with your full attention, to look them in the eye if you are physically with them, to assure them that you hear them, that you hear their words and see their pain.

Abusers and abandoners die every day, and their victims need to be able to talk about what happened to them, without being judged, to people who will listen and be present with them and care for them.




  1. Thank for your sharing. The permission it creates, and the vision for a new way of dealing with these situations, is brilliant.

    1. Thank you,Ben! This was a challenge to write but important information to put out there – so often victims of abuse isolate themselves. My intention is to create a space where any topic related to death, even the most uncomfortable one, can be discussed.

  2. Thank you! Wow, really hit the nail on the head. So many things I read were spot on. I am so glad that I found this website. Answers so many questions, and yes… I have a right to feel the way I do. And I CAN speak ill of the dead! Thank you!

  3. Death is inescapable. There is The Creator up above is waiting for you once your spirit had been released from its physical being. Our Lord is the Alpha and the Omega and in my situation my abuser has met his Omega. The man I experience my first real everything. My first real long term relationship (by choice I didn’t want to be held down in my early years), my first True love, the first and only man who struck me in such a violent fashion. Wait, correction the second, but my first boyfriend, the first was my father. Regardless of the fact that the first occurrence was super early into our relationship I, like the majority of most women, are quick to forgive and forget, with no gear or second though of this becoming a repeated situation. Not only did it become a repetitive pattern, so did the emotional abuse and manipulative slow stripping of my self confidence, friendships, even my head strong independent mentality was compromised and I was turned into a scare complacent quiet woman with no opinion, no thoughts. My only role was to remain silent and obey my abuser whole heartedly, which I did for 9 years. He became the father of my only 2 children. There was good times but the bad times would sometimes blind that fact. He had schizophrenia and refused to treat it because of the medicinal side effects. So he self medicated and was on and off off IV opiate abuse. He stole everything I ever owned but I continued to pray and have faith that the goodness I knew the father of my children had inside him. One day he hit me with a car and that was my reality check. I left him once and for all. He served time, and I let him come live with me after his release. Long story short, it didn’t last too long. We went seperate ways with the intentions of reconciling. But he died. I was devastated I almost had a heart attack when I was told of his death. Then depression sank in and a detached from reality for 9 months or so. It was a blur. I was never relieved that he had passed. I speak the truth of the experiences, with no ill will, no anger no hostility. I knew in my heart the day he died I was obligated to face every single emotion, hurt, disappointment, memory of him and let it go. No it is not right to speak ill of the dead. If you can’t honor that simple request out of respect of the deceased then it should be done in respect of God, after all he made laws and rules for us to follow even if we may not completely understand. Till this day I grieve, I mourn a loss and a piece of my heart that will never be repaired. I live a bitter sweet existence with a cornucopia of good memories sad memories and bad memories. But I am free and I pray that my love, is free from the suffering he endured on earth. The greatest thing that had ever happened to me has been the release of the pain and anger I harbored while he was alive. And in his forever memory and honor I vowed to give our children all my love and more to commemorate him. That’s all I can do. God bless.

    1. Christina, thank you for so openly sharing your experience with all of the readers here. I believe that the love you share with your children and your community will change lives – yours and theirs. Best wishes and prayers go with you as you move forward in your life.

    2. So Christina are you saying that it is wrong to speak ill of Jezebel, Herod, Caligula, Nero, Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?

      No. It is not wrong to speak ill of the dead if the dead really did the things we accuse them of.

      In fact it is wrong to tell someone that it is wrong to speak ill of the dead.

      When my evil scummy drug addict mother died of an overdose I knew she went to hell because she died unrepentant.

      I knew she died unrepentant because when I last spoke to her a year prior she refused to admit any of the things she did to me. Pretended they never happened and that I was making them up.

      I’m glad she’s dead because she can never Slander me again. Slandering me and falsly accusing me was a way she made sure no one would believe me if I ever told them of the stuff she did to me.

      It is morally wrong to tell me that I can’t speak ill of her after everything she did to me…and got away with.

      Well I suppose she didn’t get away with anything. She’s paying for what she did right now. In hell.

  4. I was abused by a pastor in a church I belonged to years ago. I just heard today that he died. I did go for counseling years ago. In some ways, I feel very relieved he died. Thoughts are starting to come back now. I know I forgave him in my heart.

    I am wondering if I should go to the funeral, even though I know the whole family and they were friends of our family for years.

    1. Hello Janet, thank you for your comment – this is a tough choice. Going to the funeral could give you closure/finality – that he is no longer alive, no longer able to abuse you or anyone else. Or it could stir up other feelings seeing his family grieve for him, or hearing him praised for his good deeds. I suggest you get counseling about his death and your feelings before you go to his funeral. If you do go, please take a close friend with you who knows what happened and ask them to help you through. Another way to possibly cope is to sit down and write him a letter. At some point after the funeral, go and stand at his grave and read it out loud even though no one is around. Then burn the letter, preferably at home. Again, ask a close friend or loved one who knows what you suffered to be with you. Remember, you get to take care of you in all this – so you don’t have to do what you think may be “expected” of you as someone who knows the family. The sad part it, he may have abused his own children as well and you may all be his victims. Take good care of you.

    2. I’m not sure if it would make you feel better but if it would make you feel better (and only if you think it would make you feel better) perhaps you could write a letter detailing everything he did and send it to all of his family members and friends anonymously.

      Since the funeral happened in 2017 I guess it’s to late to leave a copy in everyone’s windshield wipers in the funeral parking lot.

      However if you want to you could wait until church service is in session and leave a copy under each windshield wiper.

      There are alot of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there. I’m really sorry that this happened to you.

      Mathew 18:15-17….a little to late to apply this.

      Thankfully that Pastor is in hell where he will never be able to hurt anyone ever again…unless he actually got saved and repented but if that had happened he would have probably have admitted what he did to you and apologized for it which I’m guessing never happened.

  5. The man who raped and molested me from 4yrs old till 12 years old died last night. I’m angry. Actually, the word “angry” doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now. I feel cheated. Only a few people know what he did to me and I want to scream it from the mountain tops!! I want every single person grieving for this man to know what a monster he was!!! I feel like his death is closing the book and now if I speak of it, I’ll be the monster. I’ve never felt the way I’m feeling right now and I’m clueless what to do with it.

    1. I understand your anger. I recently went to a funeral for someone who protected the man who molested my mother when she was a child. It disgusted me to see people acting as though the dead woman had been some kind of saint. I too wanted to scream from the rooftops and expose her true full identity for the sake of my mother.

      1. Why not scream it out? Why not speak the truth? What have we got to lose? I myself am considering leaving a comment in the online “guest book” on the obit page. At least speak the truth to yourself? Right? Good luck.

    2. Hi Tonya, I hope that you will talk with a friend, counselor, spiritual leader, grief counselor – another human being – and get all of this toxic anger (and that is a mild word for what you are experiencing) out of your body – the physical, emotional and spiritual parts that make up your whole person. I can’t imagine the hell this man made your life, or the pain he caused you. But I do know that you need to release all of this in order to find peace, maybe for the first time. The only solace is that he can’t hurt you any more, and he can’t hurt anyone else. You are NOT a monster for SPEAKING your TRUTH, ever! Maybe you could start by thinking about whether anyone else who was at that funeral may have also been molested by him and afraid to speak out. By thinking in a compassionate way about any other victims of this man, and these men usually have multiple victims, we can start feeling stronger about our own ability to overcome the pain. Take care and please think about getting support from professional counselors who are trained in helping victims recover.

      1. “Your truth”? Umm there is no “my truth” and “your truth”….there is only one truth.

        Anyways these people may not have wanted to make a spectacle of themselves at the funeral of their abusers but that isn’t necessary to get the truth out there.

        They could always write anonymous letters to the friends and family members of their abusers if they don’t want to experience ire from them for telling the truth.

        Of course it doesn’t have to be anonymous. If they decide to write such letters that’s up to them.

  6. My mother who had borderline personality disorder died recently. She lived her life out of control and the damage she caused spreads out in three generations (except mine). The first thing I did upon learning of her death was to compose an obituary, one that clearly outlined the abuse she had doled out. Of course, her brothers and sisters didn’t allow it to be published, so I put it on my Facebook page. Then, I spent the next two weeks yelling at her and bringing up all the crazies she had done, everything from using my Back-to-School Night as a way to pick up my male teachers to sleeping with my brother-in-law. Her sexual escapades were beyond belief. Only when she was in her 70s was she forcibly confined, but she never made any steps toward getting better. Not only was I pleased when she died, I often think about her judgment and sentence by the Creator of the Universe. I imagine Him saying, “How could you do that to my beloved daughter?” But, her sentence is what I enjoy the most. I know that she is stoking the Devil’s furnace one hot charcoal at a time. That picture truly brings a smile to my face.

    1. Hello Elizabeth, I am so, so sad that the woman who gave birth to you did not love you, care for you, keep you safe, get healthy for you. It is a betrayal at the deepest level when our parents/family members/spouses hurt us like this, especially when others in the family see it and don’t stop it, don’t acknowledge it. In case you don’t know this – you are a beautiful creature, a gift to this world, and you deserve to be loved in a healthy way. One exercise I used when something similar happened to me (ex-husband) – I wrote down all of my anger on a yellow legal pad, filling page after page over a matter of weeks. Then I put it away until I was sure that all of my anger was ‘out’ on those pages. Then I burned the yellow legal pad, hoping the words would find their way to the man who hurt me. It helped me release so much of a burden I was physically suffering from, that I often recommend it to others. Maybe it’s something you could consider, maybe with your writing on Facebook you’ve already purged some of that anger. I wish you healing and joy because you deserve happiness.

  7. i think you are missing the point of what happens when you are abused, you are isolated and alone, you have no friends or family to reach out to. I came home to find my abuser dead, now the house I have lived in will be sold out from under me, I have nowhere to go and no one to turn to because everyone always thought she was such an angel. I have a job but cannot afford the cost of living so I will have to move to another state, but I have no idea where to go or how to get there. I will have to find another job and move, all on my own, with no way to pay for it and no one to help me. I know I am not the only one who has found themselves in this situation but the local battered women’s help here is all about moving to a shelter which I cannot do, I will not give up my kitty companion of 15 yrs. You need to be careful with the advice of telling people to call friends to help them, they may not even have friends

    1. Hi Debbie, I’m sorry you feel that way about the post. I think I included several suggestions other than calling friends – like calling a therapist, calling a hotline, seeking help through your Employee Assistance Program at work. There are certainly clergy, support groups and others who can support victims of abuse after the death of their abuser. It sounds like you are an adult age woman who needs help to get through a transition on top of the abuse you suffered and I hope you find the support you need – from a therapist, hotline, trusted clergy, or a lawyer who might be able to bring a claim for compensation for all the care you provided to this abuser from their estate.

  8. Thank you for taking the time to provide this resource of advice and validation. I learned of my abusers death a week ago. What is crazy to me is that he actually died 6 months ago. I find what I am dealing with is the relief of the death and the realization of the total and complete estrangement from the rest of his family, including my mother. I looked up the obit…I’m not mentioned…what did I expect? Why did I expect to be listed? His pet was listed as a survivor. His wife, my mother, also a victim of his abuse, was listed, of course. But her only biological child, only living blood relative, is not, Did I expect the obit to say “ the evil bastard’s dead?” Yes, I guess I did expect that. Because I am still a believer in truth winning out. I am still a believer in the good in people, not him, but mostly everyone else. Like the author of this website, you are very good people.

  9. Thank you for allowing a forum/discussion for the victims of abuse. My brother and I are survivors. Our father passed in 2016, and he never personally acknowledged the monster that he was nor offered any apology. We were fortunate enough to escape him in our teens and he basically spent the rest of his life alone. I too, wished a horrible death upon him, and after many years of waiting it happened. Truthfully, I’ve gone through a gammet of emotions, including guilt for thinking that his death would bring me satisaction, and anger that others saw him as something else. In the long run, I am still being victimized as the will provides for my brother and more than a handful of animal welfare organizations, but I was the recipient of a very small amount. As luck would have it, the trustee named in the trust retired, and I was named successor trustee. My brother is disabled and I am glad that he will be taken care of but I find it quite ironic that I must administer and be representative of the estate, regularly reminded that I was not deemed as deserving of any of my father’s estate. In my mind his degradation continues from the grave. When persons say”sorry for your loss” it’s difficult not to respond with the truth of my emotions. But, I learned through years of struggle, to let the anger and fear go, and to love myself. I see my father for the sick man he was, but I don’t have to be sick. Holding onto the negativity and pain does not allow for personal growth, and I’ve risen above it. “Rise above” is my mantra. I wish for others to do the same. The world can be a beautiful place, and it’s one where we must make active choices. I’ve been ab!e to face the house of horrors with a lack of fear, and know that what made him despicable does not define me. I am stronger than he’d envisioned.

  10. My abuser was my father. He died in February. His ashes were scattered in June. When told he died, I was in shock and numb. Then there was dealing with the estate. I just wanted it over, similar to how I felt at the end of my divorce. The ashes were scattered last week. I felt never again would he create havoc in my life. My sisters honored our deceased mother, with his death. We have different perspectives. I am in counseling weekly and have a supportive circle of friends that know of the abuse. I thought I was handling his death pretty well. Today I had a panic attack in our marriage counselor’s office when asked what feelings I had when my husband did not slow down his driving when I was afraid; when he said I had no reason to be afraid. I thought I was over these terrible feelings of the abuse. I had held the slightest glimmer of hope that my father and I could have a civil relationship. I was the last of the children to talk to him. The last time I talked to him was over a year before he died. So very sad.

    1. Hello Susan, thank you for leaving this comment – I don’t know if this post helped you at all but I know your comment will help others who feel the same. Grief and anger over abuse by a parent, by the one person who is supposed to protect us/love us, is for many people a life-long journey. Staying in counseling, recognizing where your trigger points are, asking your husband to respect that/acknowledge your triggers (fast driving) and help you feel safe is a great plan to help you get through this. But death has its way of raising up all the issues around abuse/anger/fear all over again. I’ve dealt with the same issue myself when an abusive, alcoholic ex-husband died 17 years after our divorce – and it was like all of the pain, anger, shame, guilt, self-recriminations happened just the day before. I was right back into counseling dealing with the worst 3 years of my life, my marriage. Be good to yourself, get massages or spa days or whatever you treat yourself too, get sleep, get exercise – that all helps you cope with what you are dealing with. Take extra good care of yourself – and feel free to leave an updated comment on how you are doing, what helped you, as any advice is helpful to readers. Thank you again for leaving this comment –

  11. My partners 103 year old father died and I found out that the father had whipped him with a willow causing huge welts on his back when he was just a small child..It is not a nice thing to think about but I am trying to help him deal with the pain he held in for a very long time. I listen to my partner but is there anything else that will help him now besides knowing that his abuser is dead?

    1. Hello Sherri, Thank you for posting this comment and question. Yes, there are other things your partner can do to help him with this trauma. First, seeing a therapist is at the top of my suggestion list. He needs professional counseling because the death brings back all of the trauma of the abuse and he has never had the support to come to terms with his fear/anger/shame from this abuse. Second, he can write about his experiences, he can put down on paper all the things he wanted to say to his father about the cruelty of his abuse. Sometimes just getting the feelings out, getting words down on paper helps. Then putting the ‘abuse journal’ into a fire to burn, to let them go can be helpful as well. But a good counselor can make a huge difference and I encourage you to see if that’s an option your partner wants to explore. Again, thank you for leaving this very personal comment and question – hopefully, it may help others reading these pages. Take care – and good luck.

  12. Your entries at this site are packed with valuable information, insight and wisdom. You are right when you encourage people to talk about their experiences and pain suffered at the hands of an abuser who has died. All too often people stay silent, but that does nothing for them or for others who might benefit by the stories that are being shared. Sometimes, too, in families where the abuse is aimed at one child, and where the abuser carries out the worst torment when no one else is around to see it, the abuse may not end with a death. A good example of this is well illustrated by John Crawford’s daughter Cristina in the book, “Mommie Dearest”. Her younger twin sisters have vehemently denied everything and have accused her of telling lies. Her nephew, who had not been a witness to anything Cristina had experienced, appeared in person on programs and contradicted Cristina and tried to convince listeners that she was all wrong and questioned her motives. So the denials did not stop with Joan Crawford’s death. Add to that the pain and humiliation of being disinherited in the will for “things known to Cristina”. Even though this story is high profile, I believe it is not unusual. Cristina had tremendous courage to have been able to stand tall in the face of severe abuse while her mother was alive and afterwards when Joan reached out of the grave to inflict more pain with one final slap in the face. I read the book 35 yrs ago and have watched many interview videos at YouTube old and new. Cristina Crawford is a victim of abuse who has bravely and calmly spoken out and is a great example of how what you recommend is of such great value.
    Thank you sincerely for your good work, wisdom and compassion.
    I have been reommending your blog to my friends.

  13. I was abused by my father from age 2 until I was 17 years old.
    I two years ago I reported him to the police. My half-sister and brother were very upset by this and said I was lying. As a result when my father died four weeks ago, I was not informed. I found out from my daughter who found out about it on Facebook. My mother, his ex-wife, spoke to my half-brother, but she didn’t phone me until the next day.
    Since then I put something on Facebook about my father; the fact he’d died and that he’d abused me when I was a child. I wanted my friends to understand that the grief I was experiencing was complicated.
    My half-sister on my mother’s side, commented on Facebook that I shouldn’t do this and I should stop it, as I was upsetting other members of the family. I texted her to ask if we could talk about it on the phone. (We don’t leave near each other). She texted back saying there’s nothing new to talk about.
    We’ve never actually talked about it and she is not related to my father. But my mother and aunt are apparently worried that I will try to end it all, because of how I was last time I talked about it 3 years ago. I don’t understand the logic of this. I feel unsupported by my family and that don’t seem to understand my pain, only how it’s affecting them.

    1. Hello Frances, I’m so very sorry for not replying to you sooner – you are very brave to have reported this crime against you and for standing up for yourself. I think it’s tough for a family to support the truth sayer in the family circle, especially on what is a complete betrayal by your father. Acknowledging that you were so horrifically abused by this man means they have to accept that he was a monster and they didn’t know it, they didn’t protect you, and they are probably feeling guilt underneath their denials. Somehow you need to stay strong, speak your truth, and get the support you need from a therapist(s), friends, support groups – these people become a “family by choice” and they can be more powerful support than those who were in that web of abuse. I know it’s hard, but remember, any one of them could have also been abused by this man and they may not want that truth coming out. Take care of yourself, get support from professionals, stay close to your friends – you are amazing, courageous, and grounded in your truth.

  14. I was sexually abused by my father from my first real memories til I was 7 years old. It stopped because he went to prison for another cause. Life without parole. I went as a child a few times to the prison and then I was finally able to tell my mom what he did to me. Of course he denied it. I never saw him again after I was 13. I hit bottom several times. I just found out on 9/22 that he died in Prison. I had been in my own prison for years but I had been doing great for the last 5-10 years. His death has overwhelmed me. The nightmares are back in full force and I don’t think my family understands what hell I am currently in. My husband has been wonderful through this though. I have to figure out how to deal with this. I don’t want to be a prisoner of those memories again.

    1. Hello Amanda, first let me say how grateful I am that you shared your story here – it took courage to put this out on a public website and it will help others! Thank you! I don’t know where you live but I do know that there are therapeutic programs for children who were sexually abused and now as adults are working to heal that trauma. Your healthcare provider, your therapist, your husband, your health care insurance provider may all be able to help you find the program you need right now to help with the post-traumatic disorder you are experiencing. Please, reach out for help, let others support and help you right now. I am so sorry this horrific abuse happened and was done to you by your father – someone who was supposed to protect you from the monsters in this world. Please take care of yourself, you have so much to live for. Thank you for also helping others to speak up and hold their own monsters accountable by leaving this comment. I wish you peace and healing.

  15. Thank you for writing this.

    1. Thank you for reading it and for leaving a comment. I hope this post helped you in some way today. Take care of yourself!

  16. I was physically abused at 5 years old by a babysitter and last week she died. I want so badly for the world to know what a monster she truly was. An evil sadistic monster. I once saw her at Walmart and she asked if I remembered her. Do I remember the evil woman that beat me up at 5 yes I remember the sadistic monster. She looked me like she wanted to swing I told her go ahead swing at me see what happens now I guarantee you it won’t be the same result as before. I should thank her though without this horrible time in my life I wouldn’t have gotten stronger than ever before.

    1. Hello Carmen, first of all, I’m so very sad that you were abused by this woman when you were 5 years old. I believe you and I am just so sorry. You get to tell your truth of her, of what she did to you in any format you want. Post your story on Facebook, write it down as a letter, tell your parents/siblings, whatever format you want to use – you don’t have to be silent. I’m so glad you were strong when you confronted her, I hope that felt empowering to you. While her death may be a relief (you never have to see her again), it can bring up all of the fears/pain you experienced when she was abusing you. I hope you’ll find someone to listen and support you right now (friend, therapist). That was a high price to pay to learn the lesson of being strong, too high for a little 5-year-old girl. Please take care of yourself.

      1. Actually Paula 5 year old little boy. No child should fear those who are trusted to take care of them ever.

  17. Thanks for creating this forum. I had no idea that this phenomenom existed until tonight when I found your website. My mother died last year July. She was my chief abuser. Right up to the end I had hope that she might apologise. Of course that didn’t happen. I had to write the eulogy. That was difficult. I could not tell the truth. I had to make up a story of sorts, avoiding any hint of the real truth. Now, I think I might have depression and need to see my doctor. I have had counselling before now but even then was unable to trust that a therapist would understand and not shut me down.

    1. Hi Linda, I’m so glad you found this post and left a comment as it may encourage others to feel less alone in dealing with the abuse they suffered and having to “be nice” to their abuser. I hope you will find a therapist you can trust, there are therapists who focus their practice on working with victims of abuse and violence. One thing that may help you is to write out the eulogy you could have written about your mother as an abuser with a pen on real paper. Get it all out on paper. I offer this suggestion because I did this same writing exercise after I left an abusive husband and it helped me tremendously. Once you have every instance of abuse, the pain, the physical hurt, the emotional wounding down on paper put it away for 30 days somewhere safe. When you are ready, take it out and read it again, add to it and put it away again. When you feel completely done with it, burn it outdoors in a firepit (make sure it’s a safe place to burn paper outdoors) or fireproof container – 1 page at a time or the whole thing together. Let all those words, all that pain burn to ashes while your words are released into the universe. Some believe that those words will find their way to the abuser. If not this, then please find some way to get this pain outside of your body in a concrete way – an art project, a piece of music, taking everything she ever gave you or things in your space that remind you of her and put those things into a box or container and take it outside and bury it when you are ready. Clear your space and clear your body of all things “her” and find support to move on in your life and be happy. Happiness and loving yourself are the best gifts you can give yourself. Find a therapist or religious person or best friend, someone you can trust, and get the support you need. You are clearly a strong person with a determination to live your life free from abuse. Stay strong!

  18. Paula;
    My father molested me as a child, repeatedly. I didn’t know it was abuse at the time because I was so young/sheltered, but somehow, over time, I figured it out. When I did, I was mortified at my acquiescence. He stopped trying when I came into menses. Figured that out later too.
    Fast forward to his death about 30 years hence. He died at home with my mother. I was married and lived in another city a two – three hour flight away. My two older brothers also lived far away. I was my parent’s executor, but my mother pretty much handled everything – there wasn’t much to handle as for the most part everything converted into her name as the surviving spouse. I continued as her executor.
    My father died in hospice care, but it was in the early days of hospice, and was a Catholic charity (- My father had been Baptist). I visited with the hospice nurse, confiding my long buried issues after he died, and the response I got back was, “Yeah, well, just so you know, the dying die the way they lived. Rarely is there a death-bed confession.” Thus ended the extent of my experience with therapy on that issue.
    It wasn’t remotely helpful, as I am sure you can guess. I wrestled with telling my mother about it, but she was grieving her marriage of over 50 years, so I didn’t want to pile on. I will never know if she knew anything about it. I always wondered if she did, or was in denial. That is by itself, a conundrum I will never have an answer to. She passed a few years later.

    Just to put a cherry on this deal, my father had been a police chief at a university – with statewide operational jurisdiction. One task he really seemed to enjoy was counseling the coeds in campus sororities (in presentations) annually, on how to avoid unwanted sexual situations and methods of self-defense for just such a thing. Ironic, no?

    Yes I do wish I had had the nerve to speak up, because who knows if he abused anyone else? But I didn’t want to cause a family implosion, much less have it hit the local paper, as it could have. I once asked him about his relationship with his siblings, and instead of answering he told me he didn’t regret what he did to me, that it was a fond memory. Traumatized all over again. So I told my oldest brother, who responded, “We certainly come from Pioneer Stock.” What? That was my take-away from that confession.

    So then I talked about it to friends after he died. And most acted like they didn’t believe me, really. He’s dead, how can he respond? I told a few cousins a few years ago (easily 25 years since his death) and they acted the same. He had a reputation in the world of being a kind caring, funny guy. Only I knew different. And in a fatherly way, he DID do his job. There was just “extra” attention.

    I have worked on counseling myself. My husband knows. He’s a pretty good guy – exactly the opposite of my father, with immense integrity. (Think that happened by accident?) But mostly I see how my father’s betrayal affects my ability to trust anyone, though I have also gone overboard trusting a few folks I should not have, and I work through that consciously in every relationship I have.
    If there had been obvious crisis hotlines when my father died (1990), I might have made use. At this point I am just a normal damaged person, and I have come to grips with it. I am more than the abuse, and I ” rise above” it, (as someone else said in the thread)!

    1. Hi Surrey, You are so brave to have confronted your Dad. I’m very sad, however, that your brother and the nurse didn’t take you seriously and didn’t offer to sit down and listen to you. There are therapists who specialize in working with adults who were victims of abuse. I encourage you to look for someone with the right training to help you feel even better about your courage, your survival, your successes (a good marriage to a good man after what you experienced is amazing!). You might still call an abuse hotline to get a list of specialists who do this kind of therapeutic work. I think of therapy this way, it won’t hurt you and it could actually help. Thank you for being so clear about your history and what happened to you when you tried to talk it through. I know your post will help others. Please take good care of yourself.

  19. I was in an abusive marriage for 11 years. He tried several times to kill me, by choking me out or driving towards embankments on the road at a high rate of speed, during which time he also liked to reach over, open my door and try to shove me out of the vehicle. He gave me so many concussions and whiplash type injuries that I now have permanent mental and cognitive issues. He repeatedly raped me. I’m pretty sure he caused me to have an early term miscarriage. I was just starting to think I may be pregnant, was getting ready to take a test when I “fell” and started bleeding heavily. He forced me to act like everything was wonderful by threatening, in great detail, the lives of everyone I loved. He forced me to “borrow” money from my parents, knowing I would never be able to pay it back, because he refused to “be mistreated” at work and was constantly between jobs. Also, I was expected to shoplift anything that I might need for myself because he didn’t want to spend “his money” on that stuff. I found out after she passed away that he was stealing my mother’s end of life pain meds and either taking them or selling them. He left me to deal with sitting in hospice watching my mother die to go be with his friends and play cards, because HE needed some time away from the grief. I lived a terrifying lie for 11 years before he finally revealed enough of his true self to someone else and they intervened.

    That was 3 years ago. I am just recently starting to feel a bit more in control of the PTSD flashbacks and panic attacks.

    Then I just learned that he died of a massive heart attack and I’m expected by those I thought were on my side to feel grief and mourn. I don’t feel grief, I feel relief that I’m not going to accidentally run into him. I feel anger that he never had to answer for his crimes against me. I feel anger at the people in my circle who actually are mourning this monster, because he “apologized” to them. Although I’m sure he didn’t apologize for threatening the lives of their children on a regular basis or for the fact that he laughed at how weak and easily manipulated they were.

    If I hadn’t had the poor judgment to say “I do” to this man, and instead he had lured me in, held me hostage outside of marriage, and abused me the way he did and I had escaped that, I would be considered a brave heroine and everyone would be more than understanding because I am glad he is dead. But because I made that one little mistake, I get told things like, “well there had to be some good times, since you married him and stayed married for so long.” My reply to that is a loud vehement NO. There were NO good times, I was hospitalized less than a month after we were married. ANY time that you thought I was happy was fake. It was all an act so he wouldn’t carry out his threat to kill the children around me.

    I was actually feeling guilty about being happy he was dead and feeling sad because I would never be able to tell anyone now the full truth about that time because he “wasn’t around to defend himself.” Like he had any sort of legitimate defense or even any right to try to defend himself.

    Thank you for this article, for showing me it is OK to feel relief that he is dead, and that I can speak the full truth even if it is “speaking ill of the dead.” And for showing me that the best way to release these emotions of fear and anger swirling in me is to talk about what happened, not try to hide it.

    1. Hi Stephanie, I am so struck by your comment here – you ARE a HERO! You saved yourself by leaving him. We all want love and sometimes a person comes into our lives and is very adept at luring in innocents to their destructive world. You kept the children around you safe, and you stood up in the end and left him. I can see why you are relieved you won’t run into him! How interesting he made amends in a half-margin way to some who he had hurt. But he wasn’t repentant in full. He failed to make amends and apologize to you, the person he hurt the most, physically and emotionally. People like living in illusions and when YOU speak your truth, then their illusion of who they thought he was is ripped away. It’s time for truthtellers, like you, to speak the plain truth about an abuser. Please take care of yourself in the coming weeks and months. I hope you have solid support from friends, therapists, counselors, anyone with whom you don’t have to pretend. You are stronger than you know and you are MY HERO! take good care -Paula

  20. I’m thankful I found this article and comments. I have been in a weird state of emotions the past few weeks after finding out my abusive mother died a few weeks ago. I have been estranged from her and my father for a few years. I had grieved her long ago and lost my relationship with my dad because I told him I would no longer tolerate her behavior. The hardest thing was to see the comments of her ‘kindness’. I have wanted to scream the truth so loud for the past few years. From my experience of many close relationships in my life being toxic, the supporters will support. A lot of people don’t want their illusion destroyed. I feel like I have to go through a repeat of being re traumatized by people not wanting to hear the truth. I talked with my therapist today, which led me to researching to see if someone could relate. Im glad I’m not alone in trying to understand this grief. This helped a lot.

    1. Hi Grace,
      Please give your soul time and space to heal! Thank you for leaving a comment as it’s helpful to all the readers. I’m so glad you found this post helped you understand you are NOT alone in having these feelings after the death of your abusive mother. Another post you might find useful is “Grief is Not Selfish!” I’m so glad you are seeing a therapist. Again, please be super kind to yourself in the coming weeks. Let yourself grieve the fact that your mother was not kind. I hope you have found another mother figure who can help you along the way. take good care – Paula

  21. Hi
    My ex died and the children are doing ok. My ex was a narrcissist and did he give me shocking times. He lied and lied and cheated me in many ways as so to my children. At the funeral I attended for my support to the children it was very hard. And I approached his siblings whom he lied to about I left him, he kicked me and my kids out of the family home and gave me not a cent., and lived like a king and came occasionally to visit the kids are take them on his terms on a yearly holiday not even thinking I was left alone at Xmas and broke. What a odd bad man.
    I just stayed in my Truth., whether anyone liked it or not. I am just taking one day at a time with the children who are now young adults who are just in the early stages of their careers.

    I know they will be Ok. But I must admit I have to rebuild myself again and my future also.
    Anyway I really healed before his passing so it didnt have impact on me but I wouldnt of ever wished this on my ex and I did try and call him to say sorry he was sick but couldnt get in contact with him. That would of been my closure. Going to the funeral and left out of the seating arrangements was disgusting but you know what he lied to his siblings so cant blame them just went so my children realized I support them and always will.

  22. I found out yesterday that my abuser died. The weird thing is I haven’t spoken to him in 9 years and I have been happily married for 6.

    Our relationship “ended” with him beating the crap out of me and physically dragging me out of the door, throwing me into the front yard, and kicking me. I still loved him, but after that and seeing those dark black eyes for the second time, I had to go and he knew it was time too. I have always thought about him off and on – and oddly enough, imagined a time when we would bump into each other and have some type of closure and catch-up.

    After hearing this news, I am mixed with emotions and almost numb to it. I literally have all the feels. I have flashbacks of the good and the bad times. I don’t even know how to describe what I am feeling. My husband and family say “good, he abused you, there is no need to mourn or give him anymore time,” and it’s so hard to articulate what I am feeling. My friends are checking up on me, but all I can say is I haven’t processed it yet, that I’m full of mixed emotions. I am glad to see I am not the only one who has experienced this, but should his death cause this much emotion after 9 years? He is the cause for my PTSD, so I hope that his death will help with that, but now there will never be a chance for closure. At least when he was alive, I could imagine it. Help!

    1. Hi Michelle, I understand. My abusive ex committed suicide 17 years after our divorce. I never got the closure I wanted either. I was a wreck and went back to therapy with the therapist I had been seeing off and on. It helped a lot. I learned that we each have our process for grief. I no longer loved him, but I was hoping he would be a better father to his 3 children and I grieved for them having had an addict/abuser for a father. It means looking at that piece of your life and owning it, and being confident that we will never go back into that kind of relationship again. But you get to grieve that your love wasn’t returned or honored by this man, that he was so sick that he beat the only person who ever loved him. But therapy may help, there are grief groups all over the place and some offered by mental health associations and churches are free. Be well and I hope you find your way through this. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing on this site. Your words will help others. Best wishes, Paula

  23. Thanks for this forum- I am “Genni” and I found out today the selfish alcoholic druggie guy-( my Abandoner , abuser that I was married to )is dying within a few days most likely – I have been told by his mom on Facebook what is going on. He married the Trashy foul mouthed homewrecker – the Proud home wrecker is posting now on his page and receiving many positive messages from folks.
    He and I have 2 sweet Talented daughters that are young adults now . This family of his means nothing to me now- he and I kept in touch a little over Facebook I have to admit … really due to my extreme fear that if I cut him off like I wanted – he would stalk and kidnap the girls as he did threaten to do once .
    He hit and beat me for the dummest reasons several times a week – hit me as hard as a guy would hit another guy – or harder actually . I want to recount all the stories of his freakish attacks on me and my house and things including the car – including unlawful restraint – all of it is stuff I have tried to forget for the past 20 years … and now he’s dying .

    So… I will try these Excellent ideas as the Intrusive thoughts of him and how he abandoned me with a 7 mos old baby girl- how she would look for him and call out Dada for months when
    She saw a man that had hair like his … we prayed for years for his return and his choices to be healthy rather than what they were- but instead he Eventually became (supposedly )the loving husband of the homewrecker !! I had 2 kids with him due to a short reunion and these 2 girls have been best friends – but this horrible treatment by their dad and the complete neglect has been completely pathetic .

    I pray the girls end up choosing a good guy- I have talked with them about this – for what I would like is for some good to come of all the pain we suffered. He tried to break my back once – I lost custody of my son from a previous marriage because he chased my son through the house in a temper and scared my son to death ( just because my son was bouncing a ball ) ever since then my son never stayed with me . But I found a lawyer that helped me and I safely divorced my abuser…
    And moved far away. I contacted her today to share the news and she reminded me how unpredictable and unsafe he was – how glad she was we were away from his abuse and that’s what mattered . I may not want to delve into all the bad but it seems like I have my thoughts circling around as well. I hate the way his family is praising his wife who was tHe homewrecker that broke my daughters’ heart even though this man was violent ! Talk about crazy right? I should say to her – thank you for taking him off my hands and I suffered afterwards but at least I know I didn’t commit a mortal sin and steal someone’s husband and 2 innocent girls’ daddy. At least I didn’t make him move 500 miles away from his toddlers and their mom while
    She was trying to support them completely on her own … at least I didn’t lie to her face and visit while I was out of the house and spend time with my husband and put barrettes in his kids hair … at least I didn’t commit adultery and covet someone’s husband – all of that hurts more almost than his attacks on me and that must mean something ! Home wreckers are completely evil! We found out my Ex husband Had many things wrong with him- his temper and Epileptic seizures Were tip of the ice berg – brain tumor developed recently and has spread and is what is killing him. In a way I can easily forgive him because of his ill health. I can remember the good and focus on that. With reminders of that evil woman coming into my life now due to the Facebook and my ex’s mom’s conversations… it’s something I can talk to God about- write about and I appreciate you letting me post here … I was terrified of the kids going to visit him because that witch was with him- one Christmas they gave the girls a bunch of dollar tree toys but the girls enjoyed the gifts- I went to pick them up after the visit and their dad and this complete sick woman refused to allow the girls to bring any of the toys home / I drove the girls home and they cried in the car about their new “ pretty things “ ! That was so cruel . The last straw was when we got back from a stay in the hospital when he was having a bad spell of seizures – I had driven him ( 90 miles an hour ) To an out of town hospital where the neurologist was… he was having bad seizures in a row that day- he had one in the car – I got him there and he had another when I got him there. The coveter came up and told me to go spend time with the kids and she’d stay with my husband – I was so fooled til the mother told me they had dates every Friday night … she knew all about it and so I decided “ I am done “ but still picked him up and brought him home and was trying to get food for all of us and take a bath… the kids were whining and he was losing his temper – he then tossed a Wooden bookshelf at me in the bath – so I told him go stay elsewhere . He left and never returned . It’s not what I wanted but I didn’t want jail for him and Didn’t want hospital Or more injuries / death for me and the kids !! So awful to recall those days. Red flags ? He rushed me to marry him… he threatened suicide … he drank and used drugs but his list of it from me … he was not self supporting … stayed in rooms and had very low ambition … he didnt believe in God and said he was pagan and Wiccan. I am Catholic … he targeted me because I had a more established life and he thought he had hit the jackpot . He also wanted to prove to his dad and mom and others that he could get me . They had told him it wasn’t possible . So he rushed me when I wanted an engagement period of time to plan a nice wedding. We ended up doing the courthouse wedding with his dad there – he refused to take me home from
    The steak house he and his dad wanted to eat at while
    My son was at home sick that day after coming home from school. Bad all around . Some people don’t have a good lifestyle. Be careful everyone ! Do your detective work before falling in love . This guy’s mother kept his troubled behavior a secret from me – she tried to tell me and he shut her up right in front of me – I know now looking back at the day he told
    Her we were engaged . She tried to warn but sided with his corrupt ways. Sad that the last 20 years have been as rough as they have been as single motherhood is a lot of work and little support . I was not capable of breaking this off and went forward into this marriage … sad but true. I am a smart and strong and optimistic person and I think that has been the reason I tried so hard to make this work . That is my story.

    1. You are clearly a strong woman, a dedicated and loving mother, and a person who lives their values. I’m so sorry you suffered, that your girls suffered, from an abuser. I hope you get counseling and have good friends to see you through this time. The death of an abuser just brings back all of the emotions, memories, pain just like it happened an hour ago not 20 years ago. Be good to yourself and encourage your daughters to get more rest, support, and do more self-care right now. This is a huge trauma to go through. I hope you find a place of peace and can let go of this pain, that there can be healing for all of you. Life is so precious, too priceless to waste on the abusers and their supporters. Take good care. And thank you for sharing your story here, that was brave and may well help others.

  24. My Abusive ex-partner of 12 years and father of my daughters recently died. He’d moved on with a mother of 3, who he also physically and emotionally abused and she’d had her children taken off her. The man left alot of destruction in his path. Since the break up I’d had been to counselling, various support groups and felt at peace for once but the emotions of shock, confusion and loss at his death was tremendous. His family perhaps shocking too as they displayed huge amounts of love and support towards me which I didn’t receive when he was alive when my daughters were small children and I really needed it. It’s reconnected us although It’s hard to deal with and suffocating at the moment, they are putting him on a pedestal on social media and it feels like they are speaking about someone else in some ways. It’s been just little over a week since he passed, It feels like I will be forever grieving the father he should of been to my daughters. I pray that these feelings, fears and grief subside after the initial shock, I want to be back at that place where I found peace and acceptance again.

    1. Please just give yourself time to feel all of this and deal with it. Grief isn’t a one-time thing. I wish it was. It’s like we work through a whole cycle, then something comes up and that grief of what we lived through, what we deserved, what the kids deserved from an abuser come us – through trauma of their death or a trigger with a different person even. You will get to that place of peace again, because you know you found it once and you will find it again. Get the support you need, and don’t let anyone pressure you to rewrite the past. Truth shines through even the biggest lies. Take good care, Paula

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