One example would be…If you don’t mind sharing can you tell us the difference between the two?
When my dog died? I couldn’t grieve HIM for 2 years. Because
- a flood of ghosts escaped the crack his death created, and I had to deal with them, instead of him. All the everyhing that even remotely echoed his loss; every time I was responsible, every time I’d failed, every merciful act, every everything. Flooding me. Setting me on fire. Blinding me. Hitting me as hard as if those things had just happened. All at once. Over, and over, and over again.
- for every moment of those 2 years, it was as if I’d just lost him. Time stopped.
Only AFTER all that nonsense could I actually grieve HIM.
That’s not normal. Grief often brings echoes of past loss. That’s part and parcel. Grief and I are old friends, and I mean that literally, as the gift of grief is being able to think on the person with joy and annoyance and all the things that made them, them. Instead of just pain-pain-pain. Bereavement, mourning, grief. It also doesn’t supersede current loss. Nor does it supersede life.
There’s a bit of a hierarchy to things. Life supersedes death. Current loss supersedes past loss. But PTSD has meant that current …things… take a back seat to things long past and done. Not just a delayed reaction, which I’m well enough familiar (survive now, grieve later), and not just a replayed/remembered thing attaching on. But literal reliving, shoving current -everything important- out of the way. It’s wrong. Deeply wrong. Still happens.
^^^ That sort of f*cked up non-process? Attaches onto all the cousins of heartbreak. Grief. Regret. Remorse. The Furies. The failures. In the moment NOW life, hijacked, for ghosts. For old patterns. Old grievances. Wrongness. Madness. Because my timeline is f*cked up, and I make associations that are not real.
Echoes, even flickers, of modern betrayal? Bring forth TITANS of ancient betrayal. Ditto abandonment, and all the rest. The whole feelings aren’t facts, and countless other reality checks attempting to right size what’s happening in the moment, being superseded by reactions to the past.
It’s a completely f*cked up paradigm, giving noooooo respect to the person/event in the now, to be trapped/reacting to the past.
It’s a bit of a crapshoot once PTSD weighs in.
Either current things don’t even begin to measure up to past things
(in theory? I “should” have been afraid of my exHusband. In the last year of our marriage he tried to kill me three times, and raped me countless times. Pfft. I couldn’t give a rats ass. He was such a… mediocre… nothing to be concerned about. Compared to my past he wasn’t even tall enough to ride this ride. But? There was very real immediate threat to life, that I simply couldn’t take seriously… except for my son. For HIM I was afraid. Almost constantly. Of what my ex might could would do to him. Not me. I’ve had sooooo much worse my ex didn’t even signify. But for my kid? I couldn’t be more terrified of what he’d do to him.)
Or they overshadow & are completely lost in the weight of the past. A hint of an expression, a harmless act, a completely normal human moment… BLOWN UP… as if it’s this completely different other thing. When it’s not.
It’s the lack of judgment. The f*cked up read. The inability to parse.