When an abuser dies

JGirl

Confident
Have you had an abuser die?
My ex husband who was abusive to me and abused my oldest daughter died unexpectedly a few weeks before Christmas. My daughter hadn't seen him in 10 years. My other children saw him once about 2 years ago. My son texted him once in a while.
The emotions that we are feeling are very complex. It's a mix of grief, relief, numbness, sadness, anger.
I would find it helpful if those who specifically lost an abusive parent or ex spouse can shed some light about what that has been like. I understand that everyone reacts differently. I want to hear different perspectives to help me gain a deeper understanding of what my daughter is going through.
I'm also feeling very lost right now.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
my bi-sexual, baby-raping daddy died in 2005. at the time, i was working with a spiritual advisor who strongly encouraged me to attend the grief support group sponsored by the church through which we met. she believed that when a loved one dies, it is the loss of a beloved presence. the love lives on. when abuser dies, it is the death of hope. however unlikely, there is hope of reconciliation for as long as the abuser is alive. their death is the death of hope. is there a loss more tragic than the death of hope.

i followed her guidance and attended the grief support group. after a few meetings, several of the other members thanked me for bringing in my perspectives. even the most beloved of loved ones have their darker side and my perspective encouraged them to express their feelings there, as well.

all these years later, i'm glad i took that step. thank you, linda.
 

MnM

Confident
What @arfie said. To profound depths.

When my dad's mom died, I watched him and his three siblings go through absolute chaos. She was extremely abusive to everyone and anyone. I thought when she died, they would all be able to breathe again. Turns out they needed to process that death of hope as well, grieve the complexities of having loved a parent in all the insane ways a child is wired to love an abusive parent regardless, and also hate them at the same time. She died after multiple cancers, decades after she was told she was gonna die, decades after the kids wished her dead. They would often say how relieving it would be for her to just hurry up and die already. After her death, I was asked to move into her house to renovate it and clean it as none of the kids could even walk through the door yet.

After the funeral, all the kids were supposed to come to the house and walk through, collect whatever thing(s) they wanted, and help me finish emptying the place and do a final clean. My dad walked in and instantly put his back out and spent the weekend moaning on the couch asking everyone to bring him things. His sister walked in, stomped upstairs in her violent, fierce fashion, stomped downstairs, her face set, took one bowl from the kitchen and immediately left. She never came back. The one brother had stolen everything of value from the house already, so he only poked his head in for half a second, said, "Well, I've already done it all, you guys got the rest" and left. He later took the estate to court for a ridiculous reason and sum, the judge laughed and threw it out. The last sister came in, willing her cells around the house, just weak and wounded. She didn't take anything either, she just sobbed, like she was melting into her childhood. She stayed until the tears became too much, looked at me and choked out, "I can't do this. Thank you," and she never came back either.

She said later that they never would have been able to do it, none of them. Much later I came across articles on narcissism and gently sent her one, saying all I read was her mom. She told me months later that it was the worst and best article she'd ever read - it threw her into years of therapy but she was finally able to come to terms with the fact that her mom was abusive and this was extremely complicated.

About a decade before my dad's mom died, her husband died (if anybody ever drove someone to their early death, she did). We buried him. About a year later she remembered he had two gold teeth. She had him interred and had someone extract the gold teeth. The siblings had been furious, so that day when they all were at the house, I made myself pretty scarce so they could talk or process or cry or whatever, and suddenly I heard this laughter and yelling. I went to the balcony and saw the two sisters absolutely cackling with glee, jumping up and down and screaming "f*ck you Mom"! They had launched their dad's golden teeth off the balcony into the abyss, where their mom would never find it, a loss she would never be able to recover.

So let your kids grieve in their own ways. Ask them how they want to honor him and the good memories, cuz those matter. And ask them how they want to extract justice and burn the evil to dust - cuz that matters. And obviously you as well - whatever is there, honor it. Follow your instincts individually and collectively and let go however that looks like for you.

It's fking complicated.
 
My abusive ex husband died about 2 years after I left him. When I found out I was at first devastated because I always genuinely loved him and cared about him. I didn’t find out until about 6 months after he died when I randomly received a text from a friend of his that said “I know you were not very close at the end, but I and still sorry for your loss and wanted to reach out to let you know that.” And then I looked him up and found his obituary 6 months prior to the text. It hit me hard because he stalked, harassed, and threatened me daily from the day I left until the day he died. But when I stopped hearing from him I was naive enough to believe maybe he was improving and becoming a better person. When I heard he died, it gutted me. But then I also felt relieved because it stopped the harassment and made me finally feel safe. Legally I wasn’t taken very seriously. I got a restraining order but that didn’t help much and even then my abusive ex talked the judge down on the time of the order. That was like 7 years ago and with time I started feeling more numb about it and realizing I overall feel relieved and he really hurt me and tried to kill me. But it is very complex. Overall I have come to the realization that I am not a bad person for feeling relieved. But my initial feelings were more very complex. I think the fact that I cared at all and cried at all just shows I had the capacity to love and that is a good thing. When I tell anyone else he died they just say “good” and don’t care about him at all.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Have you had an abuser die?
My ex husband who was abusive to me and abused my oldest daughter died unexpectedly a few weeks before Christmas. My daughter hadn't seen him in 10 years. My other children saw him once about 2 years ago. My son texted him once in a while.
The emotions that we are feeling are very complex. It's a mix of grief, relief, numbness, sadness, anger.
I would find it helpful if those who specifically lost an abusive parent or ex spouse can shed some light about what that has been like. I understand that everyone reacts differently. I want to hear different perspectives to help me gain a deeper understanding of what my daughter is going through.
I'm also feeling very lost right now.
I had a highly abusive ex-husband. I felt relieved.....it signified the end to something that was a bad time in my life, a mistake, with bad memories. When he died, I no longer had flashbacks or nightmares.....because there was no part of me afraid of him....he was gone.....never to come back. The problem....the past threat was gone. Then I remember feeling a bit guilty because I felt relief......but I got over that soon enough. His and my grown daughter felt confusion, loss, sadness/depression, and lots of grief .....he did not abuse her physically.....I left before that happened, but he wasn't a dedicated father who kept up with regular visitation.....so those feelings that were unresolved got intertwined with the feelings about his death....I thought it was for the best because the relationship with her wasn't normal, either-but that's just my opinion. It was a very complicated relationship. Death is often a super "emotionally messy" time. I don't think anything your are feeling is wrong.....feelings just are....they aren't right or wrong when it comes to end of life issues....JMHO.
 
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