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#Advice: The Guilty Feeling Daughter

April 3, 2018

#AskTheGypsyShrink
Dear Dr. Renee,
I don’t know how to feel. My mother is very sick (with cancer) and will likely pass away soon. Our relationship has not been an easy one but had gotten a little better with time. She has always been very critical and at time cruel and abusive to me. Now that she has been sick I have been taking care of her and her cruel side has been coming back more and more. Now she has been moved into a hospice center and I am sad but I caught myself the other day thinking I am going to be happy when she is gone. Am I am horrible person for thinking like this?!  What is wrong with me? -Guilty Feeling Daughter, 54 years old 


Dear GFD,
You’re not a horrible person. We all go through a lot of different emotions when someone important to us is dying. Sometimes these emotions seem to make perfect sense; like sadness and typical grief. And other time the emotions can be a little more complicated like what you may be going through. When we experience a lot of abuse throughout our lives – particularly from a parent – their passing can bring up a lot of unresolved issues and this may show-up as feeling “happy”. What you are more likely talking about is looking forward to a sense of relief that the person who has hurt for so long you will no longer be able to hurt you any more.  For most people this does not mean that you are wishing your mother to pass faster because you are a vengeful or hateful person.  Rather, having been caring for her lately, you may have found yourself again feeling abused and are hoping for some sense of peace and safety.  My advice is this: be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve in the way that seems most comfortable to you as long as it is in a safe and healthy way. Getting in contact with a local grief support group and personal therapist are very good suggestions to help you understand your feelings while you go through the grief and recovery process. Xoxo – Good Luck

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