7 Healthy and Unhealthy Responses to Grief
Bereaved People are lovable even when they are a confused mess… Feeling down, alone, sad, cranky, moody, tired, hopeless, angry, confused, and worse doesn’t mean you are a failure. Your unhappiness is an expression of humanness.
Crying is a gift… Tears honor loss and relieve pent-up emotions.
Almost every thought, feeling and behavior is normal… Being depressed, quick-to-anger, weird in your humor, or wildly happy at odd times are all fairly common. As long as your behavior is not self-destructive or illegal, you’re probably pretty normal.
You are not alone… People have been grieving their hearts out since the beginning of time – and surviving!
People are uncomfortable with grieving people… If people can’t be supportive, that’s their problem. Find people who can understand.
No matter how bad you feel you will survive… You can carry your wound through life or help it to heal cleanly.
It takes as long as it takes… Having a tantrum will not hurry it along. Your wound will heal naturally in its own time. Take great care of yourself in the meantime.
I don’t want to hear about it… It’s as if we’ve made a pact with each other to pretend everything is okay.
Look good no matter what… In our world, it’s important to appear put-together – to look good on the outside no matter what you are feeling on the inside.
Handle problems by yourself… Or else – you’re weak and incompetent! The absence of readily available, confidential, emotionally supportive, and helpful people to confide in sends a subtle message – it says that grief problems aren’t that important.
Get over it quickly… This is the age of short attention and short feeling spans. Subtle and not-so-subtle hints abound that we’d like grieving people to get on with life, get better, feel better…now.
Leave grieving people alone… Because it’s complicated and we’re uncomfortable, we avoid people who are hurting.
It’s no big thing… Hidden message is “please don’t have big feelings about this because I’m uncomfortable with grief.”
Handle it like an adult… If you were more mature, you’d handle your loss better.