Replace the Loss – Part Two
(And a national divorce rate approaching 50% – Uh-oh!)
With replace the loss as a backdrop, let’s look at something that happens a little later in life. Sometime during the teenage years.
When our children become teenagers, nature encourages them to begin to experiment with courtship rituals, which leads to pair bonding, marriage, and mating. (Naturally we all hope our children will accomplish their life’s goals at the right time – and not too soon.) But as parents of teenagers already know, it can be difficult to slow down the powerful forces of nature. As children begin to have romantic relationships and must deal with those feelings, they fall back on all of the information and misinformation with which they are already equipped. However, being young and not having as much practice, as do adults, with incorrect ideas, they will still try to do what is emotionally accurate – that is, they will try to tell the truth.
Help for the Teenage Years
A teenager has his or her first romantic relationship. The birds sing, the sun shines, and the music sounds sweet. And then one day the relationship ends, and hearts are broken. Tommy comes home devastated. his body language indicates that all is not right in his world. Mom or Dad asks him what’s wrong. He tells the truth, “Mary and I broke up.” One simple, painful sentence. A perfect invitation for Mom or Dad to listen and hear.
But all too often, Tommy will be told: “Don’t feel bad – there are plenty of fish in the sea.” In other words, “don’t feel bad – replace the loss.” don’t feel the way you feel – just go get another girlfriend.
The connection between the concept “Don’t feel bad – on Saturday we’ll get you another dog” and Don’t feel bad – there are plenty of fish in the sea” is clear. The question is, do either of those comments help the child complete the painful feelings associated with the relationship that has ended? Or does the comment misguidedly encourage the child to bury the feelings about the first relationship and just go get another one?
What is unfinished about each past relationship gets buried but carried forward into the next one. By the time we marry, we may have a vast accumulation of unresolved grief about old relationships. It can become a veritable system of land mines, which is almost guaranteed to create explosions when a partner accidentally steps on a buried hurt. The first-year divorce rate is nearly 55 percent, and the long term divorce rate has skyrocketed to almost 50 percent.
As we look critically at the two myths, don’t feel bad and replace the loss, we can see the overwhelming damage they cause in our society.
Here’s a thought:
Maybe it’s better to feel bad, when feeling bad
is the normal reaction to an event!
From the book. . When Children Grieve written by John W James and Russell Friedman with Dr. Leslie Landon Matthews
There is help . .
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Just take that first step. Do something that you have not done before. It’s ok, that your not ok, yet please don’t stay stuck in grief. There is light on the other side.
Remember, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato
Yours in Gratitude and to Renewing Your Possibility. . .
Debbie Your Grief Recovery Specialist®