Helping Parents Helping Children with Loss – Why do people Grieve Alone

Why do people Grieve Alone

People grieve alone because they are afraid of being judged or criticized for having the feelings they are having.

Remember our first myth: Don’t feel bad.  this admonition suggests that we are somehow defective if we feel bad at all or if the feeling continues for more than a moment.  We are taught not to feel bad, but if and when we do, we must go to our room.  We absorb the idea that it is not safe to feel bad, and, further, that it is not safe to feel bad in front of others.

If you think we re exaggerating, think about the following interaction between husband and wife.  Husband comes home from work.  Wife has had a very rough day, and nothing has gone right.  Husband asks, “What’s wrong honey?” Wife snarls,  “Nothing!” Reverse the scenario, wife asks husband, husband snarls.  This is not a gender issue.  It is a safety issue.

Why does this woman, who loves her husband, not tell him the truth?

We are almost reasonably sure that almost everyone that reads the book can relate to that little scenario.  the question really is, Why does this woman, who loves her husband, not tell him the truth?  the answer is that if she tells him how she feels, there is a very real possibility that he will say something like, [all together now] “Don’t feel bad” followed by some intellectual cliché, like “tomorrow is another day.”

The fact is, she does feel bad.  It has been a lousy day, and the one person she should be able to trust will immediately tell her not to feel how she feels.  So, instead of telling him the truth, which would be unsafe, she grieves alone, and says nothing at all.  The fact that she says nothing will probably create an additional gulf between the two of them.

Remember the little five year old in chapter two?

Think again about the five-year-old girl in the beginning of chapter two who felt bad after having her feelings hurt on the preschool playground.  Do you remember how unsafe it became for her to tell the truth about how she was feeling?

Instead of being listened to, she is given a cookie.  Could it be that little girl grows up to be the woman who says, “Nothing,” in response to her husband’s question?

Why do people grieve alone?  The long and short answer to the question is that people are taught from childhood onward that sad, painful, or negative feelings are not acceptable in public – or in private, for that matter.

What you practice is what you perfect.

Is Alone Ever Okay?

In our speeches, lectures, and writings, we say grievers tend to isolate,  We say that because it is true.  It is true, but it is not natural.  Remember, infants call out when they hurt.  We don’t isolate by nature; we isolate by training, by education, and by socialization.  we isolate because we are taught that we laugh together but we cry alone.

Having said all that does not mean that we need to be surrounded by others twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Solitude is not bad.  Private time is not bad.  There is a normal and natural need to keep our own counsel, away from others and a beehive of activity.

From the book.  . When Children Grieve written by John W James  and Russell Friedman with Dr. Leslie Landon Matthews

There is help . .

If you are interested in participating in the Renew Your Possibility – As Children Grieve 6 week Study group, sign up here.

This is a complimentary study group that will provide you some incredibly valuable safety tips and tools that you will be able to use for the rest of your life and your children’s lives.  I guarantee it.

Or, if you are not ready to take that step, purchase the book “When Children Grieve here . .

Or download one of the ebooks under the resources page and read up on grief.

Another option is to Schedule a 15 minute complimentary call to share what your experiencing so you can ask me questions.

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®