All Kinds of Grief

Alex Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW
Individual, Couples & Family Therapy
IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor
Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.

Posted by: Alex Robboy
CAS, MSW, LCSW Individual, Couples & Family Therapy IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.
267-324-9564

Grief Therapy in Philadelphia: All Kinds of Grief

Grief comes in many shapes and sizes. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the grieving process, and there are simply all kinds of grief. Grief is the series of emotions that are passed through or cycled through after a loss is realized. Many people allow for grief after the passing of a loved one, but today’s society often turns a blind eye to the grief that can follow other kinds of losses. As a result, people find themselves unexpectedly experiencing sorrow, anger and other emotions associated with grief at varying times in their life. Confused and even ashamed, they may attempt to hide or avoid these emotions, pushing them inward rather than letting them out. Destructive and devastating repercussions can follow. Yet all of this can be avoided, if we only recognize that there are many different kinds of grief.

The most obvious time for grieving is after the death of a loved one. Many people experience this first with grandparents and parents, as well as aunts and uncles. Others will suffer the difficult loss of siblings or spouses, and still others will experience the tragic loss of a child. There is no way to measure grief, no instrument or scale for sorrow. Each person grieves these losses uniquely and differently. These most obvious losses are considered tragic by today’s modern society. Those left behind are often allowed time and space for grieving and are supported through the process. But what happens when someone loses a beloved pet? Or when a woman miscarries? These too are times of loss, and as can be expected, they carry their own grieving cycles. Unfortunately, they are seldom recognized as such, and the one grieving is left alone to work through emotions that are misunderstood by those around them.

Any loss can warrant grief. It is a natural psychological and sometimes physical response to loss or change. Though death is most commonly associated with grieving, there are all kinds of grief and many other life changes can have the same result. Losing a job, watching kids go away to college, retiring, divorce, declaring bankruptcy, a breakup, even moving can all create a sense of loss and grief. When it is recognized and respected, the grieving process after events like these can be a productive and healthy time of transition, even if sad or sorrowful. When it is ignored, delayed, interrupted, or mistranslated, it can fester, becoming a much bigger mess to be dealt with down the road.

Though you might not be able to ask for a week’s leave from work when your twenty year old German Shepard dies, there are ways to process your grief and nurture the cycle on your own. Simply being aware that you are grieving a change or loss is the first step. Honoring the change or loss and your resulting emotions is crucial. Treat yourself with kindness during this time. Don’t rush, don’t demand, and don’t bully yourself for having the feelings you do. Remember there are all kinds of grief, and no one type deserves all the attention. 

Though you might not be able to expect others, like coworkers or even spouses, to handle you with kid gloves as you grieve, you can be gentle with yourself when possible. At home, after work, whenever you are alone, don’t push or force yourself to do anything. Relax. Do what comes naturally. Cry. Take a bath. Watch television. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. Know that you deserve this time. It is part of your grief cycle and critical to your progress. Respect your emotions. Don’t hinder them, and don’t force them. Let them flow. Allow yourself to feel and react within reason. So long as you are not harming anyone else with your behavior, it should be acceptable.

Ease yourself back into routine, document feelings in a journal, and honor your loss through ritual. These are all ways to nurture your grieving process. When you feel it is finally behind you, remember to give others the same respect when they experience change or loss of any kind. There are all kinds of grief.  Don’t judge and don’t be critical. Particularly of losses that seem “self-inflicted” such as divorce or bankruptcy. Recognize the cycle of emotions they are experiencing and encourage the process. Above all remember that grief, like colors, comes in a myriad of hues and tones; and like a rainbow, even the smallest showers can foreshadow its arrival.

 

Struggling?  Make an appointment with Grief Therapy in Philadelphia