I’m Fine…and Other Lies!!!

by Russell Friedman & John W. James of The Grief Recovery Institute 

A common thread running through the articles we have written is the misinformation we are all subjected to about processing the normal emotions caused by loss. We do not want to create any new loss issues by blaming our parents in particular or society in general for having passed on ineffective ideas, skills, and tools for dealing with loss. All we want to do is help establish that what we have been using to process our sad, painful or negative feelings hasn’t worked, and that we need to acquire more effective tools for dealing with loss events. (more…)

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Are There Actual Stages of Grieving?

by Russell Friedman & John W. James of The Grief Recovery Institute 

Many years ago Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book entitled On Death and Dying. The book identified five stages that a dying person goes through when they are told that they have a terminal illness. Those stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. For many years, in the absence of any other helpful material, well-meaning people incorrectly assigned those same stages to the grief that follows a death or loss. Although a griever might experience some or all of those feeling stages, it is not a correct or helpful basis for dealing with the conflicting feelings caused by loss.  (more…)

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If I Start Crying will I be able to Stop?

by Russell Friedman & John W. James of The Grief Recovery Institute 

There are many misconceptions about the pain associated with significant emotional loss. Some relate to the reaction of others, for example: “it’s not fair to burden them with my pain,” or “you have to be strong for others” [mum, dad, kids, etc.]. Some relate to how we think we should be reacting to the loss, for example: “I should be over it by now”, or “I have to keep busy”.  (more…)

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Am I Equipped for Happiness

by Russell Friedman & John W. James of The Grief Recovery Institute 

In a previous article “Less Than Loved Ones -Hopes and Dreams” we touched upon the idea that grievers develop a relationship to their pain, as if their identity hinged on regarding themselves as unhappy. Many people become so familiar with those painful feelings that they are afraid to let them go. If it were not so sad, and if it did not have such dire consequences, one would be tempted to draw a cartoon of someone clinging desperately to a horrible looking creature called “pain,” terrified of losing it. And yet, that is exactly what it looks like.  (more…)

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3 UNHELPFUL THINGS PEOPLE HEAR AFTER LOSING A PET

dog3If you’ve ever lost a pet you know how painful it can be. Were you shocked at how intense your grief was? Were you hesitant to talk about your sadness? That’s common.

Pet loss hurts like any other loss, but people grieving pet loss don’t normally talk about their feelings because they are afraid of being judged. When they do talk about what’s going on they are usually met with intellectual statements that minimize their feelings. This reinforces their fear that pet loss is not as significant as a human death, divorce or other grief experiences. Of course that isn’t true. All grief is experienced at 100%.  Grief is grief no matter what the cause. (more…)

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Coping With Christmas

Machristmasny people are wondering how they are going to cope with getting all the usual shopping, presents, cards, food, tree, people, decorations etc ready in time for Christmas.  All those preparations that lead to a warm, joyful, happy, family time.

For some though, they will be wondering how they are going to cope with Christmas for very different reasons. It may be that they are facing their first Christmas alone or with someone missing from their family unit. There is a person shaped hole in their heart, a space at the table. Equally, it may be that the Christmas period is a reminder of past not so happy times. Does death, loss and disaster choose to avoid Christmas? No, of course not. So what can you do to survive the season? (more…)

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AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN…

sunset“At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.”  This Sunday the nation will fall silent as we remember all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in all conflicts and war over the years.

There will be a mixture of emotions from pride and respect to sadness, sorrow and grief. Some of the grief may still be felt for recent losses and other grief for not so recent losses. There are no time scales for when the grieving process is over. All grief is unique and individual. (more…)

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THE AFTERMATH

flagIn the aftermath of the terrible, barbaric events in Paris what are we left with? For those who are directly affected and their families and friends there will be a range of feelings and emotions and an understandable and incalculable amount of grief.  For those of use who don’t know any of those innocent victims, we have become grievers too. We have now, all experienced a loss of safety, a loss of trust and above all a loss of innocence. This sort of event really could happen to us, will we now re-think how we live our lives and relationships? (more…)

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