Wallowing in Grief

Yet another great piece on grieving from Tim Lawrence at his blog The Adversity Within.

Link to full post below. A few of my favorite quotes also below.

“The pervasive cultural image of the grieving person is of one who is tucked away in the corner, doing nothing but weeping all day and “wasting” their time with suffering and pain. For the overwhelming majority of grieving people, this is bullshit.”

“If you’ve ever heard some explicit or implicit version of “oh come on, why are you still sad?” or “I can’t be around all this negative energy,” then you’ve been subjected to what I call conformist wallowing. People who view any sort of “negative” emotions or experiences as “victimy” behaviors are themselves playing into an unconscious desire for control. Paradoxically, this desire for control is often borne of unresolved trauma in their own lives.

If you find yourself in the presence of these people when your world’s been torn upside down, remember that you can make the choice to ignore what they say. You also have the right to remove them from your life. “

“If you find yourself grieving any form of tragic loss—whether the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, a devastating injury, or any other loss, please, do not, under any circumstance, fall into the “I can’t grieve because I’ll look like a victim.” If you do this, you are setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary suffering. Instead, please remember the following:

1. If you’re not happy or “getting better” all the time, don’t worry about it (no one is anyway).

2. If you fear that the people in your life will think you’re wallowing because you don’t conform to their norms of what you should “appear” to look like, make the choice to ignore these fears and grieve. It’s never worth it to base your choices on the expectations of others, and this is even more important when you’re grieving.

3. If life feels like hell one moment and then you’re caught in a wave of oh shit I might actually work through this and then the next day you can’t stop weeping and then a few days after that you help another wounded soul and you feel like you’ll still be of service to the world, keep it up and keep going.

Why? Because this is the nature of grief. It’s one of the messiest, nonlinear, paradoxical experiences we endure in this life. Some days you’ll feel like you’re moving forward in confidence—even in hope—while other days your pain will penetrate you to your core. This is normal.

4. If you are terrified of what you might see, experience and feel if you allow yourself to grieve openly and vulnerably, you might be tempted to seek out advice on “how” to grieve. While solidarity and community are essential in grief, don’t go looking for some sort of formula, as that is often just an avoidance mechanism.”

Read the entire post Grieving Isn’t Wallowing.

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