We have a lot of different taboos in our culture. There are gender ones, for example, a ban on the desire for sex for women. Women are prescribed to want a relationship and certainly with the prospect of marriage, but to admit that you want to sleep with a man simply because you liked it, it was drawn, passion arose, you can’t do it. There are prohibitions concerning objects, or rather attitudes towards them. The same money – how indecent is it to say that you want to get as much of it as possible, to ask for an increase in wages, to remind you of the repayment of a debt? You can think about it, do it, but you can’t admit it. And there is still a taboo on emotions. Moreover, one of these prohibitions covers both poles of the human condition – joy and sorrow.
“Do not laugh out loud”, “do not share happiness, otherwise they will jinx it”, “without recognizing grief, you will not recognize joy either” – I think each of you will easily continue this list of attitudes about dealing with joy. And all of them will touch one thing – hide, do not stick out.
So it is with grief. You can show it, but only in one key – passive. Those who have experienced loss are instructed to weep and grieve. Still remember the departed. You can be faithful to him. Or work through grief. This is welcome. For this, a special five-step model has been created. All other experiences and emotions are prohibited. But what to do with them, because they definitely exist? And before working with overcoming, it would be good to understand what exactly will have to be overcome.
1. Anger, and maybe hatred for the departed
Even if you have lost a loved one with whom you had an ideal relationship, at some point, anger will come to him. Firstly, because he deprived you of good things, and secondly, he deprived you of the wrong time. You have another deadline on your nose, a financial crisis, your grandmother’s illness, and then your loved one has died. And, if the relationship with the deceased was still difficult and you parted on the bad, then the anger will be from the fact that they will never be resolved, will not change, will not improve. You were left without a chance to speak out, to finish, to explain your point of view, to change, to look for some other reserves. Another person has gone beyond the horizon, leaving you at the point of no return and defeat. Because, about the dead, we have something – “good or not.” Another wonderful public message. As if death paints the face of the deceased in bright, positive tones, no matter how bad he did during his lifetime.
2. Unexpected tears
They will run everywhere. Even when you seemed to be calm and happy. In a minibus, when watching a movie, in a conversation with friends – when you don’t think about the loss at all and nothing around reminds you of it – your voice can suddenly break into a wheeze, and tears will splash from your eyes. And you will feel like an idiot, because crying just like that is also not accepted here, you can cry at a funeral. Or right after them. Or when you cut your finger, or your loved one threw it away. That is, there must be a good reason for tears, and also an obvious reason for everyone. And what is the reason for tears in the minibus, two months after the funeral?
3. Difficulties in communication
They will. And they will not only be with you when communicating with other people, but also with others when communicating with you. Since there is a taboo on experiencing grief in society, it means that there are no canons on how to empathize. With funeral rituals, everything is simple and clear, but what to do after – to leave a person alone with his grief, on the contrary, not to leave? Your friends and family will simply not know what to do. And you won’t know either. You will feel that you can no longer communicate as before, but how to communicate then? Should you explain to a man you don’t know why you can’t flirt freely with him, as you would when meeting him? Do you tell your friend that you can’t listen to her new episode of dramatic relationship with a man and empathize, just because it looks like child’s play compared to what happened to you? Do you refuse a colleague who asks you to read her new article and give her opinion because you are exhausted by your experiences? What, finally, to do with the passengers of the minibus, in which you suddenly burst into tears?
4. Sleep problems
Evening and night will be the most terrible time for you, even if you loved them before. The day can be taken with the usual fuss and somehow distracted. But at night there will be no mercy, you will be alone with your grief, it will be in your head, in your heart, even in your dreams, if you manage to switch off from fatigue for a while. There will be temptations to drink, smoke, break into a club, casino, night skiing, looking for casual sex – anything, just to get away from grief. You may be able to resist all of this, or you may not. Then the next morning, you will still punish yourself for what you have done. Because what society tells us about this is “Good girls don’t behave like that.” As, however, and “good boys.”
5. Shame and guilt for feeling joy that will be interspersed with grief
You will suddenly laugh merrily at your friend’s joke, as if you didn’t know a week ago that your mother had died. Laugh and immediately reproach yourself “as much as possible, I have grief.” Or you will feel relieved that even your beloved grandmother died, but who did not recognize you for the last 10 years of her life, because she spent them with Alzheimer’s. You will feel, and then you will begin to shame yourself – “how can you, because granny has done so many good things for me.” Guilt for not wearing black, because it’s a 30-degree summer outside. Or they went on a trip that they had planned for a long time. Or they went on a date, because the gentleman was not afraid of grief and invited you. The survivor often finds himself in a public clinch. On the one hand, it is supposed to grieve in grief, if instead of this you rejoice, or at the same time you rejoice anyway, you are condemned. On the other hand, if you grieve too long according to the same society, then you are condemned. Too. “Stuck”, “stuck”, “delayed”. And they are still avoiding it. Like grief is contagious. And then it is difficult to determine how much it is permissible to laugh and cry, so as not to become an outcast.
A few months ago, I lost my mother, with whom we had a very difficult relationship. She left early, stupidly, cruelly and not herself. In an attempt to deprive me of my inheritance, she became a victim of apartment swindlers. I lost not only her, and not only property, but also the house of my childhood. The place where I was born, grew up and experienced many happy moments. In return, she received two criminal cases and a reputation as a bad daughter. Naturally. After all, good mothers do not die like that. I can’t say that I fully survived the loss and “packaged” all my experience. But what I already know, I can share:
- Feel free to talk about your trouble, even to strangers. This does not mean that you need to turn into a whore or stick to everyone and everyone, complain and shed tears. No. But grief will change your usual behavior, so you need to explain to people what is happening to you. First, you can get support where you don’t expect it at all. And, secondly, any omissions give rise to misunderstanding and, as a result, can lead to a break in relations. If you simply do not answer calls or refuse to invite a friend to her invitations, soon she will stop calling you and inviting you. But if you say “it’s hard for me now, I’m very sad, so don’t be offended, but I can’t always accept your invitations, but it’s important for me to know that you are inviting me, that you are glad to me,” then the friend will treat with understanding and will wait for you without offense.
- If you cry, cry. No matter where – at home, in the office or in the subway. Let one of the random passengers think that you are strange, so what – you see this person for the first and last time. Pain comes out with tears. You need to let go of all the pain in order to open a place for joy.
- Don’t drink. And try to refrain from another destructive. The first month after my mother died, I couldn’t sleep without a couple of glasses of wine. Otherwise, the brain simply did not turn off. But in the morning, after such a dream, it is even worse. Try to replace alcohol with a hot bath, valerian, aromatic oils with soothing scents, films. Ask someone to sleep with you for the first couple of weeks. Sleep will gradually recover. And it is also very important not to be afraid of grief during the day, not to run away from it and not hide it, then it is not so terrible at night.
- Grief does not come alone. This is true. Along with the loss of a loved one, some other attack may fall upon you. But. With losses come gains. For example, I unexpectedly met a man who was not afraid of me in grief. And now I have a relationship in which there is warmth and support.
- Don’t be afraid of yourself. Don’t be embarrassed that you’re in trouble and discouraged right now. Strength is not in denying or hiding weaknesses. The strength is to endure all the trials of life. Don’t worry about what people will say about you. They will always say something. And it won’t always be good. But let them try to “walk in your shoes.” Or take care of your own.