By Lianne Johnson, LPC
Over the last two years my life has traveled through several seasons of grief caused by a crisis. Have you ever experienced grief? If you have, then you are keenly aware of how those around you try to place a time limit on your grief. Why do people place a time limit on how long another is to deal with grief?
Grief is not clean. It is dirty. It comes and it goes and then comes and goes again. Why is it so hard for us to let people be sad or tired or be in pain emotionally?
I have found that most of those who have struggled with my grief struggle because of how it impacts them, and to be fair, they also miss the “me” before my season of grief. The result of this is that they do not accept the “different” me – the me covered in grief. They want to “normal” me – the me they have known far longer than the me in grief.
by Jonathan Hart
If this phrase fills you with a sense of foreboding, you’re not alone. For many, the holidays can be a time of guilt and frustration in which the traditional family gatherings are fraught with conflict, tension, and heartache. Family gatherings can be confusing. “Why is this so hard? Is it supposed to be like this? That’s just how they are, I need to get over it… but I can’t!”
Families are rarely perfect. We often feel pressures and expectations when we are among our closest relatives that we don’t feel anywhere else or at any other time of year. I’ve heard more than one person complain, “Mom (or Dad) treats me like I’m still twelve years old! They don’t seem to understand that I’m an adult now,” or “I just go along with it! I can’t seem to stand my ground with them.”
While these pressures and conflicts are not unusual, they are painful and difficult to handle for many people. We feel the power of these relationships and expectations deeply, and we aren’t sure what we have the right to challenge and what we don’t. All too often we avoid confronting what is painful because the consequences are just too great. “I can’t say that to my Mother! It would crush her! It would ruin the whole trip!”
If you are among those who need help sorting out the expectations and learning how to relate in a healthier way when you’re at home, I’d encourage you to sign up for the “Surviving the Holidays” seminar that we are presenting at Rooftop Church in Affton on Friday, November 9th from 5:30-9:00 PM. We will discuss how relationships are designed to function, how they get off track, and how to change the pattern in a healthy direction. For details on how to register for this event CLICK HERE!
I remember a time when I experienced loss. As I walked home that evening, I remember telling myself this isn’t going to ruin me. I made a vow that I wouldn’t let it affect me. I wouldn’t be weak. I wouldn’t feel. I would forget; pretend it never happened. And then it wouldn’t hurt me. Then it wouldn’t touch me. I would ignore the wound; pretend it wasn’t there. Then it would go away.
But it didn’t go away. Neither did my memories. I started watching more TV to try to divert my attention. I had trouble concentrating on work, my mind wandering back to that event. To that pain. I had to distract myself, numb myself. I mustn’t think about it ever again. It was too painful. If I thought about it, something bad would happen . . . I had to avoid it at all costs.