Setting and maintaining boundaries for grieving.

It is fascinating how synchronicity works in life.  While searching for an image for a poem about grief that I wrote yesterday I happened upon a brilliant article on setting and maintaining boundaries around grieving, which is honestly something I now realise after reading I was never able to have with a lot of people in my own life and struggled with for so long.

It’s interesting also that the author lost her own father in her 20s as I did.  For me that loss is over 30 years in the past now but it still haunts me, especially now that my sister and mother are dead too.  I didn’t have the best relationship with my Dad in terms of emotional validation and closeness, so my own grief too was tinged with a lot of unconscious anger (and all grief has some anger associated with it.)  At times when triggered in relationships I have only been able to rage at men who echo the dismissal or not seeing into me of my father that has only come to light in recent years in therapy.  I am in no doubt of my Dad’s love for me it was just the expression of it was so often wanting.

Anyway I felt moved to share the following paragraphs with my followers as well as the link to the article.  We need not accept the invalidation of our grief.   And it is so important to find at least someone we can express our true feelings with and not be told stupid stuff like “just let it go”, “he/she is in a better place”, “just get your mind off it”  etc.  Repressed grief or complicated grief can stay trapped in our bodies for years and years and end up either in illnesses or diagnosis of so called ‘mental illness.”  Sadly in recent years there has been a move to make grief of over a year’s duration that is still unresolved or strongly present into an psychological illness.  This issue is something author Johann Hari addresses in his book Lost Connections : Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions. 

To pathologise or make an illness of what is a necessary process of a soul trying to integrate the inherent complexities of the human and spiritual experience of life is to my mind a travesty.  As Joanne says in the chapter on this subject in Johann’s book “we’re such an utterly disconnected culture, we just don’t get human suffering.”  We fail to acknowledge it and treat its sufferers so often so very insensitively and down right callously.

The unfortunate reality in our society is that a huge part of grieving is dealing with people who think they can speak about what you’re going through; who dismiss and belittle your lived experience by placing expectations on your ability to “overcome” it, who perhaps have the audacity to label your actions “crazy,” or who make the mistake of comparing your loss to an incomparable event in their own life (if another person likens my father’s death to the loss of their dog…). A person’s inability to empathize is not your responsibility to accommodate. Do not shy away from setting boundaries around your very personal and innately individual experience by speaking up and letting people know what is and is not okay with you. If you listen carefully to it, your anger can be a very informative and valuable tool to protect yourself.

As a woman who has felt guilty for asserting myself, taking up space, and inconveniencing others, the overarching lesson I’ve learned about my grief is that I am not sorry. I am not sorry if my grief makes others feel uncomfortable. I am not sorry if my reaction to loss is inconvenient, and I am not sorry I bailed on our plans so I could watch emotional Oscar acceptance speeches on YouTube while sitting in a towel on my bathroom floor.

Grief is terrible, and refusing to apologize for that fact has been an invaluable and empowering way to create the space I need to heal. Nobody who truly loves you will ever be let down by you doing something to help yourself bear the weight of loss.

Published by: emergingfromthedarknight

"The religious naturalist is provisioned with tales of natural emergence that are, to my mind, far more magical than traditional miracles. Emergence is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us." Ursula Goodenough How to describe oneself? People are a mystery and there is so much more to us than just our particular experiences or occupations. I could write down a list of attributes and they still might not paint a complete picture pf Deborah Louise and in any case it would not be the full truth of me. I would say that my purpose here on Wordpress is to express some of my random experiences, thoughts and feelings, to share about my particular journey and explore some subjects dear to my heart, such as emotional recovery, healing and astrology while posting up some of the prose/poems which are an outgrowth of my labours with life, love and relationships. If anything I write touches you I would be so pleased to hear for the purpose of reaching out and expressung ourselves is hopefully to connect with each other and find where our souls meet.

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