Using the The Grief Recovery Method® Grief Support Group, I enable grievers to move from pain and grief to recovery and relief.
Since grief is such a wide topic that covers many kinds of losses and an almost infinite range of emotions, there isn’t a single grief definition that covers it all. But there are two
I use to help people understand what grief is...
The most basic definition is: Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. In and of itself, grief is neither a pathological condition nor a personality disorder.
While that definition is accurate, it doesn’t really explain what grief is. So here’s another one I use to give a better idea of what grief is, beyond the fact that it’s normal: Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior... Life, love, death, end of relationships... etc.
When someone important to us dies, or a marriage/relationship ends, or with any of the more than forty other kinds of grief one may experience in a lifetime, it represents an end to what has been familiar for us, and we must adapt to that new—usually unwanted—reality. Our lives are different after the grief experience. That’s fairly easy to understand.
Some of us have become very good at holding onto pain. We may have unresolved loss-of-trust experiences from childhood that keep us in an almost perpetual state of acceptance of pain as a permanent condition.
Many of us keep dragging the unfinished relationships of our past into all of our new relationships, and then acting surprised when they always end the same. We may be ill-equipped to deal with the feelings caused by the end of each new relationship, and we may be unaware that almost all of our past relationships are incomplete or unresolved.
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.
Some of us are able to acknowledge that we have sabotaged many relationships. While we have the intellectual awareness that we are the common denominator in the sabotages, we find ourselves unable to change our behavior. If the intellect were the key to successful recovery then we would be able to think ourselves well. We would be able to understand ourselves into better actions. Clearly that does not work.
Unresolved grief is cumulative and cumulatively negative. While time sometimes dulls the pain, time does not, of itself, complete what is emotionally unfinished between us and people who have died, and others from whom we are estranged. Although most of us had direct relationships with the people that were close to us who died, we all have had relationships with people whom we remember. It might be a good time to talk about those relationships, and if painful feelings persist, to use my expertise to complete any unfinished emotions attached to those relationships.
QUESTION: I have had many painful loss experiences in my life. Sometimes I feel as if there is no way I can ever let down my guard and allow any positive or happy experiences in. Will the The Grief Recovery Method® Grief Support Group help me change this fearful habit?
ANSWER: In clearly identifying your behavior as a habit, you increase the probability of growth and change. The idea of changing a habit is probably less intimidating than the idea of changing a behavior. In truth, most of our behaviors are habits that we have practiced so well and so often that they seem like our nature. Many of our survival habits were developed when we were quite young. Often we are managing an adult life with the limited skills and perceptions of a small child. As we grieve and complete the events and the behaviors of our pasts, we become open to our ability to be happy.
The actions of the The Grief Recovery Method® Grief Support Group that help grieving people deal with their unresolved grief are very accessible to anyone who’s willing to take those actions. They are relatively easy to do, even though we might think that they are hard because we were never taught they exist or how to do them, and because we may have believed the myth that grief is permanent and recovery is impossible.
I, as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, strive to provide the aid to understanding and completing The Grief Recovery Method® Grief Support Group process that can help with grief in all facets of your life.
My mission and calling is to help you reach your full potential. ~ Pastor Paul Harper