Recognizing the phenomenon we'd labeled as people's relationship to their pain, we began using a piece of language to help grieving spouses shift from living in pain to the idea of completion. One day while talking to a griever on the phone we said, "It doesn't seem right that a relationship that should leave a legacy of love has turned into a monument to misery for you. We have since said that thousands of times, each time with the aim of helping someone break out of their relationship to pain so that they could begin to complete what was emotionally unfinished with the person who died. One of the traps of grief and then unresolved grief, is the almost diabolical speed at which the relationship to pain develops, takes root, and becomes almost permanent.
You've probably known someone who has been reciting a litany of pain for years and years. It may have been very frustrating for you not to be able to help them. Whether you are a mental health professional, a friend , or family member, at some point you may have realized that by allowing that person to endlessly repeat their sad story, you were not necessarily helping them. But, as you much as you cared for that person, you may not have been able to communicate to them what we have said in this piece. Also, they may not be able to hear you, because you are too close to them.
Sharing this article with someone you think would benefit from it may propel them to a new understanding and even to actions for change. Grieving people can truly become stuck in their pain and become unwilling to look for any solutions, in part because they equate their pain with love, and also because they can't think of any reasons or goals that would encourage them to do anything other than live in the pain that has become their constant companion.
There are three essential objectives that can be achieved as the result of taking the actions of Grief Recovery: 1. Most people, when asked, agree that they'd like to achieve those goals. Of course, the impediment to achieving those three goals is the accumulation of misinformation most of us have acquired about dealing with loss. Reading and understanding this article is only a beginning.
A Legacy of Love and Service
This column is dedicated to the possibility that someone reading it may be able to recognize themselves in the ideas presented here, and begin a shift to the very real possibility of recapturing the legacy of love that should be the natural by-product of a wonderful long term relationship. Also, for those of you reading this who hope that someone you know or care about could get the message, print out a copy of this article and find a loving way to give it to them.
Hopefully, the person you love will be inspired to get a copy of The Grief Recovery Handbook [available in most libraries], and to begin the series of actions that can lead to completion of the undelivered emotional communications, both positive and negative, which are part of their relationship with their spouse who died. The idea of a legacy of love versus a monument to misery is not limited to marriage and other long term romantic relationships. The same issues and problems affect adults whose parents die, or siblings of siblings, and even very long term friendships.
Therefore, the same solutions from The Grief Recovery Handbook apply. Another great post with a lot of great points.
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You are doing fantastic work and the more people who hear and read your words, the more people who will finally be able to become complete with relationships like these. I have found this to be that people become attached to their pain and that helps them stay stuck in the grief. I have also found that people then buy into identifying themselves as a "widow" or "abandoned child" and can get stuck in this identification of a new role.
Thanks for your input - I do believe I will begin a post on the topic of labeling as antagonistic to recovery. How do I get additional information? I lost my 58 year old husband suddenly and unexpectedly almost a year ago. Thank you. The only sliver of value is the reminder to cherish those we love and tell them. To remember that person the way we knew them in life; and to say "goodbye. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Back Magazine. Subscribe Issue Archive. Back Today. When Should You Share a Secret?
Russell Friedman Broken Hearts.
A Legacy of Service
Recently a close friend of ours died after a few years of declining health. This person and his wife—Tom and Sue Peine—provided an excellent standard of Christ-centered servant leadership. Surrounded by his wife and loving family in a storybook ending, Tom left this life on the Sabbath of Feb. Tom shared many things in common with me and Bev.
Legacy of Love, or Monument to Misery | Psychology Today
Tom was a long-time elder serving various congregations in Indiana. He also had a kind word, even in days where he was physically challenged. Tom advocated giving people the benefit of the doubt. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Tom was always interested in life and all its curiosities.
Tom became a regular speaker at Sabbath services in our congregation. His messages were interesting, as he saw life in a much bigger way than through predictable cut-and-dry formulas. His love and grasp of human relationships was amazing as he always sought to help people who were challenged or who were challenging themselves—whether they were children, teens, young adults or elderly.
He always sought how he could help them break through their personal limitations. He was faithful to God in his personal life and in his role as an elder in the Church.
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