Are You Resisting, Refusing Or Consumed With Grief?

Have you lost someone or something important to you and now feel like half a person, unsure of how to cope with pain and manage uncertainty? Do you feel isolated and alone in your grief, wondering who would listen, let alone understand? Maybe you feel empty, rootless and uncertain of who you are now, especially if you lost someone that you were deeply attached to. Or perhaps someone or something was taken from you abruptly, and you feel shocked, angry or numb. It may be that you’re struggling to grieve the loss of a dream, ideal, attachment or goal. You may find yourself lost in fantasy images, refusing to give up hope and trying to will a person, relationship, job or dream into reality. Do you wish you could work through the roller-coaster of emotions that comes with grief, feel whole again and believe that everything is going to be okay?

Feeling caught in the midst of grief—as well as refusing to accept that an idea, relationship or a dream will never be—can be a lonely, limiting and depressing experience. It might be that someone you loved has passed on and you’re weighed down by sadness, struggling to make sense of who you are and what your life means now. You might have lost a job, ended a significant relationship, lost your hair while being treated for cancer, ‘lost’ a loved one who, in the throes of Alzheimer’s, is no longer the person you knew or moved from a house you treasured. Whatever the experience, you may feel confused, isolated, abandoned or afraid. You may be struggling to face the reality of your loss, grappling with denial, anger, sadness or fear, and questioning why this happened to you.

Understanding Grief

If you’re struggling to make sense of, accept or move on after a significant loss, you are not alone. Grief is a natural, normal and necessary universal experience. And while we grow accustomed to managing and moving on from the small losses that we experience every day, such as the end of a visit with a friend, the end of your favorite television series or the ending of a special time with your loved one before everyone else gets home, some losses—especially those that are profound, abrupt or devastating—can wipe us out and cause feelings of extreme sadness or anger. We may question our identity and feel uncertain and/or frightened about the future.

You may have a hard time grieving for something that you wished you’d had—and still hope to have—however unlikely, such as to be loved as much as your parents love your sibling—their favorite. It’s tough when you’ve always wanted a parent to notice your efforts or to empathize with your need to be validated, but they don’t. You experience it as a loss and you want to undo it. You even may try to reverse the past by maintaining a lack of participation in life, hoping that your parents will see how they made you suffer, feel guilty about it, beg for forgiveness and restore you to life in its fullest capacity. That wish is very powerful—much more so than accepting the fact that your parent is emotionally unavailable and may always be that way. Grieving the loss of the kind of parent you were entitled to means accepting that you can’t change them, and that realization may be unbearable. If you stick with the wish, you are not giving up, preventing you from grieving and moving on in your life. You stay stuck, defeated and miserable.

Similarly, if you have been through traumatic breakups and separations that you haven’t come to terms with, you may not be able to grieve and acknowledge a loss that you don’t accept. Building a shrine to a deceased pet and vowing never to have another is one example; but a more worrying case is when you can’t let go of your ex’s stuff because you still cling to the hope that your partner will return after leaving you. Grieving that loss would mean accepting it, which would allow you to enter the next phase of your life in a more fulfilling manner.

Life can be hard, and suffering a significant loss and/or a trauma can turn it upside-down. Whether you’re in the midst of grief or the misery of limbo, I can help. A supportive, experienced and understanding grief therapist can help you make sense of and accept what has happened so you can move on with ease, peace and clarity.

Radio Interview on Grief Given By Dr. Jeanette Raymond

Grief Counseling Can Provide You With Support, Guidance, Insight And Direction

woman holding her headIn safe, compassionate grief and loss counseling sessions, I will acknowledge and validate your feelings of grief and loss and help you begin to accept loss if you’re struggling with its reality. I will hold a warm and supportive space as you share your story, express difficult emotions and work through your grief. Although it’s challenging, I can help you understand and accept that you can’t go back and create a different history. And, I can help you find a balance between keeping the wish and grieving the fact that it won’t come true.

As you progress through the stages of grief with my compassionate support and thoughtful insights, you can connect to the reality of your situation and realize that you can’t control the events of life and can’t make others into the people you’d like them to be. It’s a tough, but manageable process, and I’ll be with you on that journey. In grief counseling sessions you can find the center of your life force that wants to you to live in a purposeful way.

In addition to support and guidance, I can provide you with effective tools and strategies to help you with the process of letting go, such as writing a letter to who you lost. You can fully mourn and even celebrate who or what you lost and begin enjoying what you do have today. And, while you don’t have to erase feelings or important memories, you can begin to breathe again and open the door to new possibilities of loving and being loved.

Life might feel uncertain and even scary right now, but it is possible for you to acknowledge and process your grief so that life is meaningful again. You can celebrate and/or let go of what you lost, understand that it’s okay to enjoy new experiences and relationships and create the space needed to allow something lovely into your life. With the support, guidance and thoughtful perspective of an experienced grief counselor, you can figure out who you are now, without loss defining you. It is possible to foster new, healthy attachments and opportunities and live with purpose, direction and clarity.

You still may have questions or concerns about grief therapy…

I’m afraid that fully mourning and accepting my loss will make the memories fade or even go away.

Your memories and/or the dream or wish are an important part of you and will always be there. But, they don’t have to dictate how you experience life now and in the future. In grief therapy sessions, you can learn that memories and new attachments, opportunities and experiences can co-exist. There is a place for both of them.

Nobody understands why I’m still grieving. Is there something really wrong with me?

While grief and loss are universal occurrences, we each grieve in our own way and on our own timeline. For you, the process may be taking longer, especially if you believe that if you refuse to give up hope and “hold on” long enough, the world will stand still and you can stay close to whatever or whomever you have lost. This is where grief and loss counseling can help. In the safe and supportive space of my office, you can come to a place of acceptance. You can grieve in a way that flows and move forward with your life.

While painful, I need to remember what happened. It’s the fuel that keeps me going.

If you’re feeling angry about what you lost—perhaps your partner left you abruptly, you were laid off from your job without warning or you’re harboring grief and anger toward a neglectful or abusive parent or ex-partner—you might feel that you need to grasp tight to your anger in an attempt to hold someone accountable. In the meantime, however, you are really just hurting you. You are likely not allowing yourself to benefit from or even see the caring people and positive opportunities all around you. In grief counseling sessions, you can come to terms with what happened and realize that the only person really suffering when you hold on is you. You don’t have to erase what happened from memory, but you can let go enough so that anger no longer consumes you. And, as you move forward and create a life filled with meaning and purpose, you can ease the feelings of vengeance inside of you and make space for something and/or someone new.

Feel Supported, Eased And At Peace

You don’t have to continue trying cope with grief on your own. I invite you to take the next step and call my office at 310-985-2491 to schedule an initial appointment. Your happiness is an investment that matters.