How Mourning and Grief Impacts Relationships
Experiencing grief from the death of a loved one is one of the most painful things each person must face. The shock of your beloved friend or family member having passed away is difficult to deal with. The way each individual person processes their feelings, can cause changes to your relationships. It is vital that we remember the following as we watch others grieve and sometimes mourn ourselves.
Everyone Mourns Differently
The process of mourning is a very personal experience. Because grief is so unique, each person reacts differently to the death of a loved one. Your instinct may be to reach out and connect. Yet, the instinct of your friend or relative may be to retreat, distract themselves with work or hobbies or shut down.
Your relationship with the deceased was special, so the process in which you grieve the loss will also be unique and personal to you. The close friends and family that you would expect to be there for you in one of the most challenging times of your life may not be present in the way you’d hoped or anticipated. Even your spouse or partner may not provide the comfort you’d expect.
Relationships Impacted by Grief Will Change
It’s disappointing and hurtful to experience what feels like a breakdown in your relationships when you need support the most. However, you must realize that your friends, family and spouse are likely also grieving, and going through their own process of mourning. It’s hard to imagine, but the things we say and do during the grieving process may not be a reflection of your value to someone.
It’s also important not to rely solely on your spouse for comfort. It’s healthier for both of you, and will ease the stress on your marriage, if you have other people to turn to for help.
The impact of grief can be incredible strain on your existing relationships, as who you are as a person is temporarily altered as you struggle to cope with the loss and find a way to move forward. Your close friends and loved ones may have difficulty coping with how you’re mourning, causing them to pull away temporarily. It’s also possible that they’re struggling in a completely different way and reaching out to you may cause them pain in a different way. They could also be very used to seeing you as a source of strength, and a pillar, and seeing you in this vulnerable state (in addition to possibly dealing with their own grief) is more than they can bear.
Seek Out New Sources of Support
Maintaining relationships takes effort, and they’re vulnerable to the difficulties we face as we move through life. You may need to turn to distant family members other friends or acquaintances, make new connections through bereavement groups or seek professional help from a mental health counselor to find solace and understanding.
Although we can expect bereavement to change our relationships, we can also expect some semblance of normalcy as everyone copes with the loss over the passage of time. By forgiving friends or loved ones who weren’t there for you as you dealt with your grief, you can re-establish lost connections.
If you’re having difficulty with your relationships as you grieve and need some understanding and guidance, please give Mind Spa a call.
Mind Spa is the premier counseling center for mental health therapy and counseling in Wyoming and Montana, providing both in person and virtual appointments. We have a robust team to help individual adults, adolescents, children, couples, and families. Dr. Sheri Fluellen is a Licensed Psychologist and the CEO of Mind Spa. Dr. Sheri works nationally with entrepreneurs, business owners, and high achievers who are hitting a wall somewhere in their life and want help gaining momentum again. She remains strength-based and is focused on the integrity of leadership.