As relationship specialists, at Solid Foundations Therapy, we work with many people who have experienced grief and mourning in their life. During the emotional turmoil that accompanies a loss, it is easy to buy into some commonly held beliefs about grief that unfortunately are not very helpful in the long run. Here are some of the most common myths that we often dispel with our clients:
Myth #1:You should be over it by now.
There is no template for the timeline of grief. When you suffer a loss in your life – whether it is a death or a secondary loss (something like divorce, a breakup, or a part of your identity) – it is impossible to know when and how you will be “over it.” In fact, expecting to “get over it” is unrealistic. Instead, grief can come and go in waves for different periods of time depending on your experience, and at some point it just stops feeling so “heavy.”
Myth #2: Grief and mourning are the same thing.
These are actually two separate ideas! Grief is our own private experience following a loss; it can affect us emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally, socially, financially, or spiritually. Mourning is the outward expression of our grief – it is a social response that involves us openly sharing our grief with others. Everyone experiences grief, but not everyone mourns in the same way.
Myth #3: There is a predictable progression of our grief.
One of the most common myths our clients hear is that grief progresses predictably and linearly, from denial-to anger-to bargaining-to depression-to acceptance. This is not the case; in fact every individual experiences a messier, much less predictable emotional experience depending on several factors. Their past experiences with loss, their relationship with the person they lost, the type of loss, and other factors like cultural background all play a role.
Myth #4:Grief happens only when someone dies.
People obviously grieve a death, but we also grieve when we experience what are called “secondary losses”. This can be the loss of a pet, a divorce, a breakup, or losses stemming from life transitions such as graduation, moving, job loss, or changes in health.
If you have experienced a loss and are struggling with grief; call us. We are prepared to help you navigate the loss by providing you with emotional support, help you understand how you have experienced loss in your life, and give you access to tools designed to help you in your healing process.