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Posts Tagged ‘Support Groups’

How Can You Sit There and Complain?

It’s your first day back whether that’s days or weeks.  You are nervous about going back to work.

You might be experiencing a multitude of feelings and sensations and wonder how they could be happening all at once.

You can’t remember what you just read.

You forget your son’s phone number and you are barely sleeping at night.

That’s what coming back to work might be like for the grieving.

I work with clients whom share stories about their first day, weeks, or even months back at work.  Some have good friends that are there with hugs upon reuniting.

For others, co-workers may say hello but avoid their glance.

Often the grieving person and the co-workers don’t know what to do or say.

One woman lost her husband and struggled having to raise two children alone.  For weeks she felt like people were avoiding her.

She often got upset while she sitting at her cubicle, listening to people complaints when their husbands didn’t take out the garbage or help cook dinner, or were off hunting too often.

She often left her space to go find a place to cry.

She wanted to tell others that she would give anything to have her husband to complain about; his snoring that made for restless nights for her or times that they wouldn’t agree on how to talk to their kids.

She acknowledged her sadness and owned that no one could make her cry.

She was crying because she loved her husband.

She just wished that the people around her could be more sensitive to the fact that she felt like no matter how much complaining their might be, she wished she still had someone to complain about rather than to grieve over.

Finally one day, with support from her group, she asked everyone together and shared her feelings and her needs, helping to ease the discomfort that they all felt.

Rather than hiding her feelings or becoming resentful to people she had worked with for a long time, she felt empowered to ask for help and for compassion for her situation.

Her co-workers and supervisor appreciated that they now knew how to help and that they could talk to her about the wonderful memories they shared of company picnics and little league games that they had attended.

The work place went from a place of misery to a place where she could find comfort from people who were close to her and knew her family.

Sometimes, even in the pain of our grief, we have to take a stand.

We have to empower ourselves to get our needs me.

Life for this woman was much different when she voiced her concerns, from her heart and shared what she needed without blame or judgment for the people around her.

Think about the situations you are in, whether you are an exhausted caregiver, an employee living with chronic or life-limiting illness, and ask yourself, What do I need for support?  What can I ask of others?  What am I willing to accept?  Am I willing to risk making a difference?

Photo from:  http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/lifestyle-and-timeout/middle-aged-women-and-workplace-perceptions/

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We don’t get to hear a lot from men about their grief.  And I am sure that is for many reasons.  When we do, I think it is really important to listen, pay mindful attention, and try to understand what’s going on.  Much of bereavement literature and theory was based on work with widows.  We know that loss is so different, so personal, and to base our theories on one group for so long (and then not question that we did that) is a bit embarrassing and not really fair.

Robert Stolorow, traumatologist and psychoanalyst, shared this post on a blog project in Sept 2011.  I am sharing it here because later this week I will be looking at the different kinds of grievers. . .intuitive and instrumental. . . and to help understand the difference so that we can help provide appropriate care to the bereft.  Not everyone is going to cry.  Not everyone is going to run a marathon.  And we should ask them to do what is not in their souls to do.

I hope you enjoy this post.  I appreciate Dr. Stolorow for sharing his experience with being with healing and grieving.

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