Nicki Ditch LMHC, CCTP, AMTP

Mental Health and Counseling

  •  

    When an Ex Dies

    Image Credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NfiBW4gtbho/Ui0oPfsC3HI/AAAAAAAAAOY/PLXXwwZ8HFk/s1600/keep+calm.png

    Our family just learned about the death of a remarkable young man and his death is so tragic, so untimely, and just overall, heartbreaking. I'm now thinking a lot about the many deaths I have heard about as a therapist who specializes in grief. Of all the thoughts I am having, the one that speaks loudest right now is how sad it is that so many people are so unsupported in their grief when they hear about the death of an ex-partner.

    Grief is the felt experience in response to a significant loss. Consider all the possible variables in this statement and know that grief is a completely personal experience. “The felt experience” includes so much that listing it all here would be ridiculous. People DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES if the loss is significant or not. If someone says the loss is significant, there is no questioning it! That the person said it means that it is, even if you do not agree.

    Mourning is the collective behaviors someone does in grief including, but not limited to crying, praying and rituals. We mourn in an effort to process and heal from the loss. Everyone grieves and mourns differently. There is much validity in the "Stages of Grief" that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying however, many say that model is outdated and I refer to "The Tasks of Grief" proposed by William Worden in his 2009 book Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy.

    What???? TASKS??? What do you mean I have tasks to do, especially now while I'm grieving??!! Yes, you have tasks to do and completion of those tasks is called “Grief Work.” As the title states, grief work is work and can be seemingly impossible work at times. There are 4 tasks we must complete in our grief work and we NEED supportive people in our lives while we grieve.

    Everyone needs to go through the tasks in their own personal way!!! I tell my clients something my professor in school told me daily (From whom or where he got this, I don’t have a clue); “Trust in your process. Be patient with your timeline. Be kind to yourself.” This is so important that I never get sick of saying this to people!! It helped me in my grief when my professor said it to me repeatedly and it can help In the grief work of others. While we need to trust in our own grief process and be patient our own timeline, WE NEED TO DO THAT FOR OTHERS AS WELL EVEN WHEN THEIR PROCESS AND TIMELINE DIFFER FROM OUR OWN!!

    All too often, people are not fully supported when they are grieving an ex. Insecure current partners get in the way of the healthy grief process that everyone deserves to experience and work through.

    Image Credit: https://photos.gograph.com/thumbs/CSP/CSP649/k6494026.jpg

    Jealousy absolutely has its place and never is its place in a loved one grieving a death!!! JEALOUSY ALWAYS INVOLVES MORE THAN 2 PEOPLE AND IS A RESPONSE TO A REAL OR IMAGINED THREAT THAT ANOTHER PERSON WILL TAKE OUR MATE! Jealousy is adaptive, folks!! When appropriately experienced, it motivates us to become a more attractive mate to our current partner and at times, it may lead to physical aggression or even violence to keep the outsider from taking our mate!!! Think about it! If the person died, there is NO WAY that person will take your mate from you (all spiritual and life-after-death beliefs aside)!!

    When a current partner gets angry, resentful, and does and says hurtful things to their partner who is grieving an ex, it is nonsense!!!  It simply does not make sense! Your partner is hurting because of his/her humanness, ability to love, and the importance of ALL relationships! Their grief and mourning DO NOT mean that they love the deceased person more than they love you, that they would rather be with that person, or that you are no longer the most important person in your mate’s life! IT DOES mean that your mate is human, is able to love deeply, and values their relationships, even the past ones.

    If you find yourself feeling angry, hurt, resentful, scared, or jealous about your mate’s grief and mourning over the death of an ex, it means that you have wounds that need to heal yourself. Please invest in healing those wounds so that you can be at peace while you help heal your partner in his/her grief.

     

Comments

  • (no comment)