How to Cope with Grief and
the Barrier to Grief
What do we mean by grief?
Coping with the grief and loss of someone you love can be one of life’s biggest challenges. In fact, the barrier to grief can be utterly overwhelming. Grieving is the natural human process by which we begin to come to terms with our grief and loss.
We all grieve in our own way
We all cope with grief and loss in different ways. Some people want to hide away quietly, others want to be busy and begin organizing. Some people surprise themselves that they appear to feel nothing at all. Others are waiting for the right time.
None of these are right or wrong.
The barrier to grief
As a counsellor in Tunbridge Wells working with grief and bereavement, one thing I have come to find is that most people who are newly bereaved are fighting a battle on two fronts. They are not only trying to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, they are also faced with their own, often life-long, processes of coping with the barrier to grief.
Their own methods for keeping safe can actually get in the way of allowing them to grieve now. Therefore, it is very common that when we go to counseling for help with grief and loss, we are first of all faced with ourselves; “I can’t cry”, “I can’t stop crying”, “I’m having panic attacks”.
Each of us will have had a unique upbringing with different messages through which we learned different ways to think, feel, or be in order to be loved, praised, accepted; “Chin up, men don’t cry, get on with it.”, “Don’t be so selfish, think how hard this is for …!”, “Are you still upset about that?”. With messages like these, is it any surprise that so many people find it hard to process loss.
Thinking back to all those times you heard similar messages, I wonder if you can remember what you would have liked to have heard, how you would have liked to be treated. Now with those new messages in mind, is there room for a little self-nurture today? Can you say those messages or ask to be treated differently while you embrace this difficult time?
When it comes to coping with grief, and the barrier to grief, there is no right way. There is no time limit. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel.