It’s the coulda-shoulda-wouldas that get us. The unfulfilled dreams, hopes and expectations that haunt us. The things we wish we’d said, or wish we hadn’t. These are some of the ingredients that go into creating the world of hurt we associate with grief generally, and unresolved grief in particular.
These unsatisfied urges often appear after the death of a loved one (or even a less-than-loved one), but they can also surface over the loss of relationships with people who are still alive: the abusive or alcoholic or absent parent; the former spouse/partner; a boss who didn’t appreciate our worth. People disappoint us and exit our lives (or we extricate ourselves from theirs), and we carry on with all sorts of unfinished business, something we often refer to as “emotional baggage.”
This emotional baggage is what I now refer to as “unresolved grief.” And if we continue to not resolve it, it infects and potentially poisons all future relationships. Unresolved grief is at the core of much of our relationship dysfunction. Imagine what might happen if each and every one of us were to take the necessary steps that lead to resolving our grief!
It’s work, though, and requires radical truth-telling to oneself. As scary as that might sound, it beats continuing one’s life as the Walking Wounded. When we resolve our grief, we stop being the victim and we reclaim control of our emotional lives.
I was introduced to the Grief Recovery Method® almost a decade after my son’s suicide. I had already done a great deal of work on that particular loss, applying different tools and practices to my grief in an effort to make peace with this tragic chapter of my life. I would say I had relatively good success. I was “functioning” in the world.
But to be honest, my ability to trust and love was profoundly affected. At first, I blamed my son’s suicide, but if truth be told, I arrived at the doorstep of my son’s troubles already loaded up with a freight train of emotional baggage. Unresolved grief from previous losses and unfulfilled dreams, that I’d been pulling behind me for decades. I have finally found a way to dig myself out from under the weight of all that.
The Grief Recovery Method® (GRM) is an evidence-based method for resolving grief. In other words, the method has been tested under research conditions and it actually works. People who experience the GRM resolve their grief. The unfinished business is addressed, and grievers are able to welcome love, trust and joy back into their lives. Many had believed they would never truly be happy again.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about grief. The GRM starts there, and begins to replace old, dysfunctional beliefs about grief with new beliefs that are heart-opening and heart-healing. There are action steps that are part of the GRM, so it goes beyond therapy or attending grief support groups. Talking and sharing are, of course, part of the GRM, but it is the action steps that make the difference.
Grief is the natural and normal response to loss. We often associate the “death” of a loved (or less-than-loved) one with grief, but the truth is there are over 40 other types of loss! Here are just a few:
- a divorce or breakup
- death of a beloved pet
- a miscarriage or infertility
- surviving a violent act (loss of a sense of safety is part of what’s grieved)
- losing a job or changing career
- loss of one’s health or physical ability or mental ability
- moving to a new neighborhood/town/country
- graduating from high school or college (often viewed as a positive event, but leaving one’s friends, familiar surroundings and routine can also involve a sense of loss)
- getting married or having a baby (again, also viewed as positive, but a former life is left behind)
If you are wrestling with unresolved grief, visit my Grief Counseling page. It makes no difference how long ago the loss occurred, although people typically contact me because they’ve recently experienced a loss. Consider this, however: many of the losses (a.k.a. “wounds”) we suffered early in life are the ones that are really keeping us from leading our best lives because the unresolved grief is living deep within us.
I am a Certified Grief Specialist. I have used the GRM to resolve my own personal grief, so I’m not only trained to guide others through the GRM, but I’ve experienced the benefits firsthand. Whatever loss you choose to work on (and we can consider this question together if you’re not sure), it would be my honor to guide you through the Grief Recovery Method® to a life that banishes unresolved grief once and for all.