Healthy Grief, Unhealthy Grief
by: Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
We all know that it is in ones highest good to grieve
the loss of a relationship. Healthy grief releases feelings
rather than allowing them to get stuck in the body. Healthy
grief allows the griever to heal the loss and move on
Yet grief is not always healing. Many of us have known
people who were stuck in their grief, seemingly locked
into the past and unable to move forward in their lives.
What is the difference between those who feel their grief
and move on and those who get stuck in it? The difference
lies in what they believe they have lost. When people
believe they have lost their source of love, their grief
will feel unending.
Gary had been in a three-year relationship with Samantha
when Samantha decided to end the relationship. Gary was
devastated. In this relationship, like in his past relationships,
Gary was a taker always trying to get love but
unable to give love or share love. Samantha gave him a
lot of love, but she often felt very lonely with him.
Gary was devastated when she left because his source of
love was gone. He was not grieving the loss of Samantha
as a person he loved. He was grieving the loss of her
love for him. He was grieving as a lost wounded child
rather than as a loving adult.
As a result, Gary became stuck in his grief. He was stuck
in feeling like a victim stuck in poor me.
Gary had never done the inner work to develop an adult
part of himself that could bring love to himself and share
it with others. He felt lost, abandoned, and hurt. No
matter how much he cried, no healing occurred. Because
he was abandoning himself, he just continued to feel alone
and despairing. Sometimes he was angry at Samantha for
abandoning him and other times he was angry at himself
for not being a better partner. He had many regrets that
plagued him, and a constant inner refrain was, If
only I had
If only I had listened
to her more, maybe she wouldnt have left.
If only I had told her how beautiful she is, maybe she
wouldnt have left.
Frank, on the other hand, was in deep grief over the death
of his beloved wife, Beth. He had loved Beth with his
whole heart and he missed her terribly. Yet Franks
grief was totally different than Garys grief. Frank
missed Beths laugh. He missed her joy, her caring
for people, her sense of wonder. He missed her as a person,
and he missed being able to share his love with her. Frank
had no regrets because he had not been a taker. He had
loved Beth totally and was deeply grateful for the time
he had with her. But Frank was actually fine. His grief
came in waves, and he cried when it came. Then it washed
through and he was fine again.
Frank was fine because Beth had not been the source of
his sense of self. Frank had a strong loving inner adult
who was connected with a spiritual source of love and
wisdom. This was his Source, not Beth. Frank was a person
who took full responsibility for his own pain and joy.
He had never made Beth responsible for his feelings or
Because he had never abandoned himself, he could miss
Beth and grieve for her without feeling abandoned, lost,
victimized and alone.
Gary, on the other hand, was not fine, no matter how much
sadness he released, because Samantha had been his Source
of love, his Higher Power. He had handed to her the job
of defining his sense of self, so when she left, all he
could feel was abandoned. Gary had handed his Inner Child
his feeling self to Samantha. He had made
Samantha responsible for his feelings, so when she left,
he felt like an abandoned child. His Source of love had
Because Frank knew how to love himself, he knew how to
love others. Within a couple of years, Frank was in another
Gary found another relationship within six months of losing
Samantha, and six months after that was again alone. Until
Gary decides to learn to take responsibility for his own
feelings and needs, he will likely continue to lose relationship
after relationship, and continue to be stuck in feeling
like a victim of the women in his life.
About The Author
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author
of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me
To Be Loved By You?" and Healing Your Aloneness.
She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing
process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for
a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com
or email her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone