Relationship Loss
Introduction
Relationship losses include (amongst many possibilities) the experiences of the death of a loved one, divorce, separation, the end of a relationship, abandonment, rejection, abuse within what was a trusting relationship, moving geographically from parents and friends. Any change in a relationship as we once knew it perceived it to be or experienced it constitutes a relationship loss.

Loss is something you feel when you become separated from someone or something you care a lot about. You may also experience loss as part of a change in your life – even a change you have initiated and are looking forward to. Change means a loss of what has been familiar, comfortable and safe as you move on into new and unfamiliar experience and places and meet new friends. Perhaps one of your friends has moved away or a relationship you valued has ended, or perhaps your parents have split up. Perhaps your family has moved to a new neighbourhood, you’ve changed schools, started college or university or have a new job. Perhaps someone close to you has died or perhaps you’ve lost something important to you. Eventually life continues with new friends in new surrounding and you adjust to the changes you experience as a result of a loss you have had or a choice you have made. Ending is the price you pay for beginning.

Grieving Process Factors and reactions
Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for caring about someone, something or someplace. It is like a time bomb ticking underground. When it does explode, it can do a great deal of damage. The pain may be so powerful that you can’t believe any one on earth could possibly understand it. When people ask, “Where does it hurt?” you want to shout “EVERYWHERE!”

Your relationship with the person you have lost or the importance to you of the thing or place you have lost.

  • Your Coping Strategies: How you have handled emotional distress in the past.
  • Your Supports: Whether you have friends or family with whom you can openly share your anguish, who won’t tell you how to feel, and who won’t say that everything’s okay when it isn’t.
  • Circumstances Surrounding the Loss: An accident, a death after a lingering illness, a change you’ve chosen and wanted to make, the end of a friendship or relationship, moving house, going to university, starting a new job – each produces a different grief reaction.
  • Your age, religious beliefs, and sex can also influence the way you cope: Boys tend not to have the same acceptance of their feelings and need to express these, as girls do.
  • Feelings: The intense feelings of grief are scary. Yet they are real. Though people experience loss in different ways, there are some common landmarks along the journey of grief.
  • Dazed: Is this really happening? You’re not ready for this. You feel no pain, no anger, nothing. You stop listening, stop hearing, and feel like you have stopped breathing.
  • Disbelief: You pick up the telephone to call the friend who’s gone away, you say to yourself “I must tell dad about ……” You talk about the person you’ve lost in the present tense as if he/she was still around.
  • Anger: As awareness of the truth sets in, you may feel cheated, abandoned. “Why me?”
  • Envy: When you see a couple or two friends or a family having fun together, you may think: “Why do they get to be so happy?” Other kids may have families and friendships that are still intact.
  • Panic: Your life is one big uncertainty. Too much that you have counted on is slipping away. You may wonder: Will you ever be normal again?
  • Relief: One kind of feeling that may surprise you is relief. Perhaps the person who is no longer around depended upon you so much that you’re relieved to know that your responsibility is over.
  • Loneliness: No one understands exactly how you feel. Your friends are busy with their own lives.
  • Coping with loss
    An old Chinese proverb reads, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. The first step in coping with your grief is to accept your loss. Of course you know in your mind that your parents have separated, or that a relationship that was important to you is over, or that you’ve started at university, leaving home and friends behind. You say it out loud. Your ears listen to the words. Yet you still may not believe it. You may fantasise that everything is the same as it always has been.
  • Take Care of Yourself: You may have been involved in athletics and were physically active. Now you get tired just walking down the school corridors. You are exhausted, wiped out. You may not care whether you eat or not.
  • Talk About It: In times of difficulty, silence is not golden. You do not lighten your emotional burdens by keeping them bottled up inside. Your angers, frustrations, and disappointments will fester like a sore within you. Talking gets it off your chest.
  • Crying: You may have heard someone say: “I was so moved that I broke down and cried”. Think about it. Silly, isn’t it? Cars break down. People weep in order to express wordless messages of pain. You might cry at unlikely moments in improbable places
  • Writing: You may release your feelings by writing down your thoughts. A journal or srapbook could be your safe place to get in touch with your deepest emotions. Journals are called “paper psychiatrists”. All you need is paper and pen.
  • Reaching Out:It may be different now when you’re with old friends. No one knows quite what to say. Do you still belong? Just when you’re going through an agonising loss and need your friends, you may become afraid of losing them, too.
  • Growing through loss: Now that you’ve encountered loss, you may see life differently. You may be looking more deeply into your own beliefs and values. What had been significant may now appear trivial.
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