Losing a loved one is never easy, and the sorrow of it is so strong that it has a special name: grief. Grief can be felt so deeply that it affects all parts of your life, from your daily routines to your sense of society. This latter effect can be particularly harmful if it negatively impacts your support network, which you may depend on now more than ever. Thus, it is important to understand how grief can affect your relationships.
Grief Affects Everyone Differently
It is important to understand that everyone copes with grief in their own way. No one has exactly the same relationships, beliefs, and mindset, all of which lead to our unique reactions to grief.
Some individuals may withdraw from everyone close to them and or bury themselves in work in an attempt to distract themselves. Others may feel the need to connect and pull closer to their loved ones.
These differences in behavior can often cause conflict when people may expect others to grieve in the same way they do—when a grieving individual expects others to be there or when others feel that they should react differently to the grief. The fact is that this can result in loved ones pulling away in confusion as they try to understand what you are going through.
Grief Can Change Our Relationships
Grief can permanently change relationships with family and friends. Sometimes this can be positive as these people rally in order to support you. However, it is often not so positive.
Even though sadness may be the most prominent feeling to accompany grief, anger, guilt, and denial often play a large role as well. These feelings can easily lead to changes in existing relationships and bring existing issues to the surface. As you cope with grief, your feelings and perceptions will change, and you may find yourself unwilling to fill the same role in your relationships, such as being the “problem-solver” everyone can lean on.
This can put a strain on your loved ones as they are uncertain how to respond to these changes; however, be upfront and clear about what you are feeling and what you need. It may be upsetting to see your relationships change, but it is important to remember that this is natural for you and them. This can be difficult, but you can make it through.
Grief can be extremely difficult to cope with, but it is not the end. Remember not to feel discouraged when it seems like loved ones are being unsupportive. Never take their actions personally, and remember that they are only doing the best with what they know. Also, even though it may seem odd, it is often best to seek support from sources other than your family and friends. Communicating with those outside of your immediate social groups can be healthier and reduce the strain on your relationships. There are many such groups online that offer help for you and others to get through grief together.
Interested in our social skills group? Contact us today!