Myths about grief: the usual pitfalls in managing the loss

Myths about grief: the usual pitfalls in managing the loss

There are as many bereavements as significant losses. Each person lives them in very different ways. However, as with many phenomena, some myths about bereavement are still present and should be clarified because they largely condition the emotions that accompany the loss.

Many of the beliefs we have learned throughout life have been built on myths that make us vulnerable.Being aware of the pain produced by the loss does not weaken us. It helps us, on the contrary, to consider this response, both human and adaptive, as natural.

Myths about bereavement

Losses and all that they entail are part of life.However, the grief that accompanies these losses is often misunderstood. It is therefore necessary to review these myths that continue to live in the collective unconscious:

  • You must be strong.Let's break down the idea that sadness is a feeling of the weak and the weak. In order not to project this image of fragility, we put masks precisely while we drown ourselves internally. We do it so well that the exercise of empathy becomes impossible; it is therefore much more complicated than someone helps us.
  • Mourning is like a depression.It is true that these two phenomena have common points, such as tears, deep sadness, apathy, detachment … But we must remember that grief is a normal reaction to a significant loss.

  • Mourning only happens when someone we love dies.No. Grief is a normal response to the experience of a loss of any type. A relationship, a pet, a state of health, an object are types of loss that can lead to a grieving process. They are unfortunately less recognized and less taken seriously.
  • Medications are needed to relieve the pain and anxiety associated with bereavement.Grief is not a disease that needs to be cured. The emotions felt are perfectly normal. Medications may be indicated in some cases but the usual symptoms require mostly patience and understanding.
  • The best is to avoid the subject.Friends often think that the best way to help us is to avoid talking about it and distracting ourselves. People who suffer from it usually want to talk about this loss. They need it.

More mistaken beliefs about bereavement

The ideas just mentioned are not the only ones that exist. Here are others:

  • If you do not cry, it means that you are not sad.Tears are not the only answer to a loss. They do not represent a necessary manifestation of sadness. People can feel deep pain and display it differently.
  • Grief is a linear process.It is true that many authors have described common phases in the process of mourning. But it is a process of personal development.
  • When death is natural, there is no mourning.The death of an older person is more predictable, yes. But that does not mean that the process of mourning will be less profound.
  • You must go forward.The more we adapt to the process of mourning, the more we will return to life. On the other hand, the relationship with the deceased person will always remain in our memory and in our heart.
  • The one who cries the most suffers more.Mourning can not be reduced to sadness and tears. This process also involves guilt, rage, fear, shame, etc. Moments of joy and peace can also appear from time to time.
  • Time heals everything.Mourning is an adaptive response that never really ends. We are learning to live with as time goes on. However, some emotions may resurface from the moment we remember our loss.

  • One nail drives out another.Phrases of the style "there are many fish in the sea" tell us that to overcome a loss, we must replace it. This is a big mistake. The replacement will never give us the relief we need.
  • It is better not to know the details of the event or to see the body of the deceased.Knowing the details of the loved one's death helps to accept the reality of the loss and to reduce the confusion or lack of information. Although it is true that in some very violent cases it is advisable to explain verbally and with great sensitivity what happened.
  • Believing that seeing the deceased person is a sign of madness or depression.At the beginning of the mourning, it is very common to see or feel the deceased person. It is important to pay attention to these signs that show an alteration in the mourning process and to seek medical attention when needed.
  • The more we appreciated the deceased, the more painful the grief.There are no rules that explain how the grieving process should unfold. It's an experience that depends on many factors, not just the love you feel.
  • The person who suffers from this loss must immediately resume his activities. The more busy she is, the better.No. It is best if the person has some time to think and feel their emotions. A very rapid return to daily activities could prevent the mourning process from being satisfactorily realized.
  • Children can not understand what death is or the process of mourning. It is better not to tell them anything and to protect them from this reality.Children are very good at capturing the emotional reactions of people. To think that they are not aware of anything is a huge mistake. It is important that they experience this grieving process at the same time as the rest of the family.

Breaking the myths about grief is very important to help people get through this so natural process.The path to healing the pain of loss involves moving toward that pain.To allow us to feel what we feel and to express it is the true essence of the mourning confrontation.

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