EEA Counselling


Three Common Misconceptions About Grief

As a grief counsellor in Havering, I have seen how people respond to the loss of a loved one in a variety of ways. Some people go numb, others grow angry or resentful, many experience depression, lethargy, and a lack of motivation. Sometimes we don’t know what to feel.

In other words, there is no ‘correct’ way to grieve. Working through a bereavement has to be done in one’s own way, in their own time. It is a delicate, nuanced phenomenon that many people misunderstand. However, when people come to me for counselling, they often beat themselves for not feeling how they are ‘supposed to feel’, while those trying to support them can often say the wrong thing, despite having only good intentions.

In this blog post, then, we will explore the three most common misconceptions people make about the grieving process.

Grief Is Not Linear 

When someone mentions ‘grief’, we tend to think of the ‘five stages’ model – the idea, coined back in 1969, that a grieving person will go through a specific series of steps: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. While this may be true in some cases, the truth is that grief is far more complex and random than this linear model.

People tend to assume that they must go through each of those four stages before reaching a place of acceptance – and always in that particular order, too. This is, of course, false. Many people don’t experience some of these aforementioned emotions, and some don’t experience any of them. Others feel them at different times - sometimes a long time after the fact. You might feel numb for a while, only to suddenly feel anger and resentment two or three years later.

We ‘Get Over’ Losing Someone

It is generally assumed that grief has an expiry date – that someone will, at some point, move on from losing someone or something that was close to them. However, time does not heal everything. If someone very close to you passed away – a best friend, child, parent, partner, etc. – it is possible that the grief you hold never fully goes away. Monumental moments such as these can change someone indefinitely.

People assume that grief slowly reduces in size over time. The truth is that the size of the grief stays the same, but that life eventually gets bigger around it.

Talking About Grief Makes It Worse 

Sometimes people who are grieving refuse to talk about their feelings, due to a fear of opening up old wounds and being ‘retraumatised’. In many cases, those who are grieving feel like they should keep these thoughts and feelings to themselves, but this only makes the situation worse. Not talking through your emotions means they inflate and warp inside your mind, leading to further mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Talking about grief is by no means easy, and you don’t have to do it immediately, but doing it in the company of an experienced professional can have a powerful unburdening effect.

If you are looking for a safe, confidential, peaceful space to explore your emotions following the loss of a loved one, I am here to provide personalised grief counselling in Havering and online. To arrange an initial appointment, please fill out the contact form or just give me a call at any time. 

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