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As I read in these forums, read books, talk with friends, and listen to my therapist, I hear two opposing views on how to process emotions while grieving. I may be misunderstanding so correct me if I’m wrong. The thoughts are:

 

1. There is no timeline on grieving. You have to feel and process all of the emotions to truly heal. Avoiding or pushing them aside will only cause them to resurface in other areas.

 

2. Change your thoughts, change your feelings. Don’t allow yourself to wallow. Get back out there. Limit your grieving. Happiness is a choice.

 

Which of these are correct? I understand some value in both and I see different people using either. I tend to lean towards 1. as it’s not healthy to repress emotions.

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What kind of grieving are we talking about? Because there are totally different types of grief associated with different losses. Loss of a child, loss of an elderly relative. I'm guessing we're talking about a breakup here. I'd probably recommend going to get some counseling to help you process your loss. On one hand, there is no timeline, but on the other hand, it's kind of a waste of time to grieve 6 months for a relationship that lasted 2 months, know what I mean? On the other hand, some people just get back out there the next day, to me, that doesn't seem healthy either. There's a middle ground somewhere.

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They are both correct.

 

What works for you personally really depends on your individual personality and how you process things. If you are leaning toward 1, then that's probably the better path for you.

 

Ultimately, after some time has passed, you do need to evaluate if what you are doing is working or not. If it's working inthat you feel like you are moving forward and slowly feeling better, then carry on. If you feel like you are treading water getting nowhere at all, then change your approach and what you are doing. Basically it's ye olde training principle that we use in sports all the time, if what you are doing isn't working, change it.

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Specifically breakup. I’m seeing a counselor but even among counselors it seems to vary. If it takes 6 months to grieve a 2 month relationship, id say it’s possible that the person is grieving other unknown issues, as well. So in that case it might make sense to fully grieve it, even though it might not make sense.

 

I guess it would be like if you stayed up until 1am but slept until 3pm the next day. It doesn’t make sense unless you’ve also missed several nights of sleep previously.

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Specifically breakup. I’m seeing a counselor but even among counselors it seems to vary. If it takes 6 months to grieve a 2 month relationship, id say it’s possible that the person is grieving other unknown issues, as well. So in that case it might make sense to fully grieve it, even though it might not make sense.

 

I guess it would be like if you stayed up until 1am but slept until 3pm the next day. It doesn’t make sense unless you’ve also missed several nights of sleep previously.

 

I'd agree with you, I gave the example of grieving 6 months over a 2 month relationship because I've done exactly that. And like you said, there were other issues going on as well. But it's definitely a signal that I needed more help.

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I really think it's whatever works for the individual. As you mentioned, it's not healthy to suppress emotions. You need to go through the entire grieving process. However, we're all built differently and the process can hit us in different ways. If those ways start becoming a danger to our mind and body...our life for an extended period of time, then it's wise to get help. Some of self-help techniques are what you mentioned. It's giving our brain the little extra push we need to get back on track. Not everyone needs to be told to limit grieving or change their thought process because they do it naturally. They're just better at cooping than people like me for example.

 

Chances are if your'e on the forums, you're probably having a hard time coping. So, my suggestion is grieve as much as you'd like but if it's starts crippling any other aspect of your life, then try some of those techniques or get professional help.

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It's not that people are necessarily suppressing emotions, it's that people process them in different ways. A person who chooses to go out and dance is processing just as much as a person who is sitting home crying and eating ice cream. They are just choosing different ways that are more aligned with their core personality. You have to do what works for you personally rather than judging what's right and wrong. There is no right or wrong when it comes to how you process grief, only what works for you personally.

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I agree with all of this. From personal experience, I suppressed emotions decades ago and I felt that it left me feeling numb but full of anxiety for years. This current breakup has shattered any frozen grief and it’s become debilitating at times. I’m a bit scared to start talking myself out of grieving but I’m also getting sick of the pain. It’s also hard to tell if I’m grieving multiple losses or if this loss really hurts this bad. It does feel like a major, major loss that will be very difficult to replace. At some point it’s time to move on. I just don’t want to screw it up this time around.

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As I read in these forums, read books, talk with friends, and listen to my therapist, I hear two opposing views on how to process emotions while grieving. I may be misunderstanding so correct me if I’m wrong. The thoughts are:

 

1. There is no timeline on grieving. You have to feel and process all of the emotions to truly heal. Avoiding or pushing them aside will only cause them to resurface in other areas.

 

2. Change your thoughts, change your feelings. Don’t allow yourself to wallow. Get back out there. Limit your grieving. Happiness is a choice.

 

Which of these are correct? I understand some value in both and I see different people using either. I tend to lean towards 1. as it’s not healthy to repress emotions.

 

It’s whatever works for you... for me it was both. I took time to grieve my last relationship (took 2 years before I really felt happier) but also lived my and didn’t wallow in self pity. It’s about honouring our feelings while moving forward at the same time.

 

BTW I think the ‘Happiness is a choice’ saying is nonsense. We can’t just choose to be happy without experiencing all of the other emotions and feelings in life. What we can choose is to do things that align with our values and passions and to be of service to others, which will ultimately bring us happiness and joy if we are consistent.

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Keep in mind that each loss is going to affect you differently. Some are easy to get past, some really do take time. Even if you are worried about screwing up again, it takes time to be able to sort out what was your fault, what was her fault and what was just the wrong combination. You have to get enough distance to judge objectively and so take away the correct lessons from it. Ultimately some relationships may take a week to get past and some may take a year or more to finally heal and start moving on from.

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I’m 4 months out of a 2 year and still feel horrible all the time. It’s not that I’m crying daily but I feel the sadness that we will never be together again. I feel that she affected me in ways that no other girl has. Knowing how hard it will be in my 40s to find that again. Lots of external factors. Maybe feeling and honoring all of the emotions really is the right way. I just don’t want to slip into despair

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I’m 4 months out of a 2 year and still feel horrible all the time. It’s not that I’m crying daily but I feel the sadness that we will never be together again. I feel that she affected me in ways that no other girl has. Knowing how hard it will be in my 40s to find that again. Lots of external factors. Maybe feeling and honoring all of the emotions really is the right way. I just don’t want to slip into despair

 

Well 4 months out of 2 years is really not much. So your grief is actually normal. Expect that it will take pretty much a year to really feel ready to date again. Also, might be a good idea to stop telling yourself that you won't meet the right person because of age, etc. That's a lie you are telling yourself out of fear and it's not helpful. Plenty of people out there for you with her qualities and other qualities who will be a better fit for you. Clearly, she wasn't the one. Take the good that you got, leave the rest behind you and don't spin tales how you'll never.....because....well....there is ALWAYS someone else out there. Always.

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Well 4 months out of 2 years is really not much. So your grief is actually normal. Expect that it will take pretty much a year to really feel ready to date again. Also, might be a good idea to stop telling yourself that you won't meet the right person because of age, etc. That's a lie you are telling yourself out of fear and it's not helpful. Plenty of people out there for you with her qualities and other qualities who will be a better fit for you. Clearly, she wasn't the one. Take the good that you got, leave the rest behind you and don't spin tales how you'll never.....because....well....there is ALWAYS someone else out there. Always.

 

Now that's an example of the other style (change your thoughts) that I can get behind. For the record, I find value in both methods. I just find it interesting that there are both schools of thought and are often seen in the same thread.

 

And thanks, that actually makes me feel a little better. It feels like Ive been hurting forever.

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It’s whatever works for you... for me it was both. I took time to grieve my last relationship (took 2 years before I really felt happier) but also lived my and didn’t wallow in self pity. It’s about honouring our feelings while moving forward at the same time.

 

BTW I think the ‘Happiness is a choice’ saying is nonsense. We can’t just choose to be happy without experiencing all of the other emotions and feelings in life. What we can choose is to do things that align with our values and passions and to be of service to others, which will ultimately bring us happiness and joy if we are consistent.

 

I very VERY much agree with this!!

 

And for me it was a combo of both too.

 

Feel your pain, go through that process (as painful as it is), while at the same time do not wallow in it.

 

This may sound strange, but I almost look at the pain as a positive - at least I know I am capable of feeling (love and pain); when you've been on the other side of that (not being able to feel anything - i.e. shut down), you almost welcome the pain.

 

I embrace it, and let myself go through that process, again while at the same time, introspecting, learning, growing and living my life as best I can.

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Some great posts on this thread. Love this from DancingFool:

It's not that people are necessarily suppressing emotions, it's that people process them in different ways. A person who chooses to go out and dance is processing just as much as a person who is sitting home crying and eating ice cream. They are just choosing different ways that are more aligned with their core personality. You have to do what works for you personally rather than judging what's right and wrong. There is no right or wrong when it comes to how you process grief, only what works for you personally.

Whilst there are things that are universally accepted as being helpful or not helpful when it comes to grieving, it certainly is a personal journey.

 

You can't really say "If you do x,y,z then you'll be over it in 6.3 weeks....".....Sure if you do x,y,z that will HELP things, but there is no timeframe and the best thing one can do is come to accept that....

 

Accept that you have been hurt....you have been wounded, and it will take time to heal....The more you push against it, the worse it feels. Like a fly caught in a spiders web. The more you struggle the more wrapped up you get....

I’m a bit scared to start talking myself out of grieving but I’m also getting sick of the pain.

It is frustrating and exhausting. It takes so much energy every G damn day!

 

I'm 8 months out from DDay with 6 months of breadcrumbs and I cried hard just yesterday....and you know what? That's ok....I'm not crying all day every day like I was a couple of months ago so I guess I'm slowly getting there....So long as I'm going forward, no matter how slowly, I'm ok with it....

 

And 'talking yourself out of grieving'....Mm, best of luck with that....

 

I agree with the others about "Happiness is a choice".....I've had some say to me "You'll be over it when you decide to be over it".....

 

Tried it....Didn't work....

 

It can take time, but just do what you can every day to help. Physical stuff is ok. Diet, sleep, exercise etc etc....But this is a battle in your mind and I've found that meditation (and perhaps thought stopping) is the only real medicine for the mind....

 

It takes work and time but there is no pill for real heartbreak yet so the long road is the only path....

 

But it can be done, and you are not alone on this journey*

 

Carus*

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I'm not crying all day every day like I was a couple of months ago so I guess I'm slowly getting there....So long as I'm going forward, no matter how slowly, I'm ok with it....

 

what is the main reason for your grief at this point? Is it thinking you cant do better? The loss? Knowing you wont be with her again?

 

I agree with the others about "Happiness is a choice".....I've had some say to me "You'll be over it when you decide to be over it".....

 

I choose to be in situations that make me happy. Although I understand the logic that I should be able to be happy whether I am homeless or living in abundance. It's just not reality for me but its a goal

 

But this is a battle in your mind and I've found that meditation (and perhaps thought stopping) is the only real medicine for the mind....

 

Ive recently started using the Headspace app to learn to meditate. I think I can see some benefit of it. When I am truly in the moment, I am confronted with strange emotions. Its like ive written thes script for my normal waking life and my internal mind doesn't agree. It just plays along.

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As I read in these forums, read books, talk with friends, and listen to my therapist, I hear two opposing views on how to process emotions while grieving. I may be misunderstanding so correct me if I’m wrong. The thoughts are:

 

1. There is no timeline on grieving. You have to feel and process all of the emotions to truly heal. Avoiding or pushing them aside will only cause them to resurface in other areas.

 

2. Change your thoughts, change your feelings. Don’t allow yourself to wallow. Get back out there. Limit your grieving. Happiness is a choice.

 

Which of these are correct? I understand some value in both and I see different people using either. I tend to lean towards 1. as it’s not healthy to repress emotions.

 

I would say a happy medium. You want to take your time, but you don't want to wallow.

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I agree with all of this. From personal experience, I suppressed emotions decades ago and I felt that it left me feeling numb but full of anxiety for years. This current breakup has shattered any frozen grief and it’s become debilitating at times. I’m a bit scared to start talking myself out of grieving but I’m also getting sick of the pain. It’s also hard to tell if I’m grieving multiple losses or if this loss really hurts this bad. It does feel like a major, major loss that will be very difficult to replace. At some point it’s time to move on. I just don’t want to screw it up this time around.

 

If this is referencing a response I made to you a few days ago about the fact that you never truly healed from your marriage so now it's all hitting you, I truly believe that.

 

I used the statue reference - a broken relationship chips away at you. Some take the time to put themselves back together while other take their chipped selves into the next relationship and get chipped some more until there's nothing left.

 

It is necessary to enter relationships as whole as humanly possible.

 

If I leave a relationship with newfound abandonment issues and I jump into a relationship that new person is dealing with my baggage it's probably going to take its toll on the new relationship and when it ends I know have double the abandonment issues.

 

How you heal is relative to who you are as a person, there is no wrong way as long as you're healing and not crawling around looking for crumbs or allowing yourself to remain stagnant by wallowing or focusing on your ex.

 

Each relationship can help you learn who you are if you allow it to.

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If this is referencing a response I made to you a few days ago about the fact that you never truly healed from your marriage so now it's all hitting you, I truly believe that.

 

I see how it could appear that way but im referring to something much longer ago than my marriage. My marriage may have suffered from my not healing from the previous hurt but I dont think my marriage affected my last relationship other than some complications of being divorced with a child. The ending of my marriage was traumatic but I was not jaded by it. In fact, I was happy to have a second chance at love. The only downside was that I approached the next relationship with much vigor and excitement and likely oversold myself.

 

If I leave a relationship with newfound abandonment issues and I jump into a relationship that new person is dealing with my baggage it's probably going to take its toll on the new relationship and when it ends I know have double the abandonment issues.

 

This last relationship triggered abandonment issues like ive never had. I think it has more to do with the dynamic of the relationship; her withholding love, withholding approval, withholding praise, etc. I was constantly on edge for some reason. I never had the trusting feeling that I was enough for her. Ive never experienced a relationship like that and it just feels toxic looking back. I did have the trusting feeling with my ex wife, however. My ex wife was very straightforward, played no games, was fair, and gave me praise. We were not compatible in the end and I was able to cope with that. Splitting up the family was my only beef.

 

Now if you make the case that I picked the wrong girl because I was too eager after my marriage, I could definitely get behind that. I just dont think I was broken after my marriage.

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1. There is no timeline on grieving. You have to feel and process all of the emotions to truly heal. Avoiding or pushing them aside will only cause them to resurface in other areas.

 

2. Change your thoughts, change your feelings. Don’t allow yourself to wallow. Get back out there. Limit your grieving. Happiness is a choice.

 

Which of these are correct?

 

Who says it's an all-or-nothing deal? Wallowing is not healing, but that doesn't preclude anyone from having occasional bouts of the boo-hoos with a tissue box before focusing on the healthy stuff one wants to move forward to do.

 

It makes no sense to drill a deeper hole to climb out of. You can honor your emotions and feel them without repressing them but also without stagnating in a place that doesn't serve anyone.

 

Nobody heals in a vacuum. Behaviors drive emotions, not the other way around. Reaching beyond lousy feelings to behave in healthy ways that cultivate stronger bonds with the people in your life can keep you grounded and help you feel better and better.

 

Practice creating good memories for loved ones while you're not feeling up to full enjoyment yourself, and you will feel valued and appreciated in ways that sulking can't accomplish.

 

Head high, and find the right balance for you. You'll thank yourself later.

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what is the main reason for your grief at this point? Is it thinking you cant do better? The loss? Knowing you wont be with her again?

All three....Mainly the loss of everything....

 

And now the social isolation that I endure due to night work and people not understanding what I'm going through....

 

C*

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Who says it's an all-or-nothing deal? Wallowing is not healing, but that doesn't preclude anyone from having occasional bouts of the boo-hoos with a tissue box before focusing on the healthy stuff one wants to move forward to do
.

 

I am starting to understand this a little better after reading everyone's posts. I think part of the issue is when you cant see anything positive in the future, wallowing seems like the only option. Its like you need a glimmer of hope to use any of the cognitive changes. Or maybe the cognitive changes are needed first to see some results?

 

All three....Mainly the loss of everything....

 

And now the social isolation that I endure due to night work and people not understanding what I'm going through....

 

Im sorry man. I hope you can find some relief. Ive read that youre doing meditation. Is it helping? Does it help to KNOW that you will get over this, even if it took 10 years (as an extreme example)? Ive had that thought. No matter how bad it sucks and for how long, at least it will be over one day.

 

Thank you all for your suggestions!

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If this is referencing a response I made to you a few days ago about the fact that you never truly healed from your marriage so now it's all hitting you, I truly believe that.

 

I used the statue reference - a broken relationship chips away at you. Some take the time to put themselves back together while other take their chipped selves into the next relationship and get chipped some more until there's nothing left.

 

It is necessary to enter relationships as whole as humanly possible.

 

If I leave a relationship with newfound abandonment issues and I jump into a relationship that new person is dealing with my baggage it's probably going to take its toll on the new relationship and when it ends I know have double the abandonment issues.

 

How you heal is relative to who you are as a person, there is no wrong way as long as you're healing and not crawling around looking for crumbs or allowing yourself to remain stagnant by wallowing or focusing on your ex.

 

Each relationship can help you learn who you are if you allow it to.

 

I thought more about this and think there is something there. I struggled mightily with the loss of the family unit. Not so much the romantic loss of my ex wife. With the recent ex gf, I had very high standards for what I expected the blended family relationship to be. I had lots of insecurities about how my daughter would adjust to living part time in a house with a full time family (gf and her son). It made me hyper aware of any transgressions I perceived against my daughter. I don't know how normal this is but I suspect it's at least common to find difficulties blending families. Id say that had more of an effect than abandonment issues.

 

Thanks again for your thoughtful reply

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.

I am starting to understand this a little better after reading everyone's posts. I think part of the issue is when you cant see anything positive in the future, wallowing seems like the only option. Its like you need a glimmer of hope to use any of the cognitive changes. Or maybe the cognitive changes are needed first to see some results?

 

No, wallowing drills a deeper hole to climb out of. When you're low enough, you can either opt to do that drill, making healing an even tougher climb, or you can decide that you're already as low as you intend to go, so you'll make it your private goal to surprise everyone, including yourself, with your resilience and ability to bounce back and invest in your only path forward being UP.

 

It's a decision. It doesn't mean you can't allow for some crying times, it just means that you've committed to taking baby steps in the right direction. Then you'll be too busy working those steps to wallow in stagnation.

 

Most of us can identify things about our lives that we don't like. The solution is to come up with steps we can take to change those things--or at very least not sabotage ourselves by making the move through their eventual passage more difficult. When we can recognize that everything is temporary, we don't need to get bogged down trying to read tea leaves or a crystal ball about the future. We can trust that baby steps toward becoming the best people we can be will pay off at some point in some way, and our only job is to keep making the climb for higher ground to gain a better perspective.

 

When in hell, don't stop there. Push yourself forward to help make life a bit easier on the very next person you deal with--one person at a time. This will build you UP despite a need to fly on instruments for a while.

 

Most stuff doesn't happen TO us, we participate. Your degree of resilience is a decision.

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