A Grief Support Blog

This blog will allow you the opportunity to acquire both support and guidance after experiencing a significant loss.

Pay me now or pay me later. The high cost of unresolved Grief

You might recognize the title of this article from an advertising slogan for an automotive product several years ago. The idea was that if you spend a little bit of money on maintenance now, you might save a tremendous amount of money, replacing an entire engine, later. Let's take a look at how unresolved grief relates to this slogan.

Unresolved Grief

Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later makes a perfect parallel when related to grief. In the time immediately following a loss, we have a very direct pathway to many of the events and experiences within the relationship. Some of the memories are positive and wonderful, some are painful and negative. Death and divorce both tend to trigger memories about the emotional aspects of relationships that may never have been communicated about or completed. As time elapses those memories usually recede and are more difficult to access.

In the automotive product commercial it was the absence of an effective oil filter which led to a massive build up of "crud," which clogged and eventually destroyed the motor. Thus, buy an inexpensive filter now or buy a whole new engine later.

Incomplete relationships unresolved grief.jpg

Lack of knowledge is the problem

A lack of knowledge and accompanying inability to grieve and complete unfinished emotions leads to a build-up of emotional "crud" around the human heart. This almost automatically tends to cause us to limit or restrict the kind of interactions that require an open, loving heart.

The tragedy in this comparison is that while we can indeed replace an automotive engine, we cannot replace the emotional heart of a human being, nor can we replace the time and connections lost while our emotional filters have been clogged.

As if this were not trouble enough, a secondary build-up occurs, in which we develop a relationship to the limitations and an identity with the pain we perceive. As humans, we are very loyal to the things we believe. In adopting this identity to pain, we can become quite unwilling to recognize it, acknowledge it, or repair it. Most likely, we will defend it against all attempts to identify it and complete it. It becomes an accidental defense against the very thing we need to do to recapture our loving hearts

Unfortunately this combination of non-action coupled with the defense of identifying with the pain is supported by so many of the incorrect ideas we were all socialized to believe. In one of our original blogs entitled, Killer Clichés about Loss, we talked at length about false ideas like "time heals all wounds." If you are trapped in the belief that time will heal you, then you are further limited from taking actions to discover and complete the emotional pain in your heart. It often becomes a vicious circle, with the griever waiting to feel better so they can take some action. When that doesn't happen, they begin to believe there is something defective about them, and that they are doomed to a life of emotional pain.

unresolved grief fear thought feeling relationship.png

Time does not heal a broken heart. The essential key to recovery is action. Not the activities of "keeping busy," but the clearly defined actions of discovering and completing unfinished and uncommunicated emotions that clog our hearts. The actions of recovery are spelled out in The Grief Recovery Handbook, which is available in most libraries and through all on-site and online bookstores.

If there has been a significant time lag since your loss or losses occurred, do not feel discouraged. The Grief Recovery Method will still work. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to take effective actions now, not wait any longer.

If you found this article useful or helpful, we suggest you consider reading:

3 Reasons Why Grief is so Challenging

Time Heals All Wounds

Our grief blog is searchable for articles on a wide range of topics, or sign up to receive new blog articles as they are published:

 

Comments

After thanking me, a message stated that an email was sent out to me in regards to my request for the FREE e-Book,

The Grief Recovery Method Guide For Loss.

I never received such email. Can you please send me the download link? Or did you need more information from me? If so, please let me know. Thank you.

Hi, thanks for your words.....I lost my son Alan 5 years ago to cancer. He took it aged 18 and after nursing him for five years he died aged 23. I find after all this time that my grief is getting worse. There is nothing left for me....I have tried everything, counselling etc. but nothing helps. That is,,,until I read you article above. It said that ...we sometimes wait for the grief to end and then we will start our new life. That is what I have been doing....waiting until I get better,,,,but of course I wont...i see now I need to take action. Thanks, I will try that way now and see what happens,,,,as nothing else has worked for me.

Add new comment

For more information, please read our FREE e-book,
 
Copyrights © / Trademarks (TM). ©1993-2015 Grief Recovery Institute®, John W. James, and Russell P. Friedman. All Grief Recovery Institute® related copyrights/trademarks are owned by The Grief Recovery Institute, John W. James, and Russell P. Friedman including but not limited to: The Grief Recovery Institute®, The Grief Recovery Method®, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, Grief Recovery®, and AARAM Formula®. All rights reserved.