People commonly feel a sense of loneliness when a friend or family member moves away or dies. You miss that person being a part of your daily life. You think of things you might wish to share with them, but they are no longer there. That loneliness and related feelings of isolation are normal. These two sensations are also normal and natural feelings associated with grief.
Grief can be a very lonely and isolating experience. No matter the loss that is causing your emotional pain, you are very much alone in how it impacts you. Even if others have experienced the same loss, or one that is very similar, how you feel is never the same as someone else.
Each of us experiences our grief differently. Since each and every relationship is unique, so too is how we feel related to each and every loss. The fact that most of us never learn this in our formative years can make our emotional pain even more difficult. When your friends and family don’t seem to feel or express their grief in a way similar to your own, you may find yourself questioning what is wrong with them. This is particularly common with couples who have lost a child. I cannot begin to count the times when I have had one parent tell me that they cannot understand why their spouse isn’t grieving the loss of that child as they are. The fact that they are grieving differently can leave each feeling very much alone in their pain.
Loneliness, Isolation and Grief are not just related to a death!
Since every major change in life can bring with it elements of grief, you may find yourself feeling lonely and isolated with other losses as well. A simple example of this can be found with moving. Whether you relocate across town or to an entirely new city, you may find yourself feeling lonely and isolated because your surroundings are unfamiliar. You are not only dealing with a new living environment, but also that sense of loss that comes from leaving old relationships behind. While you may be excited about this change, you may also be experiencing elements of grief. This is an example of what is sometimes called “disenfranchised grief,” in that others don’t see it as a grieving experience, and therefore discount its emotional impact.
The fact that others cannot understand the emotional impact of your feelings of loss, can naturally leave you feeling isolated. When they address your pain by giving you logical reasons why you should be happy, rather than sad, it tends to increase those feelings of loneliness and isolation. Grief is emotional, not logical or intellectual. No matter how sound their logic, it still does not alleviate the pain in your heart.
Some of the options for support may leave you with yet another sense of loss.
Just because these feelings are normal and natural doesn’t mean that you have to suffer through them alone. Many people will turn to a “loss specific” support group to help them deal with these feelings. Such grief support groups can offer a sense of “community,” assuming the facilitator doesn’t let them deteriorate into discussions of who is hurting the most, which can leave the others feeling even more lonely and isolated.
The other problem with such groups is that while you may share similar losses, at least by type, it’s often the only thing you have in common. Since each relationship is unique to each individual, your feelings associated with that loss are also unique. We have discussed this previously in an article concerning the loss of a spouse.
Still more frustrating and isolating are those situations when there is no group available for your particular loss category. There may be groups for people who have lost children or a spouse, but what if you lost a friend? There are rarely groups focused on this heading. That is also the case for those dealing with any type of disenfranchised grief.
Help really is available for everyone!
The grieving community is enormous! Chances are that whenever you are in a public place, you are surrounded by other “silent grievers,” like yourself, who feel lonely and isolated because they have no one to listen to the pain in their heart and offer direction. Their loss may not be remotely similar to yours, but that doesn’t mean that their emotional pain is just as intense.
The beauty of the Grief Recovery Method is that it was built on the concept that each person’s loss is uniquely their own. It’s not about comparing losses, but rather about taking action to move through and beyond the power of that emotional pain. While the tools that are used to take this action are universal to every loss, their application is individual to each and every situation.
How you put these tools to use for yourself depends on your personal needs and situation. You can join a Grief Recovery Method Support Group, which will not only help you work through these feelings, but also help break that sense of isolation by uniting you with others in a group that does not focus on who is hurting the most. These groups are based on the understanding that everyone is grieving at 100% for their loss and the focus is on taking individual recovery action. If you wish to move faster through this process, you can meet with a Grief Recovery Specialist on a one-to-one basis, or travel to where a Workshop is being offered. Yet another option is to purchase a copy of “The Grief Recovery Handbook,” and partner with a friend who is also grieving. Each of these different options will offer you the tools you need to take positive recovery action.
Please take a moment and look at the free e-book that is offered below, to learn more about the many losses you can address with The Grief Recovery Method Action Plan. There is no need to let that sense of loneliness and isolation control the rest of your life.
Pnoto Credit: 123RF Stock Photo ~ Davor Ratkovic