Psych Central

Grief and Loss Articles

Why Are We Drawn to Sad Movies?

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Why Are We Drawn to Sad Movies?“The best movies transport us beyond time. We hitch a ride on the emotional roller coaster of the main character’s quest.” – Cathie Glenn Sturdevant

Conjure up any heartbreaking film: Chances are, I’ll most likely be interested in it.

Deconstructing the Fear of Rejection: What Are We Really Afraid Of?

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Deconstructing the Fear of Rejection: What Are We Really Afraid Of?The fear of rejection is one of our deepest human fears. Biologically wired with a longing to belong, we fear being seen in a critical way. We’re anxious about the prospect of being cut off, demeaned, or isolated. We fear being alone. We dread change.

The depth and flavor of fear varies for each individual, although there are common elements at play. If we’re willing to look, what is our actual felt experience of rejection? What are we really afraid of?

The Mother Who Never Was

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

The Mother Who Never WasI don’t write about my mother often. Of all my dysfunctional childhood relationships, my experience with my mother is the most painful.

I believe that small children have a disproportionate need for the feminine nurturing energy. When it’s not available, I think the pain runs deeper.

I am not suggesting that fathers are not needed. They are desperately needed. And their interactions with their children are critical to shaping that child’s future belief systems and relationships.

But for me, the lack of nurturing maternal energy seemed to leave a deeper mark.

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery Journey

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery JourneyI have read countless books on self-actualization, self-realization and spiritual awareness. I have done hundreds of hours of yoga, pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation. I have worked with therapists, energy workers, acupuncturists and a million body workers. All of this has been helpful, even critical, to my recovery.

One of the primary spiritual premises I have heard is that the universe will give me exactly what I need. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

In my early years of recovery, I thought that had something to do with the physical world. Of course, as a trauma survivor, it was pretty hard to believe. Actually, I didn’t believe it. Or at least, I didn’t believe it applied to me.

How Grief Connects Us — Even in the U.S. Senate

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

griefI read with great interest that Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe has warmed up to his Democratic colleagues. What precipitated this unlikely melting of partisan boundaries was an outpouring of support after his son’s fatal plane crash on Nov. 10.

As the conservative senator commented: “I seem to have gotten more — well at least as many, maybe more — communications from some of my Democrat friends. And I’m a pretty partisan Republican. And so something like this happens and all of a sudden the old barriers that were there — the old differences, those things that keep us apart — just disappear.”

7 Steps to Surviving Job Loss

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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Losing your job hurts.

Companies use fancy terms to describe it – downsizing, reorganization, consolidation, …

Navigating Relationships & Abandonment Fears: Losing Others, Losing Me

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Navigating Relationships & Abandonment Fears: Losing Others, Losing MeAs I have struggled through some very dark days of trauma recovery, I have come to understand some universal laws that have helped make sense of my chaotic life. The most basic law is that the inner child will recreate the challenges of the childhood until the challenges are resolved. To the inner child, the perception of resolution may be very different from the adult’s logical brain.

But I have learned that the resolution can come in many forms.

For a sexual violence survivor, this law holds no more true than when navigating adult intimate relationships. Sometimes, this law is referred to as “women will always marry their father.”

But it manifests in other ways too. It would be easy to address if it weren’t happening unconsciously. Unfortunately, we rarely know we are recreating our childhood. In the case of memory repression, it is worse because we don’t remember the events we are recreating. Sounds like a losing battle, doesn’t it?

Surviving a Friendship Break Up

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

best friends

Best friends are meant to be forever, right? Men come and go but our girlfriends …

Pregnancy Loss & Infertility’s Impact on Your Marriage

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Pregnancy Loss & Infertility's Impact on Your MarriageInfertility and pregnancy loss are dreaded experiences for any adult hoping to start or expand a family. The emotional consequences can be brutal. The pain seems like it will last forever.

But what often goes unrecognized is the toll that these experiences can take on one’s marriage.

In many instances, spouses grieve the loss differently, creating a sense of distance from one another. One spouse might want to talk openly about the loss, whereas the other spouse wants to avoid all reminders of it. One spouse might want to do something to commemorate the unborn child, while their partner just wants to move on.

Time Might Not Heal All Wounds

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Time Might Not Heal All WoundsIt’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.
~ Lena Horne

Think of a painful injury such as a wound — one that’s fresh and open, bleeding. You attempt to secure a bandage and some protection.

You move onward. As time goes by, the wound starts to heal, but you’re left with a scar — a physical reminder and mark of what occurred.

In similar fashion, that’s how I view certain emotional wounds. They’re scars that will always be a part of us, regardless of time and longevity. But that’s okay, because it’s all about how you choose to carry your load, your past.

What One Clinician Learned about Coping with Loss

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

What One Clinician Learned about Coping with LossClinical psychologist Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD, has experienced many losses in her life. When she was 10, her grandfather died. When she was 18, her 8-year-old sister died of cancer.

She experienced the hardest loss when her closest sister and brother-in-law died just two months apart. He died of skin cancer. She died after drinking and taking too many Tylenol.

Around that time Hibbert also lost her aunt to a rare brain disease. Her husband lost his grandmother, both grandfathers and his dad in the span of two years.

“[I]t has been a lot of death for my family. But loss is about so much more than death.”

Healthy Ways to Navigate Grief

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Healthy Ways to Navigate Grief“We don’t seem to know how to grieve, said Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in grief and loss.

In fact, that’s the number one question Hibbert gets: “How do I grieve?”

Many people use unhealthy ways to cope, such as ignoring their feelings, isolating themselves, setting a time limit or pretending their way through the grieving process, she said.

But when you’re in it, in the thick of the pain, confusion and chaos, it’s hard to pick anything healthy. Instead you pick whatever you know, whatever is nearby or whatever is easiest.

Navigating grief takes work. And it may mean doing things you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with, such as actually feeling your feelings. But it’s worth it.

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