06 Apr 2018

What Not to Do When Helping a Grieving Loved One

Holding handWhat do you say to someone who has suffered tremendous loss? This is a difficult support to give to a family member or friend. Grief comes from many types of losses, not just death. Divorce, the demise of a pet, job loss, or even breakups can result in profound sorrow.

Here are some of the problematic ways people have tried to help a grieving loved one.

Tough love

Eager to see friends get back on their feet, people exert significant pressure to make the grieving do something they’re not ready to do just yet. These include getting back to work, hitting the gym, or quitting negativity. The pace in which people go through the stages of grief varies significantly.

Tough love rattles them out of their own comfortable pace and makes them feel even weaker. Let the grieving cry if they have to.

Unsolicited advice

Saying it once is okay but expecting grieving loved ones to follow your advice creates nagging pressure, which may not be helpful. Even those who are going through tough times and whose judgment may appear clouded deserve to have their choices respected.

The reason pets can give excellent support during these troubled times is that they provide so much love without asking for too much in return. Pets make no imposition.

Setting a timeline for recovery

Have you ever had the urge to ask a friend why she isn’t over her heartbreak yet? Even experts agree people recover differently in terms of method and timing. Typically, grief has the following stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

There’s no telling how long a grieving loved one will linger in each of these stages. To learn more about how to recognize and handle these emotions, grief and bereavement programs here in Indiana can enlighten you and provide professional support.

Some losses change people significantly, and it is best to allow recovering loved ones to grow on their own. Accept that their lives and even your relationship will not be the same. But if you offer love, space and an ear that listens without judgment, there’s a good chance hope and joy will triumph over grief.

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