Consequence of Grief [3 of 4] Grief on our Relationships
In the last two videos and blog posts of this series, we have covered…
1 of 4: Consequences of Grief on the Brain: WATCH HERE
2 of 4: Consequences of Grief on the Body: WATCH HERE
In these videos, we covered the concept of “grief brain” and the biological effects that grief has on the body.
In today’s video and blog post, I talk about The Consequences of Grief on Our Relationships.
Social relationships greatly impact an individual's life experiences.
Upon the death of a loved one, individuals often make profound life adjustments, including changes in the way they relate to others.
When we lose a loved one, our perception of connectedness can go in two different directions.
We may become more withdrawn socially
We may become more socially dependant on others
During grief, it’s common to experience the feeling that no one understands them or their loss.
Furthemore, hypersensitivity to what you are missing in the wake of the loss may cause someone to isolate more in order to buffer those feelings of missing out on life.
Take the case of Molly as an example.
Molly’s father died when she was 19. Now, it’s time for Molly to graduate college and she is dreading the ceremony so much that she declines and just opts to get her diploma in the mail. Molly expresses that she doesn’t want to attend the ceremony or any graduation parties that she was invited to because its too painful to watch the other graduating students gathering with their moms and dads together, celebrating and taking photos. Molly tells her mom, “it’s not fair that my dad can’t see me graduate but all these other kids get to have their dad their. I want no part of it.”
Molly is isolating herself to protect herself from further pain secondary to the loss.
After a loss, life has lost its zest and we tend to go inward to reflect on the relationship and memories of our loved one.
This can be a lonely task at times because the relationship that we had with our loved one was such a personal one and again the lack of understanding from others causes us to retreat.
When it comes to intimate relationships, grief can take a toll because it is primarily an individual experience. Partners can try to understand someone else’s grief but they can never experience it or take on the burden themselves.
Partners may grow closer if grievers feel they need support from their partner.
However, partners may also grow apart if
the grieving individual retreats into his or herself
his or her partner loses patience with grief
or a combination of both.
Intimate relationships may also experience a slow period if the grieving individual does not feel like becoming physically close to their partner.
Finally, relationships may not experience any changes if grief is not intense, if it is fleeting or if partners are able to give and receive support in an open manner.
Make sure to check back in tomorrow for the last video in this series!
Love to you,
Janeen Mary Chasan LCAT ATR-BC
Licensed, Registered and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Filmmaker, Podcaster and Online Educator