We normally associate grief with the death of a loved one, but there are many other types of loss that don’t involve death that can create similar feelings. Grief is a normal reaction to loss, but there are some things you can do to help yourself move through your feelings so that you can integrate your loss into your life.
The grief we feel when we suffer a loss that isn’t death related is no less powerful. We may still feel anger, regret and disillusionment. In fact, in some cases, it can be harder to grieve a non-death related loss as people may find it harder to understand how you are feeling. As people, we are more adept and accustomed to supporting someone who has lost a loved one, but in other cases of loss your friends and family may not know how to support you, and you may feel that your feelings are not valid.
Losing your job
Our jobs and our careers can form a significant part of our identity. This is why losing a job or ending your career can lead to you experiencing feelings of grief – it’s almost like part of you has died! Our sense of direction and purpose is often influenced by our careers so if that is taken away, you may start to question your sense of self. This may be particularly powerful if your job loss is unexpected, as you haven’t had time to prepare yourself for such a change.
However, this doesn’t mean that knowing you are going to lose your job in advance is any better, especially if you are approaching retirement as you still need time to adjust to the new normal and find ways to integrate your loss into your life.
Experiencing a loss of financial stability due to factors such as job loss, asset loss or a decline in investments can trigger a profound sense of grief. This is due to the significant impact it can have on one’s sense of self. The financial worries and loss of security that ensue can be overwhelming, and coupled with the loss of identity that often accompanies a job or career loss, the experience can be devastating.
Estrangement between friends or family can occur due to various reasons such as conflict, disruption, or geographical distance, leading to a breakdown in communication and loss of contact. The resulting emotional turmoil experienced by those affected can be akin to the loss of a loved one, as you grapple with feelings of loss, frustration, and anger.
Moreover, the experience of estrangement can be made worse by a lack of understanding from others who may not understand the grief you feel.
Illness or Injury
If you have suffered a life changing illness or injury, you may also experience feelings of grief. You may feel, lost, frustrated or angry because of what has happened to you. You will be grieving your former self, your former life and what you were capable of and you may find it difficult accepting the new you and adapting to your life going forward. It is important to remember that adjusting to any major change in our lives takes time and patience.
The end of any relationship is a significant event in our lives, and if your relationship was over a number of years, you will experience a sense of loss, as our relationships form an important part of our identity. You may be grieving the life you had, your familiar routines and your sense of self, and adjusting to this new landscape will take time.
If you are struggling with feelings of grief due to a significant change or loss in your life, talking to a professional can help you make sense of your emotions.
If you are looking for personalised, sensitive counselling in Harrogate or online, feel free to get in touch and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.