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Strategies for Grieving?

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nealos posted 10/3/2013 09:42 AM

I'm 18mo out from separating with my fiancee-- I'm 12mo out from last meaningful contact. I saw her jogging with her new boyfriend a couple of weeks ago, and it triggered the shit out me... I was/am an emotional wreck. At first it was fine (I was even proud of myself for not freaking out after having seen her) but then these emotions started seeping into my day-- in the shower, driving alone, walking to work-- pretty much anytime I had a chance to be by myself and think. I brought it to my therapist's attention and he pointed out that I had not done enough grieving. His philosophy on grief is that time heals nothing by itself-- only working towards acknowledging the loss and feeling the pain and sorrow around that loss is the way to detach from her.

So here I am. I need ideas on how to grieve. Can anyone suggest things they've done that worked for them? I'm open to ideas. I don't want this anymore.
Thanks.

chikastuff posted 10/3/2013 11:10 AM

Allowing myself to feel what I was feeling (with a therapy, lexapro and kolopin chaser) helped initially and then as time went on and I hit the anger phase exercise helped. But what helped the most was time and distance.

So sorry you're going through a rough spot.

yillk posted 10/3/2013 13:18 PM

I knew from the beginning that I was grieving the "What SHOULD have beens" and not so much reality. I let myself sit and mull over mental images of what I'd wanted for our future, my worst case scenarios of what the future could hold, and the likely scenarios that the future will hold.

Trying on the different futures allows me to test them out, see how they feel, and get used to some of the possibilities.

I'm still in the early stages - only a month out from DDay & divorce filing, and I grieved pretty hard in the first weeks. At this point, I'm feeling okay, which feels weird.

But I guess my main advice is to allow yourself to sit with the images that make you uncomfortable & bring you pain so that you can get those feelings out.

[This message edited by yillk at 1:19 PM, October 3rd (Thursday)]

Chrysalis123 posted 10/3/2013 13:42 PM

I went to a grief support group, and it was very helpful for me. I did this 4 years after divorce, because I felt stuck.

It did a lot for my recovery.

Ashland13 posted 10/3/2013 16:25 PM

Thank you for this thread, for it's a current struggle for me as well.

Something that was recommended as an anti-grief mechanism to me by a counselor is to count blessings in life that remain with us. During the darkness when the grief is heavier, its more difficult, but helps to feel like some of life is left.

We can then take those parts or pieces and do like the other post says about opening our minds to the future, in that objects or people remaining in our lives will have different roles or places, rather than spending too much time thinking about what has been lost.

I am going to lose my house. So one way I try to think when the grief comes, is of a piece of furniture or something that I will still be able to have wherever the new place will be and that it will be mine and safe.

SBB posted 10/3/2013 17:09 PM

What are you thinking about when the emotions start? Maybe start naming them, writing the thoughts down. I find getting them out releases them and they became less intense.

Is it her or you you're grieving?

I no longer grieve for him but I am still grieving for me.

Maybe you are too.

I surrendered a while ago - that was big for me. And hard. Very hard. I had fought the grief for so long because, frankly, I was pissed off about it.

Grief is a weird thing. I seemed to understand/accept it more when I was in the angry/freak-out phases. The weepy phases made/make me feel vulnerable and weak.

Truth is I felt stronger when the weepy phases passed without needing anger/rage to snap out of it. I let them pass. Wash over me. Make me clean.

If it is obsessive thinking you are plagued by then something that worked for me was to catch myself in those thoughts and visualise a stop sign - others use a rubber band around their wrist.

I used to have to do this every 5 mins, then a few times a day, then once a day. These days it is about once a month. I'm happy with that.

I replaced thoughts of the past with thoughts of my current and future. My girls, my friends, my family. Kind of like dragging myself back into the 'now'.

I agree that time heals nothing - it takes some of the sting out and the shock subsides but the healing is active, not passive.

ladies_first posted 10/3/2013 17:46 PM

Two things helped me:
1. Gratitude Journal. Every night write down 3 (or more) things that were good about your day. That way your focus is on what you do have, as opposed to what you are grieving.

2. Identify WHAT you are grieving. This may be a long list -- and honestly, a bit like fog-like and possibly dram/fantasy based.
*Marriage
*Family
*Unborn (future) children
*white picket fence
*holidays
*etc.
I found less and less was I grieving about him ... and more it was grief for fantasy future/happily ever after.

ladies_first posted 10/3/2013 17:46 PM

Two things helped me:
1. Gratitude Journal. Every night write down 3 (or more) things that were good about your day. That way your focus is on what you do have, as opposed to what you are grieving.

2. Identify WHAT you are grieving. This may be a long list -- and honestly, a bit like fog-like and possibly dream/fantasy based.
*Marriage
*Family
*Unborn (future) children
*white picket fence
*holidays
*etc.
I found less and less was I grieving about him ... and more it was grief for fantasy future/happily ever after.

ladies_first posted 10/3/2013 17:47 PM

Two things helped me:
1. Gratitude Journal. Every night write down 3 (or more) things that were good about your day. That way your focus is on what you do have, as opposed to what you are grieving.

2. Identify WHAT you are grieving. This may be a long list -- and honestly, a bit like fog-like and possibly dream/fantasy based.
*Marriage
*Family
*Unborn (future) children
*white picket fence
*holidays
*etc.
I found less and less was I grieving about him ... and more it was grief for fantasy future/happily ever after.

I found that it worked better if I did this two exercises separately (NOT both at bedtime!)

sunsetslost posted 10/3/2013 19:12 PM

Writing has helped me tremendously. Writing letters to her she will never see. Letters to her parents they will never see. Just writing out my feelings.

But what's helped me the most is focusing on myself and my future. I was so tangled up in 'us' that I lost 'me' somewhere. I've set goals, picked up hobbies, made new friends.

Gemini71 posted 10/3/2013 20:57 PM

Oh man, how to deal with grief.

I have found that I need to let myself have a 'difficult night' every once in awhile to get the emotions out. Finding a safe place and time to let the tears come can be difficult, and more often than not, they sneak up on me when I least expect it.

Let yourself react to the trigger of seeing your fiancee. Let the tears come when you're in the shower. Listen to angry heartbreak songs in the car. Write an angry letter and tear it to shreds.

Then move on...until the emotions build up again and need to be released. It's a process that needs to be repeated. Hopefully less and less often.

nomistakeaboutit posted 10/3/2013 21:30 PM

I found less and less was I grieving about him ... and more it was grief for fantasy future/happily ever after.

What helped me was realizing that the person I thought she was would never have hurt me (and our children) the way she did.

nealos posted 10/4/2013 09:15 AM

Thank you so much, everyone-- I feel lucky to have so many insightful people offer their experience. Some of you have an emotional intelligence I don't know I'll ever be able to match. It's really cool.

I implemented some of these strategies this morning-- shed some tears, of course :) But it felt good. Maybe it's just my attitude of knowing that this is necessary work for my happiness.. so in a way, just attempting to grieve and to spend time and effort on it helps me feel like I'm in control of my happiness. I don't know if that makes sense. But I feel like I'm doing something worthwhile, instead of just being dragged down in the darkness.

Some of you pointed to this-- it seems like a lot of what I really miss about her is more about how she made me feel. It's more about grieving what effect she had on me than what she actually was. I certainly miss her loving actions, but it's been a long long time since that's been feeding my heart... I suspect what I really miss now is how I used her to help me love myself (ie, "if people think she's beautiful, then they will think I'm pretty great for being with someone so beautiful.") It's so wrapped up in my family of origin shit, realizing this is like a "duh" moment. It seems very clear in retrospect, but I was using her measurables to convince me of my own self-worth.

Anyway I don't think what I just described accounts for everything I'm feeling, but I suspect that it's a large rock otherwise left unturned. So thank you everyone who helped me get there. A big part of my recovery is learning to love myself-- this helps tremendously.

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