It would be impossible to estimate how much time and energy we invest in trying to heal, change, and deny our own feelings ~ especially those that hurt us at our core like hurt, envy, loneliness, shame, anger, and sadness. Let’s shake , Debbie FordA reader writes: My counselor came. we talked. I told her about my terrible feelings about other people who were sick and recovering. What a properly empathetic person should do instead of feeling good for them, saying I’m sorry they’re getting better. how terrible is that? My counselor said it was anger that my husband died and he didn’t. She said that she had asked me long ago if I felt angry over my husband’s death and I said no. I think she may be right. I’ve fought this because it seems such a terrible attitude.
I should be happy when people get well, but I’m not. I am disappointed. This sounds like the most horrible person I’ve ever met. I’m being really honest with you now and you’re free to think that I’m a totally horrible person. I was not like this before I lost my love. I hope this is a temporary situation because it seems that instead of making me a better, more understanding person, grief has turned me into an insensitive monster. Please don’t think of me as a horrible person, just temporarily be one maybe?
my reaction: Oh my dear, please rid yourself of the notion that you are somehow “terrible” for feeling angry or jealous or mad or anything else that you are feeling! That’s why I’m often saying, Judge yourself not by what you feel, but by how you act. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, good or bad ~ they just are. We simply can’t control what we feel ~ only what we do with what we’re feeling! If you’re letting yourself feel what you’re feeling, you’re really condemning yourself for not being human. None of us are perfect, and there isn’t a soul among us who hasn’t felt envy or jealousy or anger that someone else gets to live while our precious loved one had to die (or we got the flu and didn’t occur to them, or that we are living with chronic pain and others have no idea what it is like). It’s all part of that “life isn’t fair” feeling. Which affects all of us at one time or another.
I really appreciate how hard it must have been for me ~and yourself~ to reveal to you that you were feeling this way. It takes a lot of courage to accept the parts of ourselves that we are not proud of. But when you share these kinds of feelings with me and others who may read this, it only serves to endear you to us, because we can embrace and know your humanity. You are not like us.
what is more, We humans are capable of holding more than one emotion in our hearts at a time, You can be angry that someone was allowed to live while your loved one was not, and yet be happy for that person’s return to good health. This is when it is helpful to use the technique of splitting your ego: Tell yourself that a Part All of you feel angry about this injustice, but the rest of you are happy for the person who got to live. (Then you only have to think Part rather than yourself as imperfect All your.)
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