Thursday, April 9, 2015
A to Z Challenge: Grief
Yesterday, I'd mentioned that my natural go to when someone hurts me is anger. This isn't always a bad thing. It means that I very rarely go through life feeling like I'm being bullied. If someone tries it, my temper goes and I cut the bully tactic off beneath the knees.
The thing is, sometimes, ending something (even if I come out winning in some way) doesn't make the anger leave. It festers inside me, and then when something else happens to make me even angrier, the festering gets a little bit worse.
Last year, this happened so many times that my anger took on physical manifestations like nausea, migraines and such. This got me thinking about it a lot, and I realized that I unconsciously use my anger as a shield. If my anger engages first, I often don't feel the emotional impact of what has happened to me.
That does not, however, mean that there's no emotional impact. In fact, I think the opposite is true. I think the emotions and hurt I might not be consciously feeling, is the thing that makes my anger become this consuming poison that ends up controlling my life much more than I should.
I think about it this way. If my anger is a shield that comes up at the first sign of damage (because I'd be a very angry person to keep the shield up all the time), it probably won't go away until I've actually handled to pain it knows is there. The pain that'll keep eating away at me even while I don't really realize how bad it is.
And then it literally makes me sick.
So getting rid of this manifestation required a two pronged approach. I needed to forgive so the anger could go away. And I needed to get rid of the pain inside me so that the anger wouldn't come back.
There's only one way to get rid of the pain itself. Grieving.
In other words, actually feeling the emotions I'm going through and admitting that people who didn't deserve any involvement in my life had a huge impact on it. To actually sit down in a little heap and cry instead of holding a grudge.
I'm lucky (and grateful) that I already had tools and knowledge at my disposal that helped me to do this. (Long story as to how I got there, so I won't go into it.) But, I realize that sometimes, the weight of our grief becomes so heavy that we can't always deal on our own. That's when we need help, not so much to grieve, but to get through the process.
Because grieving shouldn't be indefinite either.
It's not pleasant, but it's necessary. The point is to one day come to a place where you can think about what had happened without anger and without bitterness, but while wanting to move on.
Thankfully, I can say I'm at this stage now, and even when I speak of how I've been hurt, mostly I'm okay. In fact, I'm able to go back to the year I'd been grieving so that I can pick over the remains and see what I've learned. This is what I'm doing now.
I'll keep those lessons moving forward. But once I'm done with this Challenge, I'm tossing 2014 away and moving on.
How do you move on? Do you move on?