The person inside

After loss our ability to share how we feel is not as easy as it used to be.

Sharing our truth after a loss becomes an internal experience.

You are not aware of this at first, because you do still externalize the loss to those around you as you are in a mourning period.

But what is taking place is a new type of withholding.

You start to withhold some of your emotions.

The separation between your old life, the friends, everything you had begins with this partial withholding of how distraught you feel.

You cry. You share. You tell them how horrible this feels but yet you know they don’t really understand the magnitude of your pain.

You start to keep things to yourself more and more after loss.

Ultimately within the first 3 months when people ask you the very important question

“How are you doing?” you respond with “I am doing ok I suppose” or “I am hanging in there.”

And that is when the biggest emotional separation sets in.

When everything is different inside of you but everything looks the same on the outside.

You walk around holding onto two worlds, two different emotional states, two different facial expressions.

The months go by and you start to get used to operating with this duality.

You have one person inside of you and another person on the outside.

You learn how to process really difficult experiences on your own.

You learn to rely on yourself more and more.

You learn how not to share and get away with it.

You learn the ultimate alone life experience.

Where you are surrounded by people who only know the you they see and not the you that was created after loss.

Last weekend I had two of my very good friends fly all the way to San Francisco from Boulder Colorado and New York to surprise me.

We had an amazing 24 hours together and for the first time in many years I shared an experience I have held internally within my own emotional processing system.

I just blurted it out. You can imagine how surprised I was.

I was completely taken aback by this as I am the ultimate dual emotional experiencer.

Over the years I learned how to cope on my own.

And I became too good at it.

As I think about the last weekend I realize that maybe after a whole decade of processing on my own maybe finally my two selves that operated throughout all these years are trying to integrate into one.

Maybe I no longer need to process the big scary things on my own.

But letting go of all the mechanisms that we created to survive after loss is not as simple as it may sound.

All the different pieces of us are trying to come back to life at different times and at a different pace.

Some never make it back.

And some make it back many years later in the midst of living life again.  

As we go forward slowly and very carefully we need to find a way towards moments of vulnerability where once again we come to a single emotional experience and are able to rely on others when we are going through something difficult.

Even though I am so proud of us for being able to process so much internally and survive the losses we have experienced I would rather we found our way back to sharing our most difficult and scary moments with a friend.

A very deep healing can take place when we share with others, the type we cannot give to ourselves. (Click to Tweet!)

With sharing,

Christina

Comments

  1. So so true! This is why I love getting together with my “Merry Widows” , our old grief group. We named ourselves that ;). We can be real. We know the inside us. And it feels good to talk without restraints.
    But till then. The inside me holds it in. Not much. But enough to be socially acceptable.
    😌

  2. I’ve lost the ones I was once able to do this with. 19 months after losing the love of my life, and the rest of the life I knew I’m completely and utterly alone. I function to the degree I must to care for my 9 year old but I’m a desert on the inside. I feel no feelings but sadness and anger. I miss my old life. I just wish I could find a way out of the desert. I wish I had one of my old friends to listen. But I have nothing to give in return.

  3. “some make it back many years later in the midst of living life again.”
    As always, thank you for your gift of heart felt words, and in this post, thank you for illuminating to us, that though this is a rest-of-life process, it is also a rest-of-life process of growing into our true selves.
    – with continued gratitude

  4. Really I think they reason I internalize so much is because I lost the person that I would share all these feeling with. No one in my life, not that there is many, can understand what Im feeling or at least the magnitude of it. I dont have friends anymore that I feel like I can count on, and same with family. The couple of family members I do have I dont want pity from and I dont want to bother them with things they all feel I should be moved on from.

  5. Oh how true this is. My husband died by suicide in 2015 and I often wonder now if there is anyone who really even knows me anymore. I have changed so deeply, so irrevocably. I keep so much to myself because it is so awkward to tell people how you really are feeling when they say, “How are you?” Through my writing on my blog I have found healing and have been able to let out my true emotions to the world, and to myself. Thank you for sharing this post. I needed it today. In light-Nik Tebbe

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Christina Rasmussen

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