Have you ever seen Romeo and Juliet? Same heartbreak, same feelings, right?
I never liked the story. Research and life experience suggests there are definitely male and female models for grieving, (and besides, it was a ridiculous waste of life, right?).
You can probably guess how gender grieving models work even if you don’t know.
The Male Model for Grieving:
The male model for grieving tends to be less outwardly expressive. It’s quiet. Men tend to compartmentalize grief more. This model shows a disconnect from the source of grief, and an increased connection to other activities. Finding stuff to do – whether it’s fishing, watching TV, working or mowing the lawn.
The Female Model for Grieving:
The female model shows more of a connection to the thing they are grieving. Processing it. Talking about it. Crying about it. Talking about it some more.
I know, it’s a generalization. Everyone grieves uniquely, and most people flip flop between the models regardless of gender. Plenty of women grieve quietly and privately, and many guys are willing to cry and talk about their feelings. Strangely, both methods seem to work.
Experts say that the important thing is to feel the grief. Grief that is pushed down tends to stick around, causing unhelpful side effects.
Often in divorce or at the end of relationships, there’s bitterness and resentment that the other party doesn’t seem to be upset.
Are they really moving on that quickly?
They’re going to parties and even, jumping right into other relationships? How dare they!?
This can be part of the grief cycle too. Appearing to be over it and moved on doesn’t mean a person isn’t still grieving.
This is why we can’t honestly judge the grieving process that other people use. (Although hey, if someone is causing damage by numbing with alcohol, drugs, etc., there’s no harm in pointing them in the direction of getting help.)
Whatever way we process grief from relationship loss, the important thing is that we DO, right? Whether it’s a fishing trip, a chat with a friend or hiring a life coach. Singing songs behind the steering wheel (my favorite), or crying in bed.
Grief is an emotion, and eventually, it passes through if we let it.
Can your feelings kill you? Of course, the answer is no. There are safe, effective ways to let grief come through like a storm.
Welcome grief as an unexpected guest and let it rain. (Note I said ‘guest’ and not permanent lodger!) Make room for it on the couch next to you. Say, hey grief, I heard you were coming. Go ahead and sit down. I’ve got some tissues and a cup of tea for us. Lets talk.
Or find someone to help you hold the umbrella.