Do’s and Don’ts When A Loved One Suffers from Grief
Emotions can get the best of us. Grief is a devastating experience whether it’s because of loss due to death or grief over the loss of dreams because of SUD. It’s something that we don’t want our loved ones to suffer from.
Grief is inevitable and it’s never the same for everybody. But when a loved one suffers grief, it’s almost the same as us personally suffering and feeling it. It just hurts to see them suffer.
There are many things that we might do or not that can hurt them all the more. So, it is important that you know what to do and not do when a loved one suffers from grief.
Here are a few of those.
Do validate their feelings.
One of the most insensitive things you can do to someone who is grieving from loss or is in sorrow about the presence of SUD in their homes is to brush off their feelings. Sadness and worry are normal. The human emotion is very fragile, especially when undergoing through traumatic or life-changing events and a simple action or words that depict that their feelings are being invalidated can trigger some kind of emotional turmoil in ways we would not know.
Do know your limitations.
When somebody we love is undergoing through a tough time with the grief of loss or because of SUD in the family, we tend to fix their problems or what we think is wrong with how they feel or act. We tend to become pushovers sometimes and this can overwhelm them. You must know where you get off. Understand that while you have their best interest at heart, you can’t take away their pain or sadness. Nothing you say or do will probably fix things. But what you can do is to let them know that you are there to sit with them through their pain.
Do encourage them to act.
People handle grief in different ways. Some isolate themselves. But this is that moment when they need support groups or therapy. But you can’t just talk them into doing something. Use a more gentle approach. Keep in mind that they might not be ready for these moves so do this thoughtfully. And when you don’t know how the best approach to this, you can talk with a support group or a therapist in advance and ask for suggestions on how you can best encourage your loved one to act.
Don’t rush the process.
Allow your loved one to deal with grief at his or her own pace. Healing and moving forward with life is a process. People deal with grief in different ways and at a different pace. The important thing to do is to let them go through the process at their own terms. It’s not going to help if you rush them to move on. Your loved one might even resent you for it.
Don’t resort to using clichés about loss or grief.
When someone we know feels bad or is going through some tough times in life such as grief or sorrow, we want to let them know that we sympathize with them. When we are at a loss for words, we tend to use clichés such as “I know how you feel”, which is probably something you don’t have to say. You may have been in the same situation before, might even be SUD survivor yourself, but you don’t really know how they are truly feeling, right? Another of those clichés is “everything happens for a reason.” These do not help them. You can say “ I can’t imagine how you must feel”. Let your loved one talk, give her/him that space and just listen.
Don’t anticipate their actions.
When a loved one suffers from grief, we tend to jump into doing everything we can to help them. We want to fix their problems as soon as we can. If your loved one suffers from grief over death, do not announce it in public such as social media ahead of him/or her, unless you were appointed to do so. When a loved one suffers from grief over having SUD in their family, do not post on social media what you think about the situation. Those are private matters. Keep private matters private.
In conclusion, because we love that person so much, it hurts us to see them hurt. We want to reach out to them in the ways that we think we know can help, sometimes risking our relationships with them. When we find ourselves in an emotional state, our judgement is clouded. Being in a support group can be very helpful for us and our loved ones. This is when we can truly help them, support them in their grief and help them heal.
If you need a support group to help you with dealing grief or a loved one’s grief, BALM provides support and counselling. Click here for more information.