Many of us think of grief as something we experience when we lose a loved one. While this is true, there is also something known as complicated grief. This is grief for a prolonged period. It arises around loss in other ways, including breakups/heart break, trauma or abuse. Not dealing with the original “loss” will keep us in an arrested state of development and in a certain thinking loop. Often we may not know we are in this prolonged state. It can be evidenced through depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, preoccupation with work, perfectionism, emotional void, or repetitive destructive behaviors/relationships.
How do we heal this? We need to dig into the root: the original loss. Perhaps a parent was rarely able to be attuned to our needs. Or we experienced relationship heartbreak in some capacity. We must grieve this as we would grieve any loss. We must look at where we are blocked, explore all our emotions, and dig into the discomfort (with compassion of course). We must feel that unresolved anger and look at what's beneath it. We need to show up for that part of us that was hurt, perhaps by another's behavior. Yes, it is painful, but the silver lining is transformation. When we learn to do this, we stop abandoning ourselves. We finally become unstuck. We might notice our anxiety or depression eases. We are more present, connect with ourselves, and in turn have a better relationship with ourselves and others....and really, isn't life all about feeling love and presence?