It’s been a rough few months for human beings lately, and here in the U.S. and in our territories in the Caribbean, we’ve seen many people’s worlds rocked to their core. We’ve experienced the winds and rains of hurricanes, the destructive furnace of fires, and on top of that a terrifying hailstorm of bullets rained down on innocent music lovers in Las Vegas.
Women all over the country have been coming forward about their experiences with sexual assault and harassment and many are reliving painful feelings of guilt and shame as they share their stories.
Everywhere I look I see grievers…a nation of grievers. Anyone who suffers loss is a griever. Whether your loss resulted from a hurricane, an earthquake, a massacre or a sexual assault, the end-result is the same…you are a griever. You have either lost trust, dreams, circumstances, a living being, a place, or a thing, that you valued.
Grief isn’t an emotion. It’s actually a cluster of emotions that result when you suffer loss. Sometimes grief shows up as devastating sadness but it can also manifest as horror, depression, anxiety, fears, phobias, confusion, disbelief, overwhelm, hopelessness and paralyzing despair. These are just some of the ways that humans express the emotions that we collectively call grief.
Most people really suffer when they are grieving and often wonder if the pain will ever end or if they will ever get their lives back. But there is more to the grief picture than the sobbing and the wailing that initially takes place. There is a subterranean aspect of grief that slips up on you like a Ninja in the night. It is the fearful, limiting beliefs that develop in your subconscious mind. These beliefs impact your behavior and attract negative outcome that affirms their validity.
I can exemplify this best with the story of one of the women who came forward in the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse investigation. She shared that after he forced himself on her and after futile attempts to make him stop, she ended up having nonconsensual sexual activity with him.
Afterward, she hated herself and thought she was horrible for not fighting harder. This grew into an inability to enjoy sex and resulted in an eating disorder. This demonstrates this most important point, when grief is unresolved and unhealed, it very often leads to destructive, self-sabotaging behavior.
Most people have a limited capacity for handling emotional pain, so they must find some form of relief. Once they find a substance or an activity that eases the pain, the brain will drive them back to it time and again.
This can be a very positive thing if the relief they found comes from peaceful and positive activities such as, prayer, meditation, exercise or gratitude. But all too often the relief comes in the form of a substance or a behavior that in excess, leads to addiction or destructive habits.
This powerful connection the brain develops with the pleasurable activity is what makes treating and healing addictive behaviors so difficult. The pleasure center of the brain only cares about survival, not, healthy, productive living, so it can be very difficult to shift these behaviors.
In the next piece we will look at ways to unhook from unhealthy brain-driven activities. Life is in session and this nation of grievers needs relief from the emotional pain created by natural, political and psychological upheaval. Fortunately, there are positive ways to get that relief, but first we must interrupt the pattern of obsession with behavior that is not beneficial.
*photo credit: The Telegraph
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PAULA SHAW, CADC, DCEP is an author, Energy Psychology specialist, therapist, speaker, Reiki Master and Grief Counselor. For more than 20 years, Paula has been passionate about empowering people who are dealing with profound loss, so they can reap something truly beautiful from their pain. She also helps clients who are going through major life transitions or seeking freedom from self-destructive addictions. She has degrees in Education and Communications from Long Beach State University, as well as graduate counseling credentials from Loyola Marymount University. She is one of the founding members of the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology and currently serves on its board of directors. Paula is the author of Chakras, the Magnificent Seven (2002), as well as "Grief...When Will This Pain Ever End?" Finding Your Way out of the Pit of Despair After Profound Loss.
Former Blog Archive
Thank you for reading Paula's Blog. Because our site moved in June, we were unable to transfer all of our blog posts over. You can however, read the rest of them by visiting our old blog site. HERE