Building Bridges

Dealing with Loss

Giving help

What helps? What helps you do the tasks of mourning so that you can establish a new balance and start living fully again, continuing to grow and develop as a person?

Support from others can be helpful. Someone who cares about you can sometimes facilitate the mourning process, by providing safe opportunities for you to ask (and answer) these questions: What do I think? What do I feel? What am I doing? What meaning do I attach to all this?

But sometimes, well-intentioned attempts to be supportive can disrupt, delay, or prevent the work that needs to be done on any or all of the tasks involved in the process of grief work. They can interfere with your own efforts to deal effectively with the loss and get on with life; can solidify your old patterns of ineffective mourning; and, ultimately, can add to the existing burden of ungrieved painful losses. 

Here are some examples people have reported of things that others have said or done in an effort to be helpful immediately after a divorce.
Suggesting a quick fix
Giving complicated advice
Saying, "You're better off now
"Saying I'll get over it
Saying their story was worse
Getting me to take care of them
Saying, "It's God's will
"Saying it could have been worse
Saying it was my own fault
Listening and not fixing
Acknowledging the loss
Taking time to be with me
Asking me if I want to talk
Valuing me
Asking me what I needed
Just plain being there
Offering me a hug
Staying with me
Coming back more than once

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