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January 4, 2012

Grief Relief

Got emotional baggage? Don't we all? Feel sad sometimes, lost, disappointed, full of regrets?

Yeah, I do. Sorry, to keep going on in this vein. But hey, that's the way it is.

I have an assignment to work on mine. It's an exercise my therapist has given me. It is, as he explains, a way to help me say good bye to and moved past the unfinished emotional issues surrounding relationships or situations in my life that cause pain. He follows an exercise laid out in  The Grief Recovery Handbook. I'm not looking forward to it, but it could be helpful and illuminating.

Basically, I choose a person with whom I have a relationship or a situation over which I have baggage.

Then I, first, list all the resentments I have towards that relationship or situation; everything I am angry about or have been hurt by.

Next, I list regrets over that relationship or situation. Third, I list all the significant emotional statements I have around the resentments and regrets: "I felt hurt when you . . . I love you for . . .I appreciate you for . . . I hate you for not ..."

Then I have to write a letter to that person, which I will never give to them; it's just for my own purposes, my own personal cleaning up. In that letter, I list the resentments, regrets and emotions around them, but I also turn each resentment into a forgiveness and each regret into an apology. So, in a sense, I take responsibility for my part in causing my own pain and I let go of any anger I'm still holding onto.

I have to read this letter aloud to someone I trust.

The idea of writing out all these icky, uncomfortable, painful thoughts is to get them out of my head, out of the rumination and the imaginary conversations I'm having over this person or situation.  And, I hope, once I get them out of my head, I'll be able to let go of the feelings and put them off in a place where I can see everything else more clearly. 

As I said, I'm not looking forward to this exercise, but it has to be done.


7 comments:

Anna, The Lemon Lady said...

This is an awesome idea. I have so many email "drafts" over situations that have caused grief. It does help.

Ironing things out, so to speak.

I wish you success in this endeavor.

Deborah said...

Thanks, Martha. Hope that works. Basically, I have found no substitute for time. There's probably an algebraic equation for each person - time over the person's emotional health multiplied by the years and intensity attached to whoever or whatever has been lost?

Martha Ross, AKA Soccer Mom said...

Anna, Deborah, Thanks for your comments. We shall see. I'll keep you posted on whether it helps.

Old Fart said...

Where appropriate or even if "on the line", I like sending the letter. It feels much better knowing the person has received it. Works for me.

Ozzie Maland said...

It's maybe okay just to try
Much better than to sit and cry
But maybe you do wrong
To agonize so long
And not feel for the fish you fry

Anonymous said...

This is a great exercise and grief comes in many different forms. I am dealing with grief caused by my husbands affair with a married women at our gym. Every time I see her the grief and anger comes back, especially since she is married with children too. I am going to follow this too, journaling does help. It takes every single ounce of restraint to not hire a Blimp and announce this to the entire Creek Community.

Martha Ross, AKA Soccer Mom said...

Dear Anonymous Jan. 14,
I'm glad you think this is a good exercise. I am in the midst of working on it, and it is helping. I have been feeling much better over the past week or so.