Tuesday, October 9, 2012

". . . 'Til Death Do Us Part" by Kandy Magnotti

…five little words with such enormous meaning.


When two people make that promise to one another the last thing on their mind is divorce or the truth of mortality.  But if you are reading this article, it is very possible you or someone you know has experienced the death of a spouse or a divorce, which is in fact a death of a relationship. Whether your relationship has ended due to a death or divorce, the overarching emotion you are most likely experiencing is grief.
Grief can manifest itself in many forms; depression, anxiety, anger, isolation, fear.  These are very normal and natural reactions to any kind of loss experience.  What is not normal or natural is to deny oneself the opportunity to actually feel the pain of grief, emotionally process what has happened, and then allow oneself completion from the pain caused by the loss.  Unfortunately, society has created the notion that to feel bad, IS bad, therefore we do everything in our power to avoid the pain caused by the losses in our lives.  Unfortunately, the energy spent trying to avoid the emotions conjured up by grief caused by death or divorce eventually takes its toll.
Death or divorce may be the obvious loss you are experiencing, but it is the underlying, unidentified, secondary losses that keep you grieving in ways that you may not even understand.
The experience of a marriage or romantic relationship creates a world where we naturally begin to manifest many of our hopes and dreams and expectations for our lives.  As our relationships evolve, so too do our habits and rituals; the very experiences that give you a sense of safety and comfort.  Envisioning the children you one day hope to have… buying your first home together… planning your family’s annual vacation… kissing each other goodnight… dividing up responsibilities for getting the kids to and from school… waking up on Sundays to the smell of coffee brewing and the fashion magazine waiting for you to quietly peruse… filling up the gas tank for your loved one so the car is ready to go…
Somehow you believe these moments will last forever and then one day, for whatever reason, the relationship has changed or has ended.  All of your hopes, dreams, expectations, habits, and rituals are crushed.  Like an emotional tidal wave, you suddenly feel a loss of safety, a loss of security, a loss of trust, a loss of faith, a loss of identity, a loss of stability, just to name a few… These underlying, more intangible losses provide the fuel for grief.  Couple that fuel with the incorrect ways we’ve learned to deal with our loss experiences and you can begin to easily see why the pain resulting from the death of a loved one or divorce can often feel overwhelming; like the rug has been pulled out from under you and you can’t catch your breath.
After the end of a relationship due to death or divorce, many do as much as they can to avoid the painful feelings that follow.  Have you or someone you know tried any of the following?

·         Begin a new relationship soon after the event…
·         Drink in excess…
·         Eat more than usual…
·         Eat less than usual…
·         Gamble more…
·         Become sexually promiscuous…
·         Watch sad movies…
·         Listen to sad songs…
·         Work long hours…
·         Shop excessively…
·         Work out excessively…
·         Sleep more than usual…

There is no denying these activities might make you feel better in the short-term, but they are in fact SHORT-TERM and they only fuel the pain of grief by keeping you from completing the emotions that result from a change or end of a relationship due to death or divorce.  In Grief Recovery®, we refer to these behaviors as STERBS – short term energy relieving behaviors.
Until you become complete with the emotions stemming from the losses in your past relationships, no matter how they ended, you will forever influence the choices you make for yourself in future relationships.  Completion allows you to be influenced by positive energy from lessons learned THROUGH the loss experience rather than negative energy created by running away from the pain of the experience.
So how do you become complete with your loss?  The Grief Recovery Method® is a dynamic, finite step-by-step program that people who are grieving as a result of any loss experience have turned to for over 30 years.  The Grief Recovery Method® has helped hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world truly recover from their loss experiences.  The Grief Recovery Method® is NOT a passive process; it is in fact grief work.  There is "homework" involved in the process.  The steps are simple, but they are not emotionally easy.  The difference is... THEY WORK.  The process is educational and experiential in nature so you will feel emotions you have managed to suppress for years.  That is part of the work to becoming complete with your emotional losses.  The results are powerful and permanent. What you put into the process is what you get back exponentially.
Incomplete relationships create unresolved grief and unresolved grief creates incomplete relationships.  This vicious cycle strips you of the opportunity to learn the life lessons to be gained THROUGH your loss experience and keep you from obtaining authentic happiness.  You may have heard people talk about stripping away the layers of an onion in order to understand who you are; Certified Grief Recovery Specialists® prefer the analogy of stripping away the leaves of an artichoke, and discovering the heart inside of your authentic you.
‘Til death do us part may come sooner than we anticipated, either by way of physical death or a relational death.  It’s what you choose to have that experience mean in your life that will forever influence your future relationships.  Allowing you to authentically experience the emotionally painful part of the loss is the pathway to gain a renewed Life THROUGH Loss™.
 
Kandy Magnotti is a Marriage & Family Therapist (Masters Degree through the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University – Sarasota: completion December 2012) specializing in grief, loss, trauma, and end-of-life issues.  Mrs. Magnotti is also a Grief & Loss Facilitator, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) and the founder of Life THROUGH Loss™.
Kandy Magnotti’s unique personal and professional experiences provide her with a distinct ability to understand, connect, and facilitate your grief process in a way that is unlike what is offered through traditional psychotherapy.  From a professional standpoint, Mrs. Magnotti sees grief as a natural reaction to ANY unresolved emotional loss.  Grief is not, of itself, a diagnosable mental illness.  It is an “illness” of the heart, so to speak, and that is the lens from which she views one’s grief manifestations.  If you are grief stricken to any degree, your heart is broken and your “diagnosis”, as she sees it, is fundamentally grief and loss.
Kandy Magnotti holds membership with the Association for Death Education & Counseling (ADEC), the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT), and the American Counseling Association (ACA).
Kandy Magnotti lives in Sarasota with her husband and twin daughters. 
For more information visit www.lifethroughloss.com, www.facebook.com/lifethroughloss, or www.twitter.com/lifethroughloss

1 comment:

Kristyn W. said...

Talk about perfect timing for this post. Let's just say, it hit close to home. Thank you for sharing your guest blogger with all of us. It's defintely something I needed to read/hear.