Grief Shaming - Why It's Not Your Fault

Grief Shaming - Why It's Not Your Fault

The death of a loved one is a difficult thing to go through.

You are already feeling a range of emotions - sadness, anger, disbelief.

And on top of all that, you might also be dealing with grief shaming.

Here is how to recognize grief shaming and how to respond to it.  

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Marie Whatley LPCC

Marie Whatley LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Heather Comensky, LPC

Heather Comensky, LPC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Katherine Miller, LPCC

Katherine Miller, LPCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Deb Corbitt, LPC

Deb Corbitt, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424

What Is Grief Shaming?

Grief shaming is when people say things to you that invalidate your experience or make you feel like you are not grieving "correctly."

Grief shaming can come from well-meaning friends or family members who want you to "move on" or "get over it."

It can also come from strangers who make comments about your public displays of grief.

Whatever the source, grief shaming is never helpful and can actually make the grieving process even more difficult.    

Why Does Grief Shaming Happen? 

People grieve in different ways and at different speeds.

What works for one person might not work for another. Some people find solace in talking about their loved ones.

Some people prefer privacy with their memories in order to navigate the grieving process.

Some people cry frequently, while others only cry occasionally.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve - everyone does it differently.

Unfortunately, our society does not always have a very good understanding of grief.

And so, when people see someone grieving in a way that they don't understand, they might say something hurtful in an attempt to "fix" the situation.

But grief cannot be fixed - it is simply a part of the healing process. 

How Does Grief Shaming Affect People? 

Grief shaming can cause a lot of pain and suffering for those who are already struggling with the loss of a loved one.

Comments like "you should be over it by now" or "it's been long enough, don't you think?" can make a grieving person feel like they are not allowed to grieve or that they are somehow doing it wrong.

This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation.

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one and someone says something that makes you feel bad, remember that it is not your fault and that you are not alone.

Grieving is a natural process that looks different for everyone.

Do what feels right for you and don't let anyone else tell you how to grieve.

How to Cope With Grief Shaming? Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first step is to acknowledge your feelings.

It's natural to feel a range of emotions after a loss, and there's no "right" or "wrong" way to grieve.

So if you find yourself feeling angry, sad, or even guilty, know that these are all normal reactions to loss.

Once you've acknowledged your feelings, it will be easier to deal with the next step.

Set Boundaries With Others

It's also important to set boundaries with others.

This means politely declining invitations or requests that you're not ready for, and it also means speaking up if someone says something that makes you uncomfortable.

Remember, you have a right to grieve in whatever way feels right for you—so don't let anyone take that away from you. 

Find Support From Others Who Have Experienced Loss

It can be helpful to seek out support from others who have experienced loss.

These people understand what you're going through and can offer valuable advice and support.

You may find comfort in attending a grief support group or meeting one-on-one with a grief counselor. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Grief Shaming

Who grief shames?

Grief shaming can be done by anyone, but it is often done by well-meaning family and friends who are struggling to see the person they love in pain. It can also be done by strangers or acquaintances who don't know how to respond to someone's grief.

Why do people grief shame?

There are a number of reasons why people might grieve shame. Sometimes, it's because they simply don't know what else to say or do. Other times, it's because they're struggling with their own grief and feel like they need to take it out on someone else. Additionally, some people might do it because they believe that the person grieving is not handling their emotions in the "right" way.

How can I avoid grief shaming?

If you're not sure what to say to someone who is grieving, it's always best to err on the side of caution and say nothing at all. If you do want to say something, try to avoid giving advice or telling the person how they should feel. Instead, focus on listening and being supportive. Additionally, try to avoid making assumptions about how the person is feeling or how they should be coping with their loss.

What should I do if I've been grief shamed?

If you've been on the receiving end of grief shaming, it's important to remember that you are not obligated to explain or justify your emotions to anyone. You can simply tell the person that their comments are hurtful and ask them to stop. If you're not comfortable doing that, you can also choose to walk away or end the conversation altogether.

Overcomers Counseling is Here for You

At Overcomers Counseling, we understand how difficult it can be to cope with a loss.

Our team of experienced grief counselors is here to help you through the process of healing and recovery.

We offer compassionate and nonjudgmental support in our individual counseling sessions and group therapy sessions, so please don't hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.

We're here for you every step of the way.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you cope with your grief in a healthy, respectful way. 

Conclusion

Dealing with grief is never easy—but dealing with grief shaming can make it even harder. If you're struggling to cope, remember that you're not alone.

There are many people who understand what you're going through and who can offer support and advice.

Acknowledge your feelings, set boundaries with others, and seek out support when needed.

With time and patience, you will get through this difficult time.

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July 17th, 2024

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