by Guest Blogger Clara K. Showalter
So one day you wake up and discover that the vision you had of a perfect world is shattered. The curtain is pulled back and you discover there is no all-knowing, all-seeing wizard. There’s just a man, human, flawed, and looking for something like the rest of us.
Your wizard may be a parent, spouse, or close friend. She may be a counselor, a rabbi, or your boss. He may be the love of your life, your mentor, a teacher or a minister.
Your wizard is someone you’ve trusted implicitly, someone you’ve looked to for guidance, inspiration, and answers. For whatever reason you thought them infallible. You find out now that they are all too human. You are crushed, your sense of reality is skewed. You are angry, hurt, upset, and questioning things. You find yourself asking what next?
Congratulations. You are at a threshold. In front of you is the rest of your life. Like it or not, the world is still turning. You can’t unscramble the egg and go back to the way things were. You can only move one direction forward. Life doesn’t have a pause button.
As you look for a way forward you find yourself here. So what’s the next step? How do you make it over the threshold and start moving? What’s going through your head? Why are you so unlike yourself? What’s wrong?
There’s nothing wrong with you. What you are doing is working through a grieving process. Yes, grief. Finding out that your wizard isn’t who or what you thought he was is a loss. Like any loss, there is going to be pain and healing. The good news is, this is normal.
Stage 1 of grief is typically denial. You refuse to accept what’s happening. You will look for anything, anything at all to explain away the information you’ve been given. You may state that it’s flat out impossible. You may try to minimize the situation. You pretend that it’s really not as serious as you know deep down it is. This stage typically doesn’t last too very long which takes us to Stage 2. Anger.
Be angry. It’s okay to hurt, to feel betrayed, and to question. Sometimes it’s hard to be immediately angry at the person who actually let you down. You may be angry at the person who brought you the news. This is not an atypical response. The practice of killing the messenger goes back to ancient times. Mind you in this day and age we frown on that practice. So avoid homicide and settle for a little spleen venting.
You may wonder why I’m dwelling on the anger part of the process. Simple. Our modern love-everyone society has a skewed perspective on anger. We have a tendency to try and ignore anger or try to suppress it. It’s treated as a scary thing. We forget that anger is an emotion with a purpose. It’s an outlet. People may tell you it’s wrong to be angry. It’s not. You have a right to your anger. It’s yours. Now, unchecked anger that goes on and on with no resolution is a problem. We call that rage. That’s not what we are talking about here. This is anger about a specific situation. I don’t care how long ago the situation happened, if you’ve never been allowed to work the anger out, then go for it.
You hurt. Someone you have trusted has let you down big time. It will take you time to heal. There’s no hard and fast timeline here. So let the anger out. It’s generally better to get it out and not keep it bottled up inside.
Now a couple things to keep in mind. If you are choosing to vent your anger online, remember that words cannot be taken back from the wilds of the internet. Ideally, find a safe person to vent to. If you don’t have one, try the old trick of writing a letter. Get things out onto paper. Don’t sent it. Just get it out and see how it feels. Sometimes the act of getting it out is enough to release the pressure and allow you to move on to the next stage.
Next up is typically bargaining. At this stage, you try to make deals to get things back to where they were. Classics include things like, “If I do this, then he will come back. I can be better, then she will love me again.” You will go back and forth in this stage. You are trying to find ways to postpone the inevitable. As I mentioned earlier, time moves one direction – forward. This is where you frantically try to find the rewind button.
From bargaining, you move into depression. This isn’t just a passing case of the glums. This is depression in the classic sense. You find yourself feeling constantly sad, anxious, irritable, tired, empty, hopeless, guilty, and generally just down in the dumps. Nothing feels right. Nothing anyone suggests will make things better. Things you once enjoyed now bring you no pleasure. There is no quick way through this stage. It goes in it’s own time. Depression can range from mild to extreme. If you are experiencing major difficulties coping with the depressive stage, it’s an excellent idea to seek additional professional support. A trained professional can be of great assistance in this stage.
The final stage in the classic model of grief is acceptance. You’ve moved to a point where you understand that these events have happened. You can’t go backwards. The only way to move is forward.
You are here because you are somewhere between denial and acceptance. Our goal is to help folks at any stage. If you are mad, you can be mad. If you are depressed, you can do that. If you are through to the other side, you can reach out and help those who still need to find their way.
Your story means something. You may not realize that your words have the power to touch and inspire someone. Well, I’ve got news for you, they do. So if you have a story to share, contact Michelle@BeYourOwnOz.com and see if your words can reach out to someone.
We all have a story to share.
It’s time for you to share yours.