Grief is often associated with losing a loved one, and yet grief shows up in our lives often when no one has died. It shows us what is important, how much we have loved, and how much we have yearned to be seen, known, heard, supported, cared for, or noticed by those that are important to us, and the depth of the chasm of how that wasn’t met.
It can be outgrowing situations that can no longer contain us. Outgrowing patterns that don’t serve us anymore but that have helped us survive. There is a pain in leaving that comfort and familiarity, as that way of moving through the world means embracing uncertainty to move forward.
In the context of childhood trauma, its grieving what we didn’t get from our parent(s) that we needed. It’s when we can allow ourselves to touch the pool of pain under the surface that we thought was just a part of being alive. This is a death in itself. It is death of hope for finally getting what you need from someone who isn’t capable of giving it to you. It is the death of putting yourself and your needs second for hoping that if you can behave a certain way and do enough for them, that maybe they will one day turn around and be what you need.
It is a reminder that we are alive, to experience internal births and deaths of different parts of self. It is exactly here, in the place we often avoid because its too painful, that is directly where we can find our growth.
We need people in our lives that will be honest with us about what they notice, where there is a safety cultivated to express our true selves. Only here can healing happen, as the injury has happened in relationship, healing can only happen in relationship.
That kind of being with – whether it be a therapist or a good friend, is essential for our wellbeing. We cannot heal alone and then come back to relationship. The healing must happen in the safe container of a relationship. Only there will we be able to practice messing up, expressing ourselves honestly, and building authenticity.