Tags: grief | grieving | family

Grieving Does Not Always Include Tears

By Dr. Laura   |   Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 12:54 PM

Over the years I have had many people call me out of concern that they are not crying over the death of someone close to them. They wonder if there is something wrong with them psychologically or if something is missing in their character.

This is particularly alarming to married couples when partners grieve in different ways. Men tend to be more stoic, and instead of expressing their emotions, try to fix situations. Women often interpret this as meaning that the men are not "feeling" and just "getting on" when in reality, the getting-on actions are precisely the way men cope with their equally profound feelings.

Women want their emotional state to be attended to by their men simultaneous with their men expressing their emotions. This is quite a conundrum for men who can't figure out if they are supposed to fall apart or be strong and support their wives.
There’s another reason people don’t cry when someone dies: Sometimes the deceased simply was not that important to them.

It may be that a parent or sibling was troublesome or never bonded with them in a meaningful way. In fact, they might actually be relieved that that person has passed.

It is also true that in the situations where the death was expected for a protracted amount of time that the final, actual loss is not as horrendous as a "surprise" would have been.

In those situations, people have been grieving all along and may be emotionally exhausted by the time death comes. And in those cases we often see people calm at first. Later, the dam breaks and emotions flow. It sometimes takes recovery from the caretaking experience to get busy with the final business of mourning.

Remember: Crying is not an indicator of whether or not a person cares.

If you find yourself withdrawing from normal activities, if you have isolated yourself, or are not taking care of yourself, these are indicators that the grief process is not going smoothly. Resorting to drugs or alcohol also points at an attempt to run from feelings.

If you want to cry, feel like you have tears to shed, and just can't, that also suggests that you are having an internal struggle with all the emotions about the lost person. These are the times that joining a grief group or going to a grief counselor might be helpful.

The grieving process varies for each person and it requires time.

If there is conflict in your marriage in the midst of grieving, talking about your pain and listening carefully to your partner is essential. No judgment, no competing for top sufferer, no blaming, no shutting off from one another.

Truth and compassion are vital. We need to reach out to each other in times of pain.

Dr. Laura (Laura Schlessinger) is a well-known radio personality and best-selling author. She appears regularly on many television shows and in many publications. Read more reports from Dr. Laura — Click Here Now.

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