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Table of Contents
|Seeing the Problem|
|How to Use The Grief Recovery Handbook||p. 2|
|Grief: A Neglected and Misunderstood Process||p. 3|
|Grief and Recovery||p. 6|
|Staying Open to Grief||p. 7|
|Grief Recovery: How Does It Work?||p. 8|
|An Incomplete Past May Doom the Future||p. 9|
|Compounding the Problem||p. 11|
|Confusion About Stages||p. 11|
|What About Anger?||p. 12|
|Common Responses||p. 13|
|Getting Over or Getting Complete||p. 15|
|When Is It Time to Begin to Recover?||p. 16|
|Suicide, Murder, AIDS, and Other Tragic Circumstances||p. 18|
|The "G" Word||p. 19|
|Survivor: Another Inaccurate Word||p. 20|
|There Is Nothing Wrong with You||p. 21|
|We Are Ill Prepared to Deal with Loss||p. 23|
|We're Taught How to Acquire Things, Not What to Do When We Lose Them||p. 24|
|We're Taught Myths About Dealing with Grief||p. 26|
|Participating in Your Own Recovery||p. 35|
|Loss of Trust||p. 36|
|Practice Makes Habits||p. 37|
|Others Are Ill Prepared to Help Us Deal with Loss||p. 39|
|They Don't Know What to Say||p. 39|
|They're Afraid of Our Feelings||p. 41|
|They Try to Change the Subject||p. 42|
|They Intellectualize||p. 43|
|They Don't Hear Us||p. 45|
|They Don't Want to Talk About Death||p. 46|
|Professional Distortions||p. 47|
|They Want Us to Keep Our Faith||p. 49|
|Academy Award Recovery||p. 52|
|Enshrine or Bedevil?||p. 53|
|We Want the Approval of Others||p. 54|
|"I'm Fine" Is Often a Lie||p. 55|
|We Begin to Experience a Massive Loss of Energy||p. 56|
|We Experience a Loss of Aliveness||p. 57|
|Preparing for Change: Starting to Recover|
|Your First Choice: Choosing to Recover||p. 61|
|Who Is Responsible?||p. 62|
|Your Second Choice: Partnership or Working Alone||p. 66|
|Finding a Partner||p. 67|
|Setting the Guidelines||p. 69|
|Initial Partners Meeting||p. 69|
|Making Commitments||p. 70|
|First Homework Assignment||p. 72|
|Review Thoughts and Reminders||p. 74|
|Second Partners Meeting||p. 75|
|Identifying Short-Term Energy Relievers||p. 77|
|Short-Term Relief Doesn't Work||p. 79|
|Identifying Your Short-Term Energy-Relieving Behaviors||p. 81|
|Second Homework Assignment||p. 82|
|Third Partners Meeting||p. 83|
|The Loss History Graph||p. 85|
|Compare and Minimize||p. 86|
|Loss History Graph Examples||p. 86|
|What Goes on the Loss History Graph||p. 97|
|Third Homework Assignment: Preparing Your Loss History Graph||p. 98|
|Time and Intensity||p. 100|
|Learning from Your Loss History Graph||p. 102|
|Fourth Partners Meeting||p. 103|
|Finding the Solution|
|What Is Incompleteness?||p. 109|
|How to Identify What Is Incomplete||p. 111|
|Choosing a Loss to Complete||p. 113|
|More Help Choosing the First Loss to Work On and Questions about Other Losses||p. 114|
|Introducing the Relationship Graph||p. 115|
|The Relationship Graph Is Different from the Loss History Graph||p. 115|
|Completing Is Not Forgetting||p. 116|
|Accurate Memory Pictures: Your Part||p. 117|
|Truth Is the Key to Recovery||p. 118|
|Even Long Illnesses End in Unfinished Business||p. 119|
|Hopes, Dreams, and Expectations||p. 120|
|The Relationship Graph||p. 122|
|Fourth Homework Assignment: Making Your Relationship Graph||p. 129|
|Dawn of Memory-the Death of an Infant||p. 130|
|Fifth Partners Meeting||p. 134|
|Almost Home: Converting the Relationship Graph into Recovery Components||p. 136|
|Victims Have Difficulty with Apologies||p. 137|
|Significant Emotional Statements||p. 140|
|Fifth Homework Assignment: Putting It All Together||p. 142|
|Sixth Partners Meeting||p. 143|
|Moving from Discovery to Completion||p. 145|
|Final Homework Assignment: The Grief Recovery Completion Letter<$$$>||p. 145|
|Important Note||p. 151|
|Final Partners Meeting: Reading Your Letter||p. 151|
|What Does Completion Mean?||p. 155|
|Stuck on a Painful Image||p. 157|
|What About New Discoveries? Cole's Window Story||p. 158|
|More Help with Relationship Graphs and Completion Letters||p. 160|
|What Now?||p. 161|
|Cleanup Work||p. 162|
|More on Choices and Other Losses|
|More on Choices-Which Loss to Work on First||p. 169|
|Start with Relationships You Remember||p. 169|
|Other First Choice Concerns: Hidden or Disguised Choices||p. 171|
|Guidelines for Working on Specific Losses||p. 174|
|Death or Absence of Parent from an Early Age||p. 174|
|Infant Loss and Infertility||p. 178|
|Growing Up in an Alcoholic or Otherwise Dysfunctional Home||p. 181|
|Unique Loss Graphing Situations: Faith, Career, Health, Moving||p. 182|
|Miscellaneous Tips||p. 197|
|The Final Word||p. 201|
|The Grief Recovery Institute: Services and Programs||p. 203|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith
Grief: A Neglected and Misunderstood Process
Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind. Therefore, the feelings you are having are also normal and natural for you. The problem is that we have all been socialized to believe that these feelings are abnormal and unnatural.
While grief is normal and natural, and clearly the most powerful of all emotions, it is also the most neglected and misunderstood experience, often by both the grievers and those around them.
Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a -familiar pattern of behavior. What do we mean by conflicting feelings? Let us explain by example. When someone you love dies after suffering a long illness, you may feel a sense of relief that your loved one's suffering is over. That is a positive feeling, even though it is associated with a death. At the same time, you may realize that you can no longer see or touch that person. This may be very painful for you. These conflicting feelings, relief and pain, are totally normal in response to death.
What about divorce? Are there conflicting feelings too? Yes. You may feel a genuine sense of freedom now that the battles are over. That is a positive feeling. At the same time, you may be afraid that you will never "find someone as beautiful/as good a provider." These conflicting feelings, freedom and fear, are also natural responses to loss.
All relationships have aspects of familiarity whether they are romantic, social, familial, or business. What other losses cause similar conflicting feelings? While death and divorce are obvious, many other loss experiences have been identified that can produce grief. Among them are:
Death of a pet
Death of a former spouse
End of addictions
Major health changes
Financial changes-positive or negative
Often these common life experiences are not seen as grieving events. We grieve for the loss of all relationships we deem significant - which are thus also emotional.
If the major loss events in your life have not been associated with death, do not put this book down.
After twenty years of working with grievers, we have identified several other losses, including loss of trust, loss of safety, and loss of control of one's body (physical or sexual abuse). Society still does not recognize these losses as grief issues.
Loss-of-trust events are experienced by almost everyone and can have a major, lifelong negative impact. You may have experienced a loss of trust in a parent, a loss of trust in God, or a loss of trust in any other relationship. Is loss of trust a grief issue? The answer is yes. And the problem of dealing with the grief it causes remains the same. Grief is normal and natural, but we have been ill prepared to deal with it. Grief is about a broken heart, not a broken brain. All efforts to heal the heart with the head fail because the head is the wrong tool for the job. It's like trying to paint with a hammer-it only makes a mess.
Almost all intellectual comments are preceded by the phrase, "Don't feel bad." In 1977, when John's infant son died, a well-meaning friend said, "Don't feel bad-you can have other children." The intellectually accurate statement that John had the physical capability to have other children was not only irrelevant, it was unintentionally abusive, because it belittled his natural and normal emotions. John felt bad, his heart was broken.
When Russell and his first wife divorced, he was devastated. A friend said, "Don't feel bad-you'll do better next time." Most of the comments that grievers hear following a loss, while intellectually accurate, are emotionally barren. As a direct result of these conflicting ideas, a griever often feels confused and frustrated, feelings that lead to emotional isolation.
Since most of us have been socialized to attempt to resolve all issues with our intellect, grief remains a huge problem.This intellectual focus has even led to academic articles that suggest gender is an issue in grief. We recognize that males and females are socialized differently, but our experience indicates that males and females are similarly limited when it comes to dealing with sad, painful, and negative feelings. Feelings themselves are without gender. There is no such thing as girl sad or boy sad, girl happy or boy happy.
We are not saying that intellect is totally useless in regard to grief In fairness, you are reading a book, which is an intellectual activity. The book will ask you to understand concepts and to take actions, so clearly there is a degree of intellect involved.
Grief and Recovery
For many, seeing this book's title is the first time they have ever seen the terms "grief' and "recovery" used together. Religious and spiritual leaders have pointed out for centuries that we should look at loss as an opportunity for personal spiritual development. Yet in modern life, moving through intense emotional pain has become such a misunderstood process that most of us have very little idea of how to respond to loss.
What do we mean by recovery? Recovery means feeling better. Recovery means claiming your circumstances instead of your circumstances claiming you and your happiness. Recovery is finding new meaning for living, without the fear of being hurt again. Recovery is being able to enjoy fond memories without having them precipitate painful feelings of regret or remorse. Recovery is acknowledging that it is perfectly all right to feel sad from time to time and to talk about those feelings no matter how those around you react. Recovery is being able to forgive others when they say or do things that you know are based on their lack of knowledge about grief. Recovery is one day realizing that your ability to talk about the loss you've experienced is indeed normal and healthy...The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition
The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith. Copyright Â© by John W. James . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Excerpted from Grief Recovery: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses Including Health, Career, and Faith by John W. James, Russell Friedman
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.