Grieving bad relationships?


By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Grieving a bad relationship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you grieve over the end of a bad relationship?

When a relationship ends we all grieve, each in our own way. Grieving is a process and that process can be different for each person. It makes sense to grieve over the loss of someone we love, but many people find themselves going through a period of grief at the end of a bad relationship, and the stages of grief they go through can be a lot like the process for the loss of a loving relationship.

This has occurred not once or a few times in my clinical practice. If it was one person I would not be telling this story out of respect for their confidentiality. But this has happened frequently in the lives of people I see and it is reported in the research on ending relationships.

Bad relationships happen in the romantic area and they happen in our families of origin. There is pain from that unfulfilling relationship whether it involved an unloving or abusive parent or a romance gone bad.

New relationships often start with huge hopes and expectations. A large number do not live up to those expectations. We invest a piece of our heart in every intimate relationship we have ever been in.

Couples get together, with or without the benefit of marriage. They expect this relationship to make them happy. Then the reality sets in they are not happy in this relationship. Many times they find they are miserable.

There may be abuse, addiction, domestic violence, and arguments. In the course of those conflicts, people say things to each other that they can never take back. The relationship hurts.

Ending the relationship does not end the pain.

You may have grown up in an unloving home. The parent was addicted, abusive or just unable to provide the affection you wanted and needed. Depressed parents, parents with their own mental or emotional issues may not be able to give those things they do not have themselves. The cycle of emotional unavailability can pass down through generations.

Children who were abused by parents, placed in foster care to protect them, still may miss that parent.   More than one of these youth, upon reaching adulthood will leave the foster care system to return to the family that abused them.

What they miss is not the reality of unloving parents but the loss of that dream that someday somehow they will be reconciled to those parents and find love.

Couples often grieve not for the loss of the relationship that never was good but for the loss of that dream that in this relationship they might find the loving other that would make them happy.

What many find out is that this other can never make them happy, happiness is an inside job. No amount of effort will make some troubled relationships whole. Often times ending a relationship is the best thing for both people involved. Other times they end the relationship and discover that they are still unhappy.

When any relationship ends, good or bad what we most grieve is the loss of potential, the end of the dreams that someday, somehow this relationship will meet our needs. We grieve when we lose a good relationship and we grieve when the troubled ones end.

We grieve mostly at the end of each relationship over the loss of what might have been.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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