Tied Up In Knots: The Anxiety of Living with Unresolved Grief

Grief that is out in the open, that is part of the natural cycle of life or part of one of life’s tragic circumstances has a dignity to it. The person experiencing a loss feels that they have a right to grieve and to accept caring and attention from those they love.

Workshop for Addiction

However, the kinds of losses that accompany issues such as addiction do not necessarily command the respect of others nor does the person experiencing the loss necessarily feel a right to the support they long for.

But there is another kind of loss that we need to attend to as well, one that is less easy to see, that also needs mourning. The loss of self.

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The losses that so often accompany addiction whether from being an addict or living with addiction roll out from year to year in a never ending cycle, they lack a clear beginning, middle and end. These are losses that may have been buried under years of denial and obfuscation, losses that went unrecognized, that became disenfranchised or thrown out of conscious awareness. In addition to a loss of self might be a loss of safety, of a comfortable childhood, or of the feeling that we were seen and heard by those we depended upon. A loss of the space held safe in which to grow up. In these cases, people may be at risk for acting out the pain that they do not properly see themselves, not necessarily because they refuse to acknowledge it, but because their feelings surrounding these almost invisible losses are so confusing and difficult to find and feel. They have been neatly hidden under days gone by, the child who was not seen or listened to becomes the adult who cannot see or hear himself.

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