"Good" Grief: Staying Out of Victim Mentalities & Judgement While You're Hurting
I feel it intuitively. Some people silently judging me for continuing to blog, share my work, and God forbid I have a photo shoot with a photographer only weeks after my Mom passed away. [Insert gasp emoji here].
Am I just that disconnected from pain?
Why isn’t she sitting at home depressed with tea?
I can’t believe she renamed her business.
How can she just go on with her life?
Well here’s the answer: because I have to. Because it’s what SHE would want. Because it’s the ONLY way for me to not enter into a full-blown depression over my Mom’s death, which I’ve experienced 3 different distinct times in my life.
It’s the darkest place, and it’s not fun at all to go that low.
And if that bothers you, that sounds like a private matter you will have to deal with internally.
Your comfort with my decisions or my grief is the least of my concerns.
However, don’t think I’m not intuitive enough to pick up on it. I don’t even have to be in the same room with some people to sense the judgement.
Here’s what I have to say about this topic.
1 - All grief looks different
Yes, everyone grieves differently. That’s not what I’m referring to specifically. I’m talking about what it LOOKS like on the surface. What YOU see.
For example, my grief on a daily basis can go something like this:
Wake up, cry for 20 minutes and want to stay in bed all day. Stare at the new photo in my hallway I just hung of my Mom in the cutest outfit I’ve ever seen her wear. Run late for work because I just want to sulk. Be overcome with fear not having my Mother while sitting at a stop light on my WAY to work. Getting to work, being distracted and having laughter with my coworkers. God forbid I have any laughter right now. Drink too much coffee. Don’t forget to eat during the day. Leave work. Give myself props for getting through another day and still care enough to post every now & then how I feel on social media. Plan my evening, which right now only includes texting, talking to, and loving people I care about, eating well, working out, then going to bed. Setting the expectations low, so I can make room for this thing called grief. Not judging myself for it. Loving who Tamisha is. Honoring Sherilyn’s daughter.
Sorry, not sorry if that’s not how your day looks - can’t we both have our day? Sorry, not sorry if you think it should be more dramatic than that - I don’t do drama - even in my grieving. Sorry not sorry if I am not crying enough or depressed enough to make you feel like I’m sad. It’s amazing how judgmental people can be. I’m not over here judging your grief - why are you judging mine? And what makes you think you know every element of my grief throughout the day anyway?
Do you think I share on social media every time I cry about my Mother or curl up in a ball with her Bible in my bed? I don’t owe you that. That’s a sacred space for me. You don’t get to be a part of it.
I’m doing the best I can. Everyone does who loses a person they love.
My main point is that just because you don’t SEE depressive posts every day on social media doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I don’t share every low or broadcast every high. This isn’t CNN. This is my life. And if I DID share all of that, I’d have just as much judgment from another select group:
I’m worried she’s depressed.
Why does every post have to be about her Mother now?
You just can’t make everyone happy.
So my approach is to be authentic about what I want to share & when, how I post & when, share some ups and downs, be real about certain moments of my day, and move on the best way I feel would honor her.
Here’s what else I wanted to highlight.
2 - Victim Roles are Real
The paradox here is that because grief is such a tender time, it is also a prime breeding ground for creating victim mentalities & roles around the loss. Usually, the people who do this are also the ones judging grief like I mentioned above. The victim is “allowed” to project their point of view onto others through the grief channel. They only know how to desire others to feel how they feel. It’s tough.
Some people unfortunately never come OUT of this and it becomes their prison. I’ve seen it.
For example, getting stuck in “look how this has left me…” or “I can’t believe this happened to ME” or "instead of being angry and working through the anger daily to heal it, letting it control their behavior and emotionally attaching to it. Letting it dictate life point forward.
It actually takes a concerted, spiritual effort (I’m finding) to not take on a victim role. And it’s conscious, hard work but also very possible. What’s working for me to get through the victim roles I feel is my love for my Mother and all the wonderful things she has left me with to get through this life. That love drives out the ability to attach to a victim mentality.
I’m not advocating any type of avoidance, lack of emotion, or dismissive line of thinking. What I AM advocating is a conscious process about what has just occurred, that it’s real as much as it hurts, that there’s nothing I can do to bring her back or change it, and that I have to figure out a way to honor HER through my grief.
Grief is a passage. It’s the price of love.
“Good” grief to me is just doing it the best way I know how.
I hope this helps someone today.