Grief, a profound and complex emotion in which we will all experience after we are faced with the loss of someone or something that we love. I would be surprised if you haven't already met with grief in some way throughout your journey because grief shows up in so many of our life experiences (whether we know it or not).
Grief has the power to reshape our lives in the aftermath of loss. While it is a universal experience, grief is often met with silence, avoidance, platitudes and silver linings. Which often leaves grieving people feeling alone, isolated, and misunderstood.
The silent suffering of grief that we are exploring here today refers to the unspoken pain and emotional turmoil that individuals endure while navigating their grief journey. In this blog post, we shed light on this silent suffering, exploring the reasons behind it and the importance of breaking the silence to promote healing and support.
Expectation to Be Strong
In many cultures and societies, there exists an expectation for individuals to "be strong" and to remain composed in the face of grief. This societal pressure often leads to the suppression of emotions and the adoption of a stoic facade. Grief in its fullest expression is wild, alive, and untamed. It is not stoic, composed, or meant to fit neatly into a box.
The silent suffering of grief arises when people feel compelled to hide their pain, fearing that displaying vulnerability may be disapproved of or seen as a sign of weakness. The weight of maintaining a "strong" persona can intensify the suffering, leaving individuals feeling isolated and alone.
Discomfort with Uncertainty
Grief can be a messy and unpredictable journey, and many fear the judgement and misunderstanding that may come from others as a result of their expression if they openly share the depth and truth of their grief. They may worry that their feelings and reactions will be invalidated or criticized, causing them to retreat into silence. This fear further isolates them, leaving their suffering unacknowledged and unaddressed.
Inadequate support is a massive problem in our communities, societies, and even in our families. The silent suffering of grief can also arise from a lack of accessible and supportive resources. If individuals do not have a strong support network or are unaware of available grief counselling or therapy, they may struggle to find outlets for expressing their pain. The absence of adequate support systems contributes to their silent suffering, as they feel unheard and unvalidated in their grief.
Returning to Community
Acknowledging and addressing the silent suffering of grief is crucial for healing and growth. By encouraging open conversations about grief, building grief literacy and awareness, we contibute to creating safe spaces for individuals to share their experiences, emotions, and pain. Breaking the silence allows for validation, empathy, and the fostering of meaningful connections with others who have also experienced loss. Being in communities where grief is accepted, honoured and held, empowers individuals to express their grief authentically and reduces the burden of carrying their pain alone.
The silent suffering of grief is an unfortunate reality for many individuals who are navigating the complexities of loss. It is essential for society to recognize and address this silent suffering by cultivating environments that foster compassionate care, open dialogue, empathy, and support. By encouraging conversations about grief, we can lift the veil of silence and provide healing spaces where individuals can find solace, understanding, and the courage to embrace their grief fully. Let us break the silence together, offering compassion and companionship to those who are grieving, and build a community of care that embraces and supports the fullness of the human experience.
>> Over here in my world we aren't doing grief work the way we’ve been sold, taught, and fed throughout our lives. If you’re like me, you’re ready to do it differently.
>> Not sure where to begin? Click here to book a discovery call where we will get to know you, your grief, and invite you into the path that we think would be most supportive for where you're at (no pressure, invitational always, left in your hand to decide your next right step).
>> If you found this blog post helpful, we would love it if you considered sharing it on social media to help others who might benefit from these perspectives so that together we can create a grief supportive world.
About the Author:
Hayley Yarish is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), Grief Therapist, Compassionate Bereavement Care Provider, and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®. She specializes in supporting individuals who are navigating loss and grief of any kind. Her own experiences with grief and loss have cracked her heart wide open and led her to doing this sacred work in the world.
Specific areas of focus: death of a loved one (recent or past), life changing transitions, relationship transitions and break ups, pregnancy loss, grief around family planning, and supporting entrepreneurs through the grief that comes with growth.
To learn more about Hayley or to book a session with her, click here.