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This is one
of a series of articles comprising
in the Break the
Cycle! self-improvement course. This lesson aims to educate readers to healthy
grieving basics so they can spot and complete unfinished mourning and evolve
pro-grief relationships and families. Typical survivors of
(Grown Wounded Children - GWCs)
never learned these basics, and risk psychological, physical, and
relationship problems from incomplete mourning.
provides background on
healthy grief, and...
six practical steps healthy adults can take to evolve a "pro-grief"
relationship or family.
"Pro-grief" means "consistently encouraging healthy three-level grief
in all involved people."
This article assumes you're familiar with...
the intro to this nonprofit web site and the premises underlying it
This brief YouTube video previews most of what you're about
our lives, healthy people automatically form significant emotional attachments
- bonds - to people, things, rituals, ideas, freedoms, dreams, and many
other tangible and invisible things. Inevitably, life
forces us - or we choose to = , or , sudden or foreseen endingsof these cherished bonds - losses.
Nature provides us an automatic way to eventually accept and adapt to our
losses and resume normal life - grief or mourning. This natural process
occurs on mental, emotional, and perhaps spiritual levels at the same time,
if allowed to.
Healthy grief requires at least seven
personal and environmental
elements to run its course. Can you name
them? Many typical adults and mental-health professionals have never been
taught these elements and where they come from. This
ignorance (lack of knowledge) is part of the silent [wounds + unawareness]
that is relentlessly degrading our families, culture, and
Mourning can be slowed or blockedby internaland/or
promoting personal and family
stress and illness. When mourners and supporters become aware of the common
symptoms of grief blocks and intentionally acquire the
requisites, healthy grief can resume.
just beginning to study blocked ("complicated")
grief, so most lay and professional people, probably including the people
who raised you, are unaware of its causes, symptoms and toxic effects.
Healthy grieving is a vital
component of personal and family nurturance and
wholistic health. Do you agree?
After studying family dynamics
professionally since 1979, I believe incomplete grief in one or more members is one of five
families are significantly stressed,
divorce legally and/or psychologically.
persons and families evolve semi-conscious policy (attitudes and conscious rules) about "proper" bonding and grieving. Adults
who are (a)
guided by their wise resident
true Self and (b) aware of healthy-grief
most likely to evolve and live from "pro-grief" personal and family policies
- i.e. rules that encourage all family members to want to follow the
steps below. Before reading about them, see if you can name these
out loud now. Most people can't.
Toward Healthy Grieving
Tho these steps are described for multi-generational
families - specially those including kids - they apply to people in any social relationship.
essential first step is for each adult to...
Learn about the [wounds + unawareness]
cycle, and assess for and reduce significant psychological
One of three widespread roots of incomp0lete grief is adult's
unawareness of wounds from early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and
abuse ("trauma"). The other roots are unawareness of
healthy-grieving basics and other topics, and a social environment that hinders
discourages healthy mourning..
family adult or partner for significant
wounds, and - where appropriate - seek qualified
help in implementing an
Wounded people in denial typically think "Well, that doesn't apply to me/us!" I believe It
doesapply to most
re/married men and women and their kids and relatives.
Lesson 1 in this nonprofit Web site and its related
guidebook are devoted to psychological-wound assessment and recovery.
that psychological and legal
divorce are common symptoms of the these
and the lethal [wounds + ignorance]
cycle at work.
Perspective - recent estimates suggest that almost half of U.S.
marriages ultimately divorce legally. Uncounted millions more endure psychological
steady adult commitment to spotting and reducing psychological wounds and
ignorances where needed, the following "good grief" steps will probably be
take and discuss this
quiz to establish what you
(don't) know. Then...
study and discuss
Lesson 3 in
this nonprofit, ad-free site .
Evolve a shared definition of
bonding, losses, and "effective mourning." and
review this grief-values worksheet
for perspective. Note -
adults ruled by false selves are likely to be indifferent, ambivalent, skeptical, "too busy,"
and/or discount this vital project. See step 1 above
Recall - you're reviewing six sequential steps toward
evolving a "pro-grief" family or relationship and guarding
against one of five major universal
your current personal and family
musts, have to's, and oughts)
about mourning and
you know anyone who's studied their own policy on mourning life's inevitable
losses? Did your parents or grandparents ever talk about their grieving policy? You
probably formed your own (unconscious) policy by
watching and listening to them and other mentors or hero/ines.
you identify the rules that govern how and what you grieve, study each
one and update it if it doesn't
promote good grief per step 2. For example, if your inherited grief
policy decrees that "Crying is weak and to be scorned," amend that to
"Crying is a healthy natural reflex for releasing stress-producing brain
chemicals, and is to be encouraged in adults and kids."
for healthy grief is "inner and outer
permissions (encouragements) come from friends, coworkers,
and a family with a "pro-grief" attitude and policy. Do you
have such a social environment? Do any young people in your
life have one?
detailed inventories of the
physical losses (broken emotional /
that each adult and child in your family has
had. If you're in a divorcing family or stepfamily, pay special
attention to identifying adults' and kids' losses from (a) biofamily divorce or adult death, and(b) co-parent re/marriage and/or
print and thoughtfully fill out the two Lesson-3
loss-inventory worksheets as a family. Stay clear that this is not about right/wrong, good/bad,
or blaming anyone for causing pain and loss - it's about learning and
each of your family adults and minor and
grown children for
symptoms of incomplete grief, including "depression." If you find any, adults decide together on how to
free it up, and act! If
you're unsure or scared, seek help from a
Check local mental-health agencies for such
three or more co-parents accept without ambivalence
that you are in a normal multi-home stepfamily
vs. "just a regular (bio)family." Then
Lessons 1 thru 7 here. Allyour
adults and kids probably have major losses to
mourn from (a) prior divorce and/or adult death and (b)re/marriage
and/or cohabiting and your several biofamilies'
merging. If courting or
mates bypass this essential step, they and their kids risk incomplete grief and major ongoing personal, re/marital, and family
Typical stepfamily co-parents in different homes are often conflicted by unforgiven divorce-related hurts,
resentments, guilts, shame, disrespects, distrusts, and hostilities. These are often based
psychological wounds and
Forming a pro-grief
stepfamily is usually far more complex than in an
intact biofamily because there are many more people,
more losses, and differing values, relationships, and concurrent needs. A
requisite for doing this is to
identify which of
exist in and between key adults and kids, and
intentionally work to reduce them together.
survivors of low-nurturance
childhoods (GWCs) learned to protectively numb their
reactions to losses
(broken bonds), and to inhibit healthy grief in key others
permission to grieve.
Typical Grown Wounded Children are
unaware of doing this,
and often deny it if pointed out to them. If such people do these six grief steps honestly,
they often start to recognize and react to their agonizing childhood
losses. A harmful unconscious protection against this pain is to put
off, intellectualize, discount, or fake, moving through all
three levels of healthy
toward growing a pro-grief family take family-adult courage, patience, and commitment to personal, marital, and
family health. Mates'' committing to doing these steps thoroughly together
raise their odds of marital success and protecting their descendents
against inheriting the lethal [wounds + ignorance]
I encourage you to
show this article to your
other family adults and supporters. Discuss it together and decide what you each want
to do with this information. Following these steps
toward building a pro-grief family takes courage, commitment, and patience. Doing
doing something. This long-term project is best begun before or during
Have you ever seen these premises and steps before? Clarify what you
believe about them here: A = "I agree," D = "I disagree," and
? = "I'm unsure, ambivalent, or it depends on ___."
All healthy infants, kids, and adults form
bonds with a range of living and inanimate things and
comforts throughout their lives. (A D ?)
By choice or chance, some of these bonds
break, causing losses.
(A D ?)
Nature provides a way to identify,
understand, react to, and accept these losses and their impacts, and to
eventually resume normal life - grief or mourning. (A D
Over time, this natural adjustment process
occurs across several phases in each of
two or three levels. (A D ?)
All persons and families form and live from
policies about if, how, and when to bond and grieve. They can identify and amend
these policies at any time. (A D ?)
Typical adults unconsciously use the
mourning values and policies they learned
from their childhood caregivers and mentors. (A D ?)
summarizes steps any motivated person can take toward
growing a "pro-grief" family or
relationship - i.e. one which consistently promotes
healthy three-level grief
among all its members and descendents. These steps build on the "good grief" basics in Lesson 3 in this
self-improvement Web site:
Pause, breathe, and recall
why you read this article. Did you get what
you needed? If so, what do you need now? If not - what
do you need?
Is there anyone you want to
discuss these ideas with? Who's answering these
questions - your wise resident
true Self, or