Unresolved loss can make you feel stuck in life. You may feel numb and empty inside but not know why. You may wish you could be like you used to be. Years may pass. In time you may wonder what happened to your vitality.
Losses accumulate throughout life, and if they aren’t acknowledged, you may end up feeling you’ve become a stranger to yourself.
To answer this question it helps to have a good idea of what resolved loss looks like.
A loss is resolved when its effects have been fully acknowledged and grieved. The bereaved allow themselves to feel the fear and anxiety that come with living alone. They mourn the loss of identity, status, friends, routine, and activities. For a while, they may feel their life has lost meaning.
Then one day they realize they’ve changed. They may begin to feel a little bored. They welcome the new people and opportunities that come their way. This new beginning is the inevitable reward of grief.
Signs of unresolved loss stem from avoiding feelings of grief. Because you can’t just ignore one feeling or one part of life, you end up emotionally shutting down across the board. Turning away from the emotional work of grief causes:
- Loss of vitality
- Loss of identity
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to live fully in the present
- Sensations of numbness or feeling dead inside
- Life to seem meaningless
I help many clients learn to grieve. I help them bring curiosity to the ways loss has changed them. I help them update their identity.
You don’t have to let go of or get over something once precious to you. You need it in your life and all it has taught you. But you can learn to have a different relationship to it.