No matter how old you are, the death of a parent is a life-altering experience. Symptoms of distress may not appear, yet unpredictable psychological effects that can lead to affected relationships in the distant future may manifest themselves.
After losing your parent it is normal to feel sad, angry, guilty, remorse and even regrets. Nonetheless, it is vital to know that losing a parent may change your view of the world and affect your relationships.
Have you lost a parent or know someone who has? Read through to see how losing a parent can affect relationships;
Living in Denial
When something as tragic as losing a parent happens, you may result in denial as a defense mechanism. You could do this to protect yourself from the pain and refuse to accept the truth. If this happens for a short phase, it’s not a cause to worry. However, the dark side of denial is that it’s unhealthy if left unchecked.
Especially in emotional denial, it is very easy to avoid reality and moving on becomes that much harder. This ripples to those around you who may be trying to help you cope with your grief.
In denial, you lack awareness and though this state may help you deal with the distress at the time, you could be neglecting important relationships around you affecting them negatively.
When your family bond is fractured, you may feel like the ground is shifting beneath you. This may leave you uncertain of where you belong, especially if you were too attached to the parent you lost.
Feelings of being unsafe and in any relationship may rise and this may make you clingier and sometimes possessive of those around you for the fear of losing them too. This may be so if you lost your parent during the early years of your childhood.
Withdrawal from Your Peers
Due to the pain caused by the grief you’re experiencing, you may result to withdraw from friends and the activities you once enjoyed. Any relationship is webbed and flows through a special connection. The worst thing for your relationships is your loss of connection.
Sustaining a relationship takes effort to maintain a level of connection/intimacy. You could decide to throw yourself into work mode or fall into a slump and this can cause a hit on your peers and affect how you relate with them even after the long period of grief is over.
Unresolved Anger towards Everyone
Losing a parent floods you with intense emotions that you never experienced before. Anger could be one of them, either towards yourself or the world in general. If this anger is left unresolved, even without realizing it you may walk around wearing it on your sleeves.
This pent up anger may affect how you relate to your peers and you could lose your cool with the tiniest bit of triggers. This could make even your closest friends walk on eggshells around you and not relate the same with you.
In an ideal world, your closest friends are patient and will support you through it all and for as long as you need it. But most of the times people avoid or fall out of such relationships because everyone is dealing with their daily stress of life.
How to mend your Affected Relationships after the Grief
To Form a relationship you invest time, energy and a little part of yourself. The sense of belonging is what makes us move on being happy in that relationship.
You may want to ask yourself tough questions such as; “Is this relationship worth it? How much is this relationship worth to me?”
This will help you reflect back on all the affected relationships and strategize how you want to mend them.
Contact us for guidance and counselling 0704 333 111.