Things Not to Say to People Who are Grieving – #1

Grief 3

1.         “I know how you feel.”

 When someone is going through a loss they are often consumed by feelings that are indescribable and overwhelming.  Even if you have experienced the same type of event, such as the death of a parent or the loss of a job, this doesn’t mean that your emotional reactions to the event will be the same.  While a miscarriage for one person may have little impact; for another it may spiral her into a significant period of grief.  And while you may “know how they feel” the one grieving needs to be heard first and foremost.  The grieving person needs your listening ear and comforting shoulder.   This is about them.  Keep the focus on them and off of you.  You can share some of the commonalities you have from your similar experiences at a later time when the grieving person’s feelings aren’t so raw.

To the griever: Your feelings are uniquely your own and nobody can fully understand the depth of your suffering. Even those who are also experiencing the same loss may be grieving differently than you.  Your grief deserves its own attention.  If someone tells you they know how you feel in a way that makes you feel minimized or dismissed, move on to someone else who can give you the support and comfort you need.  This is a confusing time and it is important you talk to people you feel can handle you right where you are.  If you know someone who has been through a similar experience and that brings you comfort; then by all means lean on them.

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