What Is “Ambiguous Grief” And Are You Suffering From It After A Toxic Relationship?

­­Have you ever gone through a soul-wrenching separation from someone and you just can’t get past the lingering feelings of sadness and longing? The intense suffering that comes with missing someone who is still alive is a real thing and it’s called ambiguous grief. If you think this is something you’re experiencing, here are 7 things you need to know about why it’s happening.

You’re not alone.

Being sad about the loss of someone who is still alive and well somewhere living their best life without you can come with some pangs of remorse. Your friends probably don’t want to hear you go on and on about that person and it can be a weird thing to try to explain. I feel like Rihanna nails the explanation perfectly for what goes through your mind in the intro of her song “We Found Love”- “You almost feel ashamed, that someone could be that important/That without them, you feel like nothing/No one will ever understand how much it hurts.” Except the thing is, if there are songs and articles about this experience, it isn’t something that can just be happening to you. So, no matter how lonely and isolating it may seem, it’s not true that no one understands, hasn’t been there before, or isn’t actively going through the same right now.

It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.

It’s hard to resist the urge to compare. You might look at other people getting engaged, married, or regardless of relationship status just looking happy and thriving and wonder why you feel so stuck. You’ve got to push those thoughts out of your mind. Just focus on following your own timing and doing what you need to do to heal and move forward. It’s okay to feel bad about something, even if it was a bad situation with a bad person. It just means you are a caring person who can connect with and see the good in others.

There really is no timeline.

Unfortunately, you can’t just do an I Dream Of Jeannie eye blink and make the pain go away. It’s just something you have to go through, work through, and be patient with. Don’t add to your plate of troubles by piling pressure on yourself. It may take a while. It also may be something you carry inside forever. Maybe you’re okay with everything for a little bit and then one day you hear that one song that reminds you of him and you feel like you’re back at square one. It could hit you out of the blue out of nowhere with no prompt. You could go a few years and then check the date and realize it’s his birthday. It’s best to not think of it as something you just get over. Life goes on and you and your memories and experiences go with it. The grief is just one part of you- it may get lost in the mix somewhere or the dust may get kicked back up at some point.

It’s not a reason to return to a toxic situation.

I can’t tell you exactly what is going to help you the most, but I can tell you what won’t. Wanting one more day, good memory, last kiss, etc. is not going to serve you the way you might think when you’re in a dark place. You’re not going to get resolution from another experience with him, good or bad. Closure doesn’t come from the person who hurt you. It can be really tempting to reach out to someone you know theoretically you could still talk to, but it’s best to believe the option isn’t there and act accordingly. The person you’re looking for or wanting to exist really doesn’t.

Do the work.

You can’t just wallow in feeling bad and expect things to change. It’s uncomfortable to acknowledge disappointment and feel the discomfort, but don’t just sweep it under the rug because you will carry the dirt to a new relationship or situation. The sooner you allow yourself to go through the natural stages of grief, the closer you’ll be to being a better you. Avoiding progress by stalling the process isn’t going to serve you in the long run.

Be kind to yourself.

You went through something. And, big or small, it was real to you. You’re entitled to be hurt and it’s okay to feel sad and miss the good from an overall bad experience. Every day you’re continuing is progress, whether you get anything major accomplished or not. If you have a good day, good for you. If things don’t go so well, there’s always a new day coming and a fresh chance to start over and pick back up the progress you already made.

Seek professional help if you need it.

You may be grieving because you legitimately experienced trauma. Seeking guidance from someone who is trained in assisting you with finding appropriate coping strategies is a smart move. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel and figure out on you own how to do something that has been researched. Talk to someone who can equip you with the tools to let go and move on.

Sponsored: The best dating/relationships advice on the web. Check out Relationship Hero a site where highly trained relationship coaches get you, get your situation, and help you accomplish what you want. They help you through complicated and difficult love situations like deciphering mixed signals, getting over a breakup, or anything else you’re worried about. You immediately connect with an awesome coach on text or over the phone in minutes. Just click here

Read more:

Share this article now!

Jump to the comments