Sunday, May 25, 2008

Grieving---A Necessary Process For Healing

Yes, grieving is a necessary, and often difficult, part of the healing process.

Earlier tonight I was watching the movie "Good Will Hunting" for the first time. In one of the counseling sessions Robin Williams told Matt Damon, "We are not perfect." I started to cry. I asked myself, "Why does that make me cry?"

Because I spent my childhood trying to be perfect and feeling that I was never good enough to meet my parents' expectations. I wasn't expected to be a child acting as a child acts, thinking as a child thinks. I was supposed to be an adult, a parent, taking care of my parents. That is why I found myself crying---grieving the fact that I wasn't allowed to be a child.

It has been a struggle to give up trying to be perfect. Every time that I think that I have found all of the areas of perfection-seeking, I find another area that I am still feeling that I don't measure up to the expectations of others or to my own expectations. Part of me still sometimes feels "not good enough." That wounded inner child is still there grieving for the childhood that she wasn't allowed to have. I still sometimes grieve for the relationship that I wanted with my parents and didn't have.

Later in the movie, Robin Williams tells Matt Damon, "It's not your fault." Matt says, "I know." Robin repeats, "It's not your fault." Matt says, "I know." This is repeated a third and a fourth time by both, each time with Matt saying the words but not looking at Robin when he says them so you know that Matt doesn't believe what he or Robin are saying. Finally Matt breaks down sobbing and Robin holds him as they both cry. By the third time, I am starting to cry also. Why? Because the wounded inner child in me still struggles with those same feelings.

I sometimes wish that there was a one-time knowing of this truth and then it would never come up again. Feelings, especially grief, are never that simple. Grief comes when it needs to come to be felt and healed. We can make it complicated by denial and resistance or we can feel it and let it move on.

Two other articles that you might want to read on this topic are "Cry When You Need To" found at
and one called "Feelings" found at .

Have a glorious Memorial Day weekend.


Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Patricia,

Grief does take on a life of it's own. Even when we think we have put a death or experience behind us, it often rears its ugly head.

I agree, we do need to feel it, deal with it, and move on. But that is something that's often easier said than done.

I pray you find the peace you're searching for.

Karl Staib - Your Work Happiness Matters said...

I've been very tough on myself my whole life. It hasn't been until I've read blogs like this one to Zen habits to Steve Pavlina on a regular basis that I've really been able to change my habits. I've learned to lighten up and go with the flow. I don't need to be perfect. All I need to do is appreciate my life for what it is.

Thanks Patricia. You are always helping me look at my life from a different angle.

Patricia Singleton said...

Barbara, thank you. Grief doesn't rule my life like it seemed to when I first got into recovery. It does come out for brief periods of time that still surprise me every once in awhile like last night. Peace comes for longer periods of time now as I feel and release the grief.

Patricia Singleton said...

Karl, you are welcome. I am glad that we both have learned to lighten up. Life is supposed to be joyful. I had to learn that. I am glad that I am able to present you with new angles to look at.

Alex Newell said...


i don't think there is a one time knowing because each time we experience something we know it at a different level. Multiple experiences are needed to penetrate our layers of defences and armouring.

And then one day, a trivial thing happens and we start crying...a very deep and sweet learning and knowing has happened.

And a little growth too.

God Bless


Patricia Singleton said...

Alex, thank you for your comment. What you said is so true and has definitely been my experience.

Jenny said...

We all cry when we need to, we all laugh when we need to and we can act like a child when we need to. Feed the inner child in you and do something fun that you would have liked to do as a child. Who cares if people look at you as if you are crazy, chances are they are just jealous that you are doing what they long to do themselves!

Beautiful Post!

Patricia Singleton said...

Jenny, thank you. I have learned to play again. I watch funny shows on TV just so I can spend time laughing. Laughter definitely is healing and healthy for our state of mind.

Shann said...

I understand your reaction to Good Will Hunting and what may be a journey to heal your inner child.
Thanks for sharing your heart.

Patricia Singleton said...

Shann, it is all part of my journey, the joy and the tears. Thanks for your comment. It is always good when someone else understands our words and feelings.

VICKI IN AZ said...

This is so beautifully said and timeless.
Thank You for the link.

Patricia Singleton said...

Vicki, thank you and you are welcome. I have found that each time that one of my friends dies, I get to also revisit any old losses that I haven't finished with also.