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Coping With Grief and Mixed Emotions

Conflicting emotions are very common responses to grief and loss



You’d be forgiven for thinking you were going mad when you’re grieving. You can flip-flop between a multitude of feelings in the space of five minutes, which can feel confusing and conflicting. Rest assured, you’re not alone. These mixed emotions are very common responses to grief and loss.


There’s also a misconception that you can only feel one feeling at a time. In reality, you can feel many things at a time. It’s just your senses are heightened and you become more aware of your feelings when you’re grieving.


This can feel disorienting at first, but in many ways, it is a good thing. It means that you don't have to choose between grieving the past and living in the present. It means that the pain of loss can sit alongside things like pleasure, happiness, and hope.


Let's have a look at what conflicting emotions might look like:

Sadness and Relief

When a loved one has suffered from a long illness, their death may bring a sense of relief that their suffering has come to an end. However, this relief can coexist with overwhelming sadness, as their absence is deeply felt.


Anger and Love

It is not uncommon to experience anger towards the person you’ve lost or towards yourself. This anger can feel conflicting when it arises alongside feelings of love and affection for the same individual.


Guilt and Forgiveness

Grief may trigger guilt, as you may question your actions or the nature of your relationship with the person who has died. You may also feel guilt for wanting to live for them while moving forward without them. Simultaneously, a need for self-forgiveness and forgiveness towards the person who has died might arise.


Numbness and Intense Emotions

Grief can manifest as a numbing of emotions, making it difficult to feel anything at all. It can also unleash intense emotions and emotional outbursts that can be overwhelming.


Why do conflicting feelings happen?

Conflicting emotions can arise from the simultaneous desire to hold onto the past and resist change, while also recognising the need to adapt and move forward. Navigating the uncertainty of the future can lead to conflicting feelings of hope and fear.


Coping with grief and mixed emotions

The experience of losing a loved one or going through a difficult life event can evoke a wide range of emotions, often conflicting with one another. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and each person's experience is unique.


It is essential to acknowledge and validate these conflicting feelings, as suppressing or denying them may hinder the healing process. Be patient and kind to yourself. Allowing yourself to experience and understand your conflicting emotions, we can begin to navigate the complexities of grief more effectively.


Engaging in self-care activities, such as exercise, journaling, or engaging in hobbies, can also contribute to healing and help individuals navigate through the complexities of grief.


It's okay to need support

Seeking support from friends, family, or a specialist who can provide a safe space to express and process your conflicting emotions can be really helpful. Speaking to others who you trust will help to normalise what you’re experiencing.


Professional help from a Greif Specialist provides a safe and non-judgmental space to explore and process your conflicting emotions, offering guidance and support along the way. Trained specialists have the expertise to help you with coping with your grief and mixed emotions, assisting you to find healthy ways to navigate the various conflicting feelings you experience.


Seeking professional help not only aids in the healing process; it can also help you build a solid foundation for your future emotional well-being.


About Maria


Maria Bailey

Maria Bailey is an Edu-Therapist and founder of Grief Specialists. Her work as an Edu-Therapist helps people resolve their emotional pain through an education and action-based programme over a short number of sessions to lead to sustainable mental wellness. You can find out more about Maria here.

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