“I don’t think I will ever understand why this happened to me. I’m in tears tonight.”
This is the opening line of yesterday’s blog posting for a woman who has been doing very well for some time now after the death of her marriage. You can read the details at
There is a major difference between men and women in the way traumatic experiences are dealt with. Men have this amazing capacity to just move on, so they hope and expect women will do the same. After many years of experience and training, I have learned that it is actually not healthy for a female brain to block out and ignore the traumatic events of live.
As a clinician, I find that women feel an intense sense of a loss of integrity if they forget important events in their lives. I have found a tool that tends to be quite helpful in these situations. I call it Mental Budgeting.
As with money, we observe that there is not an unlimited supply, and that money used to buy one thing cannot be used to by another. The same is true with time. We only have so much mental and emotional time (resources) each day. In the same way that it is inappropriate to not set aside money for annoying things like visits to the dentist, such things might still be classified as necessary. This is true of the need women have to grieve and re-grieve the traumatic events of life, and about as enjoyable ;).
I have found it very useful to teach women to budget the amount of time they feel is best to invest in grieving. If the death of a child is recent, then a great deal of time should be invested, but a few years later, while the men associated with the situation think she should be over it by now, I have learned that it is vital for a woman to be able to regrieve the loss of a child. I do believe that if the woman lacks self discipline the emotion of the situation can consume her. A wise woman will decide (in advance) what is the right amount of time to invest in such an experience. After doing so, she can use her Pioneer Woman brain to kick things back into gear after grieving, and get back to the basic needs of life.
I have learned that in most cases, the death of a marriage affects a woman at least as much as the death of a child. She will need to grieve and re-grieve the death of her dreams. Momma J, in this posting, is thrown into it again. Sadly, she discovers that there is no answer to the question, “Why?” any more this time than there was last time. I do not fear for her though. She is amazingly resilient. She will bounce back and do amazing things with her life.
If you would like more information on grieving and re-grieving the death of a relationship, let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org