Losing a loved one is a difficult and emotional experience that can leave us feeling overwhelmed, lost, and unsure of how to move forward. It's common for people to cope with these feelings by wearing masks – figurative masks that we use to hide our true emotions and pretend that everything is okay. Here are ten common masks that people wear when they lose a loved one:
- The Strong Mask: This is the mask that we wear when we try to appear strong and capable, even when we're feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed. We may try to downplay our emotions and put on a brave face for others, believing that it's our responsibility to be the rock for those around us.
- The Happy Mask: This mask is worn when we try to appear happy and positive, even when we're feeling sad and depressed. We may try to laugh and joke our way through the pain, believing that it's better to put on a happy face than to show our true emotions.
- The Busy Mask: This mask is worn when we try to keep ourselves busy and distract ourselves from our emotions. We may fill our schedules with activities and tasks in an attempt to keep our minds occupied and avoid dealing with our feelings.
- The Disconnected Mask: This mask is worn when we try to disconnect from our emotions and numb ourselves from the pain. We may turn to unhealthy behaviors like substance abuse or unhealthy relationships in an attempt to escape from our feelings.
- The Angry Mask: This mask is worn when we try to deflect our pain onto others by becoming angry and aggressive. We may lash out at those around us or engage in destructive behaviors as a way to cope with our feelings.
- The Denial Mask: This mask is worn when we try to pretend that everything is okay and that the loss hasn't affected us. We may try to ignore our emotions or tell ourselves that we'll be fine, even when deep down we know that's not true.
- The Perfectionist Mask: This mask is worn when we try to be perfect in every aspect of our lives, believing that if we can just get everything right, we'll be able to avoid feeling the pain of the loss.
- The Overachiever Mask: This mask is worn when we try to accomplish as much as possible in an attempt to prove to ourselves and others that we're capable and strong. We may push ourselves to the limit and take on more than we can handle, hoping to distract ourselves from our emotions.
- The Martyr Mask: This mask is worn when we try to make ourselves the victim in order to gain the sympathy and support of others. We may try to make others feel guilty for not doing enough to help us or for not understanding what we're going through.
- The Blaming Mask: This mask is worn when we try to deflect responsibility for our emotions onto others. We may blame others for our feelings of loss or try to find someone else to blame for the circumstances that led to the loss.
While it's natural to want to protect ourselves from the pain of losing a loved one, it's important to recognize that these masks can actually hinder our ability to heal and move forward. They can prevent us from finding healthy ways to cope with our emotions and can even cause us to push away the people who care about us the most.
So how can we take off these masks and become more open and willing to talk about our emotions? Here are some tips:
- Find a safe space to talk about your feelings: It's important to find someone you trust who you can confide in and share your emotions with. This could be a therapist, a close friend, or a support group. Having someone to talk to can help you process your emotions and feel less alone.
- Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally can help you feel more grounded and able to cope with your emotions. This might include activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature.
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions: It's okay to feel a range of emotions after losing a loved one. Allow yourself to feel what you're feeling, rather than trying to push your emotions away or ignore them. It may be difficult, but acknowledging and accepting your emotions is an important step in the healing process.
- Seek out support: Losing a loved one can be a very isolating experience. Seek out support from friends, family, or a support group to help you through this difficult time.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and accepting things as they are. It can be helpful to take a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath, allowing your thoughts and emotions to come and go without judgment. This can help you develop a greater sense of self-awareness and allow you to better cope with your emotions.
- Hope Kit: A therapeutic kit that has been created and designed by a therapist to walk you through the grief and loss process. It allows you to get the emotional support you need as you create your support team around you. https://hopekit.com/
- Seek professional help if needed: If you're struggling to cope with your emotions or if you're having difficulty functioning in your daily life, it may be helpful to seek the help of a mental health professional. A therapist or counselor can help you work through your emotions and develop healthy coping strategies.
Losing a loved one is never easy, but by taking off the masks that we use to protect ourselves, we can begin to heal and move forward in a healthier way. It takes time and effort, but by being open and willing to talk about our emotions, we can find a way to honor our loved ones and find meaning in the loss.
Healing Takes Courage
"The Hope Team"