Types of Grievers - Part 2
May 17, 2012 by Victoria Noe, in Friend Grief , Grief , grieving styles , instrumental grieving
Everyone grieves differently.
Often, people assume that someone who cries or talks about the person who has died is not handling their grief well. They are encouraged to stop crying, to not dwell on the past. But for that person, that’s how they express their grief.
Others are what may be defined as “instrumental” grievers.
Rather than express their grief by crying, they are more likely to intellectualize their grief.
They want to understand their grief, but they don’t want to talk about it.
They want to control their grief, so it doesn’t overwhelm them, or surprise them, or distract them.
They may also want to ‘do’ things. They may show up with food for the family, or run errands for them. They channel their grief into unemotional actions.
Just as emotional grievers are criticized, instrumental grievers also face disapproval. They may be considered cold or uncaring, because they don’t cry in public.
The ability to not cry doesn’t reflect a lack of caring. It’s just the way some people cope.
So if you see someone who has lost a close friend but acts as if they’re fine, don’t assume they’re in denial. Consider the possibility that they just grieve differently
And be kind.