The Compassionate Friends North Central MA Blog

Men To the Left - Woman To the Right

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Overview/key Points of TCF North Central Mass September Meeting

The topic of the evening was “Men to the left and Woman to the right”

Facilitators – Dennis and Linda Gravelle

The purpose of the meeting was to introduce how bereavement is an individual journey and often genders grieve differently. The discussion was well received.

After a few brief comments to open the meeting and set the stage the men and woman at the meeting separated.  The attendees then discussed how they grieve and differences they perceive in the other gender and possible reasons.

In summary the woman expressed that they were more inclined to openly show their emotions and even express themselves verbally and physically such as crying. They mentioned that the men were much quieter and did not normally exhibit outward signs of emotion or discuss their feelings.

The men tended to likewise observe that they were less likely to talk about their feelings as they noticed woman in their life tended to do that.

At the men’s meeting we discussed possible reasons for holding in feelings. One point is the culture in which we are raised. Men are brought up with expressions such as “be a man” which supports not outwardly acknowledging or expressing feelings. We also want to fix everything but feel somewhat of a loss that we cannot fix the grieving experience for either our self or our loved ones.  Essentially there is no pill for the pain of grieving.

Men often struggle with non healthy ways of expressing grief such as being Angry about circumstances and sometimes persons involved. We discussed that we need try hard to work through this and realized that being angry has little value and can destroy us. Helping other persons,  excersizing and perhaps taking time for a hobby were better options.

The men often felt in doing things such as mowing a lawn or going for a walk it was a good opportunity to “process” our grief and wanted to communicate that we are feeling the hurt and trying to get through our bereavement but do that in a different way.

Some conclusions of the discussion when noticing differences is to understand we do not grieve the same. We need to understand that women and men may not grieve the same way but both genders are very effected by bereavement. When disagreement occurs we need to strive to avoid arguing and instead choose conversation and understanding whenever possible.

We all need to know that we can’t stay the same in our grief journey.   We need to be living forward to survive. We want to avoid a grief journey that is like “ground hog day” with things staying the same.

One suggestion was to look for small ways to make each day better such as walking to the corner or calling a friend. Perhaps write a list of 10 things you want to do to move forward.

Like looking at a lawn, these little things we do may not even be noticeable day to day. But they will help you grow. Eventually we and that lawn will grow.

We Can Survive!  There is a new normal that we can all achieve with each others support. We need not walk alone.

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