grief and loss

How can I cope with Xmas after traumatic grief or loss?

We all love to spend Xmas with our loved ones - this may include family members we don't see much of at other times. For many of us, Xmas symbolizes a time when we connect and come together to express our caring and love for each other - celebrating our closest relationships. We may look over photo albums together, or have other rituals that help us to remember cherished memories of time together.

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Grieving in intimate relationships

Grief is an inevitable part of living - it's pretty much impossible to avoid losing someone close to us at some point.

Some forms of grieving are less obvious, and we may not even realized we are experiencing an emotional response to a loss.

Examples of this might be:-

One partner has had a serious illness

You have a child with a disability

A partner may have responded to stressful life events in a way that might feel like they are no longer the person we first fell in love with, s/he has changed in subtle and/or profound ways.

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Is unresolved trauma or grief affecting your ability to be present with your partner?

Are you and/or your partner dealing with unresolved grief or loss? Have you noticed how, if at all, this may affect your ability to be fully present with each other - here and now? It may be that you're trying to work through an issue that is quite ordinary but may be stressful to talk about - for example, negotiating who does what around the house, discussing differences in need for personal space away from each other.

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Coping with Xmas in the aftermath of traumatic grief or loss

We all love to spend Xmas with our loved ones - this may include family members we don't see much of at other times. For many of us, Xmas symbolizes a time when we connect and come together to express our caring and love for each other - celebrating our closest relationships. We may look over photo albums together, or have other rituals that help us to remember cherished memories of time together.

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Bearing the inconceivable - how do relationships survive the possibility of infertility?

It's usually (though not always) something we take for granted - as a couple, we make the decision to start a family, and assume that, although it may take a while, it'll happen sooner or later (and - at least initially - it's lots of fun trying!). For some couples though, time goes on and on either without being able to conceive at all, or enduring the tragedy of unsuccessful pregnancies. It's not too surprising that for some, this may start to take a toll on their relationship. It may become hard to remember when sex didn't feel like a chore.

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Relationships that hurt: why do we choose power over love?

It's been said that the opposite of love is not hate, nor indifference, but power. Relating through power, rather than through love, is to live in the realm of force, subservience, domination, submission, sado-masochism and, at the extreme, violence. It can be hard to accept that my partner may find it emotionally safer to meet her or his needs by using the emotional currency of power and powerlessness, rather than trusting that love will be enough.

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Navigating separation - what are the pitfalls to avoid?

In an ideal world - and maybe some of you have come across these lucky people - separation is a decision arrived at mutually, and moving on can be done with little regret and while staying friends with one's ex. In this imaginary world, either there are no children - or, parents are so easily able to manage their own feelings that they are easily able to help their children through the process, and support, facilitate and encourage ongoing positive relationships between their children and the other parent. For so many of us, though, the reality is very different.

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"When lightning strikes" - coping with the sudden death of a loved one

It's hard to cope with the loss of a loved one in any circumstances. Even when that person is older, has perhaps been dealing with illness for some time, we can still feel unprepared for the actual event of their death. How much more shocking, then, when death strikes unexpectedly. One day, a person may be in seemingly perfect health, the next - they're gone. There's not been a chance to say goodbye, to complete any unfinished business we may have had with that person.

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Parenting after separation and the grief that gets in the way

When a relationship ends, even if you are the one who decided to end it, it can take a long time to grieve, let go and move on. What often helps, as much as anything, is to put as much distance as possible between you and your ex. But if you have kids together, this is easier said than done, and the children need the two of you to be able to communicate about them and their needs. When separated couples come to Family Dispute Resolution to sort out parenting agreements, often old wounds reawaken.

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Families, chronic illness and disability

This is Carers Week - spare a thought for those thousands of unsung heroes in our society who provide practical and emotional support to loved ones who have a chronic illness or disability. They might be caring for a parent who is frail and aged, or for a child with an intellectual disability. It takes a community to support these families, as well as professional services and resources.

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