On tangled and layered grief
A thing you’d think I’d already have figured way earlier, but only became obvious to me after this latest breakup, is that there are stages of grief (other than the anger-denial-etc. ones).
A number of times, I’ve felt like I’d already gotten through the pain… Only for it to come up again, with me getting increasingly frustrated – “didn’t I process this already?”
Fact is, I think I did. It’s just that the way we talk about grief is a little misleading. Grief is not one big monolithic block that you just “get over” as one; rather there may be a number of different issues that are painful. They are separate but tangled up with each other, and you aren’t truly “over it” until you have processed them *all*.
Things that I’ve processed so far are at least:
- coming to accept that this would never work as the kind of idealized relationship I’d been imagining as
- coming to accept that while it working out as a *different* kind of relationship wouldn’t have been impossible earlier, it’s too late for that now
- coming to accept that there were some simple mistakes that I made during the relationship that would have been easy to avoid and which could have made a huge difference to how things turned out; but which are pointless to dwell on now
- coming to accept the loss of all the concrete good moments we had before things went sour, and the loss of that shared hope and excitement for the future that we had (this is the one my mind seems to be focused on working on right now)
As well as a few others that I think I’ve mostly gotten over, but which feel too private to mention.
I don’t know whether there will still be more. But it’s comforting to realize that I’m at least making progress, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.