Published: Sunday, 12 February 2017 12:44
Written by W.M. Carpenter III, Ph.D.
For many, the loss of a pet can be a devastating thing. They weren’t “just a dog,” or just an anything for that matter. They were our friend. They were a part of our family. For many people, their pets are their children, and the loss can be very traumatic. To make things worse, others may judge, or not understand why you’re so upset, why you’re missing work, or why you don’t just go get another pet. This is what we often refer to as disenfranchised grief, which is a type of grief that social conventions may not acknowledge. The truth of the matter, however, is that giving it a name doesn’t make it any less painful. The bottom line is that pet loss is just as significant as any other loss. That’s because grief is a reflection of the love, and if the love is real, the grief is real.
With our pets, we’re responsible for their health. We take care of them, feed them, and try to keep them safe, but sometimes despite our best efforts, things happen. An accident could lead to a death you didn’t have time to prepare yourself for. This isn’t to say that a prolonged passing is necessarily easier. At times you may have given your pet 110% in their last days, taking care of their every need. This can be especially draining as well. Perhaps your pet didn’t die. Maybe he or she was lost and you find yourself constantly worrying about them; wondering where they are, and if they’re safe. This is a loss that must be grieved as well.
Whatever the case may be, you need to be allowed to grieve in your own way. As we often say, “The way others feel about the way you should grieve is none of your business.” Grief, as odd as this may sound is a gift that will help you heal in time if you allow it to do its job. When you push it down, or deny the emotions, you’re only delaying the process.
Experience your feelings without judging them. Mourn the loss in your own way, and in your own time. Sometimes when you’re having trouble moving forward, you may realize that when you think about your pet, you find yourself stuck on the ending. It was so hard, and perhaps you had to make a painful decision you hoped you would never have to make. This is common, but just realizing that’s what you’re doing can often help. If this is the case, when you find this happening, just as if you had a camera, zoom out. Reflect on all the wonderful times, and the good years, not just the ending. If you’re still having issues, you may find it helpful to talk to someone.
If you or someone you know is having trouble dealing with a loss and would like to speak to talk, call my office at 469-225-9040, or contact us online for a free consultation.
Published: Saturday, 11 February 2017 22:17
Written by W.M. Carpenter III, Ph.D.
Throughout these articles on relationships you’ll commonly see a reference to the Masters of Relationships, and the Disasters, so I thought we thought it would be a good idea to explain a little about the terms. While on the surface the terms likely seem obvious, there has been a lot more going on behind the scenes than one might think to categorize these two groups.
For decades, Professor Emeritus John Gottman and his staff have been researching couples ranging from newlyweds to old age. In fact long before there was a “Big Brother House,” there was “The Love Lab,” a resort style apartment on the medical school campus where couples were allowed to stay and simply live their lives with no direction from the researchers. Cameras watch their every move during research hours, and trained observers catalog their every interaction.
Over the course of time, these couples have been brought back every few years to find out how they’re doing. Some are now divorced, some are still happily married, some have kids, and some from the earlier studies now now have kids that are getting married. So how does this play into our two groups?
A “master couple” is defined as a couple who stays together and is happy with the relationship. Conversely, a “disaster couple” is defined as one who breaks up, or who stays together, but is unhappy with the relationship. With these definitions in hand, the researchers along the way would separate the two groups and look at the mountains of data they had compiled, and ask, “What common threads can we find?” “What did the masters group do in their interactions that led long happy relationships that the disasters group failed to do?”
Over the years, this compilation of data has led to the most clinically and empirically tested protocol for couples counseling in history. As a testament to its validity, Dr. Gottman has been able to predict with 96.3% accuracy how long a couple will stay married by using the data that we now know defines a master couple vs. a disaster couple.
So as you read through these articles and see the term masters and disasters, take a moment to realize how important they are. These often seemingly little, insignificant things are anything but, and applying them to relationships, romantic or otherwise, are the difference in success and failure.
If you or someone you know is having relationship issues, call me at 469-225-9040 or contact us online for a free consultation.