Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Here’s How
June 23, 2016
Reading Time: 2 minutes
No one likes to be dumped (or do the dumping)*
Dealing with major loss — in life and business — can result in grief which, in turn, results in stress. It comes with all kinds of nasty symptoms and can even weaken your immune system. (So, keep away from this site if reading about symptoms contributes to your stress.) Whether you’ve gone through a major physical move (as in home or office), lost a client, job, or valued employee, suffered the loss of a loved one, or even just had your kids graduate or move out, you’ll probably go through some variation of the grieving process.
One site outlines four “tasks” that comprise mourning. They are:
1) Acceptance of the reality of the loss.
2) Experiencing the pain of grief.
3) Adjusting to the environment in which the loss is missing from.
4) Withdrawal of emotional energy and reinvestment in new relationships.
Having lived through all of the above “mourning triggers” (aka types of losses) in the first six months of 2016, I can say that the list is pretty spot-on. Too bad someone hasn’t invented an app or notepad where you can just check items off the list speedy-quick like when you go grocery shopping and pick up that 6-pack of Skinny Pop.
I know lots of people who get stuck somewhere between steps 2 and 3. I recently wrote about Boomers
who can’t quite accept that the world around them has changed. They keep talking about “the way life used to be.”
Negotiating the path too quickly towards #4 can also be a mistake. The “everything-is-fine-I’m-moving-on” perspective doesn’t allow you sufficient time to heal and re-invent. You may make rash decisions that you’ll regret later.
Of course, some folks are swirling around in the #1 zone. I just re-watched Sunset Boulevard
for the umpteenth time and, although it’s still one of the darkest and most disturbing films ever made, its theme is timeless. When something is dead, you need to bury it and move on. Otherwise, you may descend into madness and do damage.
Speaking of denial, I just learned that there are two “flavors” of coping
with sudden change — control coping and escape coping. Although the latter is always appealing, you’ll never get to “Task 4.”
Whether your “relationship” is with a person, an assignment, or the awesome Keurig machine in your old office, reinvesting your energy in the next phase of your work/personal life will pay off in the long run.
*Sorry if you thought this article was going to be about dating and divorce. Our summer intern, Audrey just researched which of our posts got the highest level of engagement. When people think I’m writing about sex, weed, booze, or something related to my personal life they are quick to click. I’m simply responding to data. (Thanks Audrey!)