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Question
Posted by: Alison | 2012-10-20

Supporting grieving partner

My partner lost his daughter ages 33 in a car accident a month ago. I know all the theory of how to support him. I am however really struggling to put it in practice. I understand he needs to mourn for a long time. But I believe he also needs to not withdraw from life. I think there is a high suicide potential. I so want to help him but he is blocking any help at all. He has stopped working and basically stopped functioning. Should i aim at having him admitted? I am also reluctant to make any suggestions at all because all he says is " Be kind to me" . Heaven knows I am trying hard to do that. I give him purely sympathy but perhaps it would be better to give guidance. I am lost.....please help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

As you have found, theory is of some help, but really not terribly useful in guiding one in how to deal with such sad situations. Much depends not so much on which methods a person uses to try to deal with their grief, but in how extreme they are, how useful or unhelpful, how long they last, and how much they interfere with other important functions.
Osolating oneself from some aspecs of ordinary life isn't uncommon ; but it isnpt useful if prlonged or extreme. That he asks : "Be kind to me" is an important step. Remind him that you are very keen to do so, but that its even more important that he be kind to himself.
Can you encourage him to talk about what he's thinking about this tragic eent ? Often, even if one had nothing whatever causally to do with the death, one feels guilty, and as though one should have done something to prevent it, even if it were unpreventable. If you can get him talking, you can discuss whatever he might be brooding about, and help him towards finding more functional ways of viewing the same elemetns of the loss.
Also, might he be interested, if you can find a local or reachable group ) the organization The Compassionate Friends, which is a self-help but guided group for parents who have lost a child, or any age ? Maybe he'd find that helpful, first as an observer, but with the freedom to join in when he feel ready to do so ?

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Alison | 2012-10-21

Thank you so much for your reply. It makes perfect sense.

Reply to Alison
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-10-20

As you have found, theory is of some help, but really not terribly useful in guiding one in how to deal with such sad situations. Much depends not so much on which methods a person uses to try to deal with their grief, but in how extreme they are, how useful or unhelpful, how long they last, and how much they interfere with other important functions.
Osolating oneself from some aspecs of ordinary life isn't uncommon ; but it isnpt useful if prlonged or extreme. That he asks : "Be kind to me" is an important step. Remind him that you are very keen to do so, but that its even more important that he be kind to himself.
Can you encourage him to talk about what he's thinking about this tragic eent ? Often, even if one had nothing whatever causally to do with the death, one feels guilty, and as though one should have done something to prevent it, even if it were unpreventable. If you can get him talking, you can discuss whatever he might be brooding about, and help him towards finding more functional ways of viewing the same elemetns of the loss.
Also, might he be interested, if you can find a local or reachable group ) the organization The Compassionate Friends, which is a self-help but guided group for parents who have lost a child, or any age ? Maybe he'd find that helpful, first as an observer, but with the freedom to join in when he feel ready to do so ?

Reply to cybershrink

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