Where is it safe to share?
I heard a phrase the other day. It really made me start thinking about with who and when I share my grief, feelings, and frustration with.
That phrase is “emotional dump”. Allow me to put in in context. I openly shared with a friend, more of an acquaintance, that I was feeling sad and that my heart was aching. It was one of those days that I missed my son more than usual. I just need someone to listen to me. She just needed to tell me I would be okay. I verbally vomited my pain on my friend, and she told me “I cannot take your emotional dump right now”.
Her response threw me aback. It made me want to retreat into a hole. I needed her, and her response was like a knife driving deep into my heart. It added to the pain I was already experiencing. I did not know what to say so I said nothing for a long moment. I finally mustered an okay, said goodbye and hung up the phone. I went to my bedroom and cried. I was truly hurt.
After I cried, I felt much better and became curios as to what happened. I realized that in my grief, sometimes I can be self-centered and unaware of others emotional state. I did not think about my friend nor did I ask how she was doing before pouring my heart out to her. When I laid this expectation on her I was disappointed when she did not respond the way I wanted. It was not fair to her.
This act of bombing another person with my problems was eye opening. My grief journey is mine. It is not theirs. I cannot expect them to take it on with out asking their permission. They may not have the band width to help me. This friend is not in my inner circle.
My inner circle and tribe are the friends who I know allow me to freely express my feelings and any time. Close friends are those that help us in all circumstances, not just grief.
The Bible reminds us to seek wise counsel. Wise counsel is part of your tribe.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5 NIV
This is the opportunity to step out in faith and ask God to lead us to the right person. Be mindful of the outside, the physical packaging of what you are seeking. Sometimes we judge who the person will be and expect them to be a certain race, have socioeconomic status or a certain level of intelligence. Remember the say, “out of the mouths of babes”. God may send you a babe or someone you are not looking for.
Before you make an emotional dump, and possible damage a relationship, I suggest knowing who is in your inner circles and who are your trusted advisors.
Who do you know who is struggling with grief? Please share with them,
Peggy Green is a has experienced the grief of losing many loved ones including two of her children. Walking through grief caused her to seek out ways to heal her own grief and then share those steps with others. Her mission is to bring hope to mothers who are grieving the loss of a child and support to those who feel they can't find hope for the future.
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