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I'm feeling especially frustrated at the moment when well meaning (truly, well meaning) people in my life try to relate to what I'm going through when they haven't been there. When I hear, "I know how you feel," but I know the person can't possibly know, I get so upset inside. When someone assumes I'm generally "depressed" or "down," I actually get angry. I almost feel insulted, like my grief and my situation in general are being diminished. I sometimes find myself going a step further than I'd like to in order to explain where I am at the moment. It's not enough for me to understand that there's a difference, I want them to understand it also. Then I start to feel like I'm being insulting, assuming that the person doesn't understand. I imagine being on the receiving end of it probably makes the person wonder why they bothered trying to make me feel better in the first place. Then I have that sense that I'm in "it's all about me" mode. Why can't I just let it go and realize that they're just trying to be good friends, and that they're relating in the only way they have to relate? I so don't want to become one of those people who is always "one-upping" someone else's misery. Oh, the horror of that thought.

I'm starting to drive myself nuts.

Anyone else dealing with this?

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I haven't had anyone say they know how I feel but I've had people make other comments that just set me right off. I told one friend, it's like people that don't have kids, but somehow know all about how to to raise them. No one gets this unless you've been there. I had no idea what this would be like until I was in it. No idea.

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I find grieving for my spouse at such a young age very isolating. The only other widow in my family is my grandmother. None of my friends has lost a spouse (except for my friends here). For me, when a well-intentioned person tries to make me feel better, and fumbles, I feel that much more isolated and alone.

I was crying when I told my psychiatrist that my husband passed, something he hasn't seen before. He looked at me and said, "Well you knew he was going to die." Thanks for the update Doc.

For me, part of the problem is that my friends and family expect me to be same person I always was. And I'm not; I've been changed forever. I'd love to explain it to them, but don't have the energy.

I don't think you're being insulting. I don't think you're making it "all about you." I think you're doing the very best you can to remain social in a society that doesn't know how to deal with death. And I applaude you for your efforts.

Hugs to you

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If you do't answer them you pass for

a cold person

and if you answer them you pass for a sarcastic


So I'm a cold sarcastic person.

People don't know how to express themselves

in many situations, but when that situation

is one that we are living in we get hurt by

their words.

Just an example, I was told by a woman

that she understood how I was feeling

when Mike died.....I asked ''How can you?''

her reply: ''I was divorced last year''

won't write my answer to that.

Some courses on ''How to express yourself''

should be obligatory.



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Wow, all of your reponses really touched me.

What you said, Nanci, about feeling more isolated when someone tries to relate or make you feel better and fumbles -- I hadn't understood that before, but I think that's exactly how I felt last night. It had happened twice in one day. I just want to scream, "you don't get it. EVERYTHING has changed!" It's just so different when someone acknowledges that they don't know how I feel -- then I'm usually totally receptive to whatever they have to say.

It made me realize how important the grief groups are, especially those that are specific to different types of losses. I haven't been to mine in a month. I think when I was really active in my weekly one, I didn't feel the need to discuss things with other people as much.

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I feel for you guys. I don't know how you feel, but I'm a clumsy person who also doesn't know how to best express what I'm trying to say sometimes. Hopefully that is the case with some of your friends.

Unfortunately, there are those people in the world who don't want to feel 'left out' of anything---even your grief. I wouldn't waste too much concern on them. Maybe I'm just cold and sarcastic, too. :wink:

As for the dubious dr...what a nut job. Aren't they supposed to go to school before they start practicing? Or is that why they call it 'practicing'?

You are amazingly strong people. I don't know how you put up with that insanity.


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Teri-I can't imagine ever saying to someone I know how they feel about something unless I walked in their shoes....on the other hand some people just don't know what to say and I'm sure they don't mean to be hurtful they just don't think before they talk ( I know a lot of people like this)

I just want you to know I think of you often and wish you healing, peace and comfort in the upcoming year.

Happy New Year


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So sorry for the continuous stabs in your heart from well-meaning people. I truly believe most people do mean well, they just don't get it. I rather liked your line from another post that this wasn't "a planned lifestyle change." But, again, they won't get that either if we said it.

My fave is when someone calls and I say I'm feeling down and they ask "Why? What's wrong?" "Well... um... My husband is DEAD." Geeze, somehow they all expect me to be the same person and be hitting the ground running after the worst 2 1/2 years of my life!! Inside I am cold and sarcastic and angry and lost and grieving and empty and etc., etc.! :shock: Actually, I've rarely responded that way, but it's what I WANT to say.

I also get the whole one-upsmanship thing with grief. My brother calls it a pissing contest. LOL Our best friends have had a real problem with one-upping everything through our entire friendship. You can never bring up any topic where they didn't have or know someone with something bigger, better, worse, etc. Even about cancer. It was a running joke between Tony and I how they always did this. Now, it's my turn to hear this crap without Tony around to laugh with and as an added bonus, I get to hear about how everyone they ever knew died and how it affected them! Don't get me wrong, these folks are true-blue and their plusses far outweigh their minuses. Still, it points out that even those closest to you aren't ever going to get it, so how can we expect acquaintances to possibly understand?

I can't help but wonder how I'm going to react when one of these well-meaning people in my life loses a spouse. Right now I think rather chilly. Don't expect me to be warm and fuzzy. I hope that doesn't bear out as the years go by, but the thought does cross my mind. :roll:

I'm having break-through anger, kind of like break-through heartburn. LOL As much as I hate knowing there are others on this board in my position, I sincerely appreciate knowing there is a place I can go where other's "get it." Makes me feel like less of a nut-job. :shock:

I DO admire you Teri for getting out in social situations though. I'm not totally "there" yet.


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Other people have losses so they think that they really understand when they haven't a clue. Life as we knew it is over. I think that is the one thing that absolutely no one understands unless they have lost a spouse or a soul mate. Our whole world turns upside down and we are expected to grieve for a few days then "get over it or on with our life" How are we expected to do that when our life no longer exists?

We have to make a new life. It doens't happen over night or in a few weeks or even a year. People lose other family members but unless they lose the other part of themselves or a better way to say it is the person who completes them they will never understand. There is an old Country song called "Written in Stone". One line is "You don't know about heartache until it's written in stone." I think you will agree with me about just how true those words are.

I found the best thing to do when people say some of those things is to acknowledge them and try to understand just how impossible it is for them to really know what to say because THEY HAVE NOT BEEN THERE :!:

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To Teri and others who have lost their spouse...

It breaks my heart reading your comments on this topic. And, no, I do not know what you are going through, and will not pretend to understand. I DO know that you all are grieving in your own way, and trying to make it through the best way you know how.

I really think that well intentioned words just pop out of mouths without realizing how hurtful those words can be. When people can't relate to your situation, they TRY to do or say something "caring and helpful". One time a person said to me "How awful to lose your sister. Just be grateful it wasn't your husband or son". Gee, Thanks for your caring comments. If I only had a large piece of duct tape after that "caring and helpful" comment.

Stay strong. Ellie

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I have suffered the unintentional cruelty of idiots as well. It is just going to happen.

No matter our grief~people are still people~ with all their faults and all their glory all intermixed.

(Try not to perceive this as the one~up~manship mentioned but had to share):

I have been widowed 2X Tom died in 1993. I was 45 and he was 46.



A 'friend' whispered in my ear as she passed Tom's casket and hugged me: 'don't worry, dear, you are young, you will find someone else'

I wanted to join Tom in his dark and quiet place and never have to interact w/ friends again.

He would have rolled and rolled w/ laughter, tears streaming down his face as he laughed. He was so tolerant and loving.

That is how I survived.

But i did not even want to survive.

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{{{Teri and all of you}}}} we are in a place where no one who hasn't lost a spouse can ever be. I think people who have lost a friend or a parent or other relative, not counting the loss of a child, think they know our grief. Losing a parent is devastating, but unless we lived with them, it is nothing like losing the other half of ourselves, the other parent of our children, the one who knew what we were thinking. Our friends truly mean well, I have a friend who asked about the sheet on grief the funeral home gave me, I was reading it to her and she argued about what they said. Very disturbing. There will always be goof-balls out there who will never understand we are too fragile to handle their comments. I don't know what I would do with out you, my friends.


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I've always said that I can't imagine how you all must feel, and I can't.

Honestly, when I "try to", I feel sick. I hurt for you. Tears sting my eyes, my heart aches, and I holler at the Lord about it being unfair.

And what is wrong with you thinking of "YOU"? It's "you" that has had your life turned up-side-down. It's "You" that has had something very precious taken away ~~ way, way too soon.

I would think that anything and everything that you go thru, is a normal reaction to losing someone that you loved beyond words. No one can "know" how you feel..... it's not possible.

I grieve for my own husband, and I still have him here beside me, so "no", I can't imagine how you feel.

Please know that I think of you guys every day, and include you in my prayers.

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