Grieving Our Good DecisionsJun 26, 2023
Everyone experiences loss. We have all had our fill with relationships ending and breakups that came out of the blue. At some point I’m sure you’ve been unexpectedly fired or let go from a place of employment. Not one human has gotten through their life without experiencing some sort of heartbreak brought on by a sudden loss. That’s life on this planet. It’s the constant ebb and flow of endings and beginnings. We get hurt, we grieve, we move on.
But what about the times when we’re the ones instigating the end of the relationship? What about those time when we know it would be a healthy decision to walk away and go forward alone? Perhaps you’re becoming increasingly aware that your boss creates a toxic work environment. Or a friendship has come to a place where it feels like you don’t see eye to eye on important topics and you feel they are deal-breakers. Or maybe you’re in a marriage that feels more like a job than love. Or even worse, you’re being manipulated, gaslit, and abused and you’ve finally had enough.
Making the choice to leave any unhealthy situation is a big decision. We weigh our options, think about a variety of possible outcomes, and plan our moves carefully. We go over it and over it in our heads to make sure that this is really what needs to happen. The more aware we become of the toxic traits that harm, us we simply can’t avoid them any longer. We can’t un-see what we’ve been trying to ignore anymore. So, we go.
But I feel we don’t enough about the sadness that follows a big decision like that. We know that what we’re doing is right, and yet we grieve as if someone died. I’ve been in that situation so many times. Years ago I left an abusive marriage and it was 100% the right thing to do. Part of my mind is acutely aware that this was truly the best route, that saying goodbye was the healthy decision for all of us. But the other part began to question my choice and my heart ached so badly for leaving. At the time, it was very confusing to feel these two things at the same time. I spent months questioning myself because I didn’t understand how I could be so sad for making such a right choice.
Years later I heard something that made all the pieces click. When two people come together, they each bring their own energy to the relationship. Through agreement and mutual desire to come together something new is born. A third energy that is called the Emotional Child. The Emotional Child is the representation of the relationship that grows when the two (or more) people are in agreement, give and spend equally, and are committed to the health of the relationship.
This can be in romantic relationships, friendships, group projects, or even work spaces. It forms from the focused intent of each person feeding and caring for the agreed upon relationship, no matter what that looks like. And when each person feeds the relationship, “the child” is healthy and vibrant. And in turn, all people involved thrive and feel connected to something bigger than themselves individually.
Inevitably though, many times a person or people will pull away from the relationship. And in doing so, unknowingly begin to neglect the Emotional Child, simply by no longer holding up their end of the agreement in the relationship. Their focus begins to wane, and so, the energy of “the child’ wanes as well.
When a relationship ends and people go their separate ways the child dies. The energy that was being built is over. Instinctively and without being aware of it, there is a deep loss, much like experiencing a death. This is why we feel sorrow for decisions that we know are right for us. We may be walking away, feeling confident that it’s for the best, but will also feel a deep sadness for the end. Somewhere, deep within, we know the child has died. And it’s THAT we are mourning.
I share this because when I heard this explanation, it validated something for me. It brought into alignment that I had made the right decision. That leaving was the best course of action. Then I could focus my healing journey towards grieving “the child” rather than the marriage. I was able to give myself the space to be sad for all we had built together and time to cry because it was over.
I share this in case you are struggling with this situation. So that you give yourself the space to honor what was built, so that you can move on towards a healthier horizon. You are worth it.
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