BEING HELD WHEN YOU'RE SAD – I don’t know a single family that is “normal.” I mean, what is normal anyway? I think every family has a little crazy, and to me, that IS ‘normal.’ We’ve all got a little case of the crazies in us. If you ask me, that’s what makes us interesting. So when a new client sits down in front of me and says, “My family is totally crazy,” I breathe a sigh of relief that we’re somewhere along the spectrum of normal. It’s when a client comes in says that her family is “totally fine” that I begin to worry. Anything in excess becomes a crime. Too much ‘crazy’ can get in the way of everyday life and effect our ability to make healthy choices in our relationships and our career. Too little crazy on the other end of the spectrum and I start to worry that bodies have been buried in the backyard for centuries. Just like Goldilocks, we want to make sure that crazy is ‘just right.’
Aside from individual craziness that comes with each personality, there are also crazy, awful things that can happen to a family. It could be a divorce, a sickness, a death. There are many incredibly sad and awful things that can happen to a family that causes each person to break down in their own way. They are each going through the unimaginable, and the pain is simply too much. They deal with it in different ways. One may choose to self-medicate to numb the pain, while another throws himself into work to avoid the suffering, and yet another may remove herself entirely from the family, so as not to be reminded of what has happened.
The problem with these strategies is that none of them works to heal the pain. They are avoiding it, numbing it with food, alcohol and medication. But make no mistake, it is still there, waiting for its time to come out. And believe me, it will. Pain has to be felt and worked through. Quite simply, you cannot go around it, over it or under it. You need to go through it. And here’s the thing about going through pain. It’s too difficult to go through alone. We need people, our people, our loved ones to get in the hole with us, to just sit beside us without a word because sometimes there are no words. Sometimes we just need our family to put their arms around us, holding on tight for as long as it takes. Being held says, “I’ve got you. You can break now because I’ve got you and I won’t let go.” It’s feeling that love and safety that allows one to fully let go and release the pain. And releasing that pain CHANGES EVERYTHING!