Life Recovery Workbook Sampler - Page 4

own. She recalled how she would cry herself to sleep night after
night for what felt like several years.
Her mother’s response to her husband’s death was to begin
to live her life through Sarah. Sarah was an only child, and
everywhere her mother went, Sarah went with her. At first this
was okay, but when Sarah became a teenager, she was often
humiliated in front of her friends by how controlling her
mother was. Even when they went to church, Sarah was forced
to sit with her mother, whereas all the other teenage girls sat
as a group. Sarah begged and pleaded with her mother to let
her sit with her friends in church and to spend time with her
friends during the week, but Sarah’s mother always responded
with sadness and tears. Soon Sarah’s begging and pleading
turned into yelling and screaming. When Sarah was 25, her
mother died. Sarah felt relieved; she had to force herself to go
to the funeral.
Her counselor understood that complete grieving involves
the experience of both anger as a protest and sadness as a sense
of resignation. Acceptance of the loss is the final stage of grieving. The counselor realized that Sarah was experiencing incomplete grieving in relation to the deaths of both her father and
her mother. In relationship to her father, she only experienced
sadness. In response to her mother’s death, she only experienced anger as a protest.
So the counselor began to talk to her about things that
she had missed due to her father’s early death. When the
counselor hit on the fact that due to her father’s early death,
she was exposed to her mother’s smothering behavior, it rang
a bell in Sarah. If her dad had lived, she’d have had a very different relationship with her mother. Gradually Sarah began
to see her father’s death as both sad and something to protest
with anger.
In the same way, the counselor began to challenge her to see
her mother as being weak and needy and unable to acknowledge
her own problems. Sarah began to feel a sense of sadness over
Grief_LRTBS.indd 2
6/3/2019 10:36:21 AM

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