What do you do when your support network isn't supportive enough?

I'm having major issues with some of my friends while I'm grieving the (very) recent and tragic death of my dad. I find it frustrating that they ask me to call them when needed and when I do tell them what I need specifically I wind up being disappointed. They dont' seem like they're here for me at all. My biggest problem seems to be my boyfriend who lives with me. At first he was very supportive and now he's just bringing all of his problems on to me. He seems resentful that I don't have enough time for him or emotional energy to be there for him nor does he like the fact that I go out with my friends.

 

I need some suggestions to try and figure all of this out. I am seeing a therapist as well but I was more or less wondering if anyone else (out there) has had the same problems?

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Hi Holly, I lost my Dad in May and at a fairly early age - I'm still in my 30's. A major obstacle for me is that simply most people my age don't understand - they haven't dealt with anything like this. (And it's really something you don't 'get' until you've been through it.) So I don't really discuss with most people. But with time, I've found a few people who have been in the same or similar situation as me. Overall, anyone who has experienced death of someone close - then those few who've already lost a parent, or an unexpected death like my dad's. I've found that you can really lean on those folks when you need to talk (a lot!) whether it's issues around the aftermath, other people, or just to reflect on some good things about your dad. I feel for you and things will gradually get better. Never perfect, but much better. Hang in there.

Yes, I am 25, way too young to lose a parent! I appreciate your reply Jennifer. Thank you and be well!

Jennifer C. said:

Hi Holly, I lost my Dad in May and at a fairly early age - I'm still in my 30's. A major obstacle for me is that simply most people my age don't understand - they haven't dealt with anything like this. (And it's really something you don't 'get' until you've been through it.) So I don't really discuss with most people. But with time, I've found a few people who have been in the same or similar situation as me. Overall, anyone who has experienced death of someone close - then those few who've already lost a parent, or an unexpected death like my dad's. I've found that you can really lean on those folks when you need to talk (a lot!) whether it's issues around the aftermath, other people, or just to reflect on some good things about your dad. I feel for you and things will gradually get better. Never perfect, but much better. Hang in there.

Dear Holly,

     It seems that "friends" would be the ones calling you.  However, the problem is that most likely they have no idea what you are going through or what they can do to help. Worse, they have no idea what to say, so they just say nothing at all - they feel awkward and uncomfortable. You are needing what the Bible calls a "true companion" (Proverbs 17:17) A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress."
     Talking can be a helpful release. Following the death of all ten of his children, as well as some other personal tragedies, the ancient patriarch Job said: “My soul certainly feels a loathing toward my life. I will give vent to my concern about myself. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul!” (Job 1:2, 18, 19; 10:1) {vent = loose in Hebrew} Job could no longer restrain his concern. He needed to let it loose; he had to “speak.” Similarly, Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth: “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”

     So talking about your feelings to “a true companion” who will listen patiently and sympathetically can bring a measure of relief. Putting experiences and feelings into words often makes it easier to understand them and to deal with them. And if the listener is another bereaved person who has effectively dealt with his or her own loss, you may be able to glean some practical suggestions on how you can cope. When her child died, one mother explained why it helped to talk to another woman who had faced a similar loss: “To know that somebody else had gone through the same thing, had come out whole from it, and that she was still surviving and finding some sort of order in her life again was very strengthening to me.”

     Since you seem to find yourself without the support you need, from your friends, please consider me a person you can turn to. You can email me at mawmaw1591@gmail.com  You might choose to keep a journal. Committing your thoughts and feeling to paper, communicating your feelings can help you to release your grief. Following the death of Saul and Jonathan, David composed a highly emotional dirge in which he poured out his grief. This mournful composition eventually became part of the written record of the Bible book of Second Samuel. (2 Samuel 1:17-27; 2 Chronicles 35:25) Similarly, some find it easier to express themselves in writing. One widow reported that she would write down her feelings and then days later read over what she had written. She found this a helpful release.
     I believe that our greatest help comes from God and his promises.  How do you feel? Are there scriptures that you find comforting? Please share your thoughts...

     Listening - Consider yourself hugged,

     Brenda

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