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Managing grief without your attachment person

learningtofeel posted 5/16/2020 12:28 PM

Despite the many problems in my marriage, it wasn't all awful, and I could count on my STBXH in times when I had something really bad happen and needed his support. He liked being "needed" that way, and would step it up if I asked.

In my job I supervise a number of employees. This week I had to give most of them the news that they will be going on furlough starting in a few days, due to budget shortfalls from COVID-19. Furlough is not layoff - we will bring them back, and my organization will continue to pay for their benefits - but it still sucks. I shed a lot of tears, both with them in our (virtual) meetings and by myself afterwards.

I want to acknowledge that I'm grateful that I still have my job (for now). This is far worse for my furloughed colleagues than it is for me.

I'm writing because it has ben so hard not to have an attachment person to share this with. I have friends and family, of course, but it's not the same as having a partner. So I'm telling all of you. I know you will understand that it's not only the grief of having to furlough staff you care about and value (or of being furloughed), but it's the grief of having to do so in the context of a separation and divorce and all that sense of loss, and not having a stable partner to share it with.

My first thoughts after delivering the bad news were, "I want to talk to STBXH!" (No worries, friends, I did not!) I realized that I wanted that close emotional care, and a physical hug. It's just hard.

For those who have been laid off or furloughed, I'm so, so sorry for your losses. And I'm sending you virtual hugs and support.

Thanks for listening.

NeverTwice posted 5/16/2020 12:48 PM

Hi Learning,

I so identify with this. I am a bisexual woman and my GF of 6 years had a six month long affair I discovered by walking on them. And we did not reconcile - I couldn't. But I so missed having her to talk to when things were getting stressful at work. When I was feeling so down and depressed.

But you may be as lucky as I was. I met the partner of my dreams 2 years later and he and I were married 32 years before cancer took him away from me two months ago. And, after truly experiencine what unconditional love was, will never settle for anything else.

betrayedafter20 posted 5/16/2020 22:26 PM

Dear Learning -
I know exactly what you mean. this is so hard and I am so sorry you are having to shoulder this "alone" and while I know you have friends that probably support but it is not the same.

I too am struggling with who will be "my person" when the S hits the fan and that person that really understood is no longer the appropriate person to confide those things to.

Even after DDay - I needed WH to comfort me - even though he was the cause of the trauma!!! so messed up - but like you, he's been my best friend for 25 years - it of course is natural to go to them for comfort!

I don't have the answer yet - we are still "confiding" in each other somewhat even though I am trying to emotionally distance myself (still new, he just moved out Thursday).

My mom will likely not make it through the year so I know I will be counting on his support when the time comes. Wrong, probably. But only he will understand and despite his selfish tendencies and infidelity - I know he will be there for that.

MANY will disagree with me here but your timetable for things like this is your own - if you are able to stay "friends" then, IDK, maybe that's okay for you, then why not - as my IC says "you will know the right time for each step" so maybe give yourself grace.

I think coming here is a good idea... Keep posting. ((hugs)) so sorry.

Hedwig posted 5/17/2020 08:55 AM

I understand you, learningtofeel. I think for a lot of us that is the hardest part of letting go of our WS's, they were people we could count on in the highs and lows of everyday life. Friends and family support as much as they can and we can be eternally grateful to them for that but it's still different. For me, missing that sense of companionship and partnership is the hardest thing. I am sorry you're going through this and you've had to tell those people they were being put om furlough. This covid-19 business puts added stress and anxiety to us, while we're already struggling with so much.

Betrayedafter2020, my WEXBF was the one who I went to for comfort after D-day as well. And he was there for me, he was my rock, even though it was hard for him to be confronted with the pain he caused (as it should!). Many may not agree with you relying on your WH for comfort with your mom, but in the end it's you who has to live your life. You sound like you're well aware of the pro's and cons and have made your decision with support from your IC. I think you can have peace with choosing whatever you choose. I'm sorry about your mom.

Summer1976 posted 5/17/2020 09:14 AM

That must have been so difficult and of course it would have meant a lot to have someone hug you after such a difficult conversation with your employees. But I think youíre a warrior. I am in awe of you. Be very proud you faced this alone. And, hug.

Bingo posted 5/18/2020 12:06 PM

Just the other day, I was working out in the yard and was confronted by a snake. How big was the snake, you ask?

Well, it was big enough that I felt like I needed to kill it..

So, I got a shovel and proceeded to cut various parts of its body off, but the sucker kept moving away from me. I finally got the head cut off, ...so take that, sucker!!

It's times like this that I really spiral. I got so mad that I was put in the position where I had to actually kill a snake. My XWH is supposed to be there for me and do this dirty deed, not me!

I tried to feel proud afterwards that I did it by myself, but the whole thing just creeped me out.

Just gotta rely on yourself, which sometimes ain't easy.....

learningtofeel posted 5/18/2020 12:51 PM

OMG Bingo - that's a great story! Good for you for getting that snake. And metaphorically, for the difficulty of getting the snakes in our lives to finally die.

Summer1976 - thank you, so much for your kind words.

Hedwig, Betrayedafter20 and NeverTwice - this is what makes SI so invaluable. Your posts help me through.

somanyyears posted 5/18/2020 13:16 PM

.@Bingo .and damn it, you SHOULD be proud of yourself..
Reminded me of the time my wife was alone while I was in the city and a "BAT" was in our bedroom. None of the cats stepped in to help so she had to deal with it! It landed on the curtains. Where she got the empty yogurt container, I don't know? ..but she trapped it, then slid some thin cardboard behind it. Meanwhile, the bat is flapping and banging inside.. she then transferred it to her chest, now she's got the container in one hand pressing the cardboard against herself.

She needed the other hand to open the bedroom door! She was freaked out feeling this bat beating against her chest as she carried it downstairs, through the house and outside!

I have to say... I was glad I wasn't there!

This virus isolation- distancing.. no hugs allowed is EXTREMELY contrary to our human nature .. hugging, kissing, holding hands.. and other stuff are very important to all people. Being denied that.. being touch deprived is bound to seriously affect one's state of mental health..

The weight you carry in your workplace is huge and even then, you can't hug them.

then add the emotional trauma of D/S on top..your central support person gone?? Holy F'n SHIT eh??

What next?? a tornado ripping through town?? I do not want to deal with losing a loved one, friend, neighbour or workmate. No way!!

I'm getting tired of 'virtual hugs' I 'NEED' the REAL thing.


[This message edited by somanyyears at 9:16 AM, May 23rd (Saturday)]

Muggle posted 5/18/2020 14:27 PM

We cling to what was familiar, the person that we thought would be our soulmate, our life. We naturally want to share things with them, at least subconsciously. We've suffered a great loss, separation and all the grief that comes with it.

They died as our best friends the day they plunged their lies, infidelity, and betrayal into our hearts causing us to stop breathing. We were reborn, as survivors, but the familiar memories linger.

Don't beat yourself up on this one. When someone dies we remember them, when we get burned by touching fire we have to remember to remind ourselves that we made a mistake, and not to do it again.

Resist the urge to seek his support, or comfort. Any "hug" he could give you would be artificial and detrimental to your healing.

Your attachment to him, and the need to reach out will slowly fade over time, as you learn to self soothe, and understand that he is NOT a comfort. He's a crutch, that your mind uses to try to fill in the gaps. Nothing good will come from it. The "comfort" will come at a cost to your well being.

I'm sending you a virtual hug. We all need interaction, a feeling that we are safe, and have someone to talk to. We need these things to feel healthy, and alive. Trust yourself, you need him like a submarine needs a screen door.

We are here to listen, always.

LadyG posted 5/19/2020 15:28 PM

I am grateful in a way that COVID lockdown has given me an excuse to hide myself away and not have to face my staff. Even speaking with them is hard. Especially when they ask, if Iím ok. I want to scream, NO, but I act like nothing new, nothing to see here, Iím fine, when I am dying inside.

My staff knew about the last A, Before I did.

On top of everything else, I am really grieving the loss of 2 beautiful, wonderful friends who passed last year.

This grief is for a lifetime or whatís left of it.

skeetermooch posted 5/23/2020 00:52 AM

Resist the urge to seek his support, or comfort. Any "hug" he could give you would be artificial and detrimental to your healing.

Your attachment to him, and the need to reach out will slowly fade over time, as you learn to self soothe, and understand that he is NOT a comfort. He's a crutch, that your mind uses to try to fill in the gaps. Nothing good will come from it. The "comfort" will come at a cost to your well being.

I needed to read this tonight. Thanks, Muggle.

I've continually made the mistake of reaching to my STBX in times of need and nothing good comes of it. It feels good in the moment and then pain follows as usual.

I need to figure out how to not have a best friend.

traicionada posted 5/23/2020 05:58 AM

This is far worse for my furloughed colleagues than it is for me
Please donít minimize your feelings; your suffering is real Most important, it compounded by the collective grief of everyone you had to deliver bad news to How can we help you to deal with this? Virtual hugs? Prayers? You name it and weíll start cracking

Maudlin posted 5/23/2020 09:01 AM

Super get it. My dad died about 6 months post D Day. Not only was my person not there, he was shitty about it and yelled at me when I asked if he could take some time off while I was gone. Never said a word to my mom, his MIL of over 20 years.

But honestly? He was never there for me. His first time cheating (maybe, I believe nothing now) I had massive post partum depression after our youngest was born. He fucked Thai hookers because well, he was in Thailand and he could.

The worst is how disgusting I feel having given him so many years. What a waste on someone so pathetic.

learningtofeel posted 5/23/2020 09:51 AM

Traicionada - thank you so much for your kind words. The responses on this thread have helped immensely. I also sent an email to each of my staff telling them how much I appreciate them and their contributions (this was about how much work there is to be done and not them personally), and they responded with graciousness, and that made me feel better too.

And you all are so right that even the supposed care I would have received is all wrapped up in all the rest of the illusion. I was reminded of that this week because we had a mediation meeting (by Zoom) and I found it was so much easier to keep my own solid self and observe him being himself, rather than getting sucked back into our patterns where he foists hard decisions off on me and then complains that he wasn't consulted or included. I was able to hold my ground and he had to say out loud to the mediator what he wanted or didn't want, and I said what I wanted. THAT is a new way of interacting for us!

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