When No One Understands: Communication & Grief


Communication. It is the foundation of every relationship and every interaction we have – and we all know it. Good communication leads to connection, along with a better understanding of ourselves and each other. Bad communication can result in anger, hurt feelings, misunderstandings and fractured relationships. Comparing the two it seems that we would all choose to have good and clear communication with those we are closest to, but it doesn’t often work out that way.

Communication can be hard even when life is good.

Sharing how we feel makes us feel vulnerable. We may worry about hurting someone’s feelings, making them angry, or coloring their perception of us. Perhaps we assume that words aren’t even needed. That those in our inner circle already know what we need, think, and feel.

So imagine how hard this can be in life after significant loss. In the support groups I facilitate we spend a lot of time (and I mean A LOT of time!) talking about “other people”. Close and distant family, friends, coworkers…all of whom seem to make a griever’s life more challenging at one point or another. And mostly it comes down to a lack of open and honest communication about life, death, grief, and loss.

At some point through this grief journey you have probably felt or thought the phrase I so often hear…”no one understands”. But why is it so hard for people to be supportive when we need them most? And what options are there to improve this very troubling consequence of loss?

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