Understanding Grief: Still the most off-limits topic? (Grief Myths)

More than 30 years ago, in a speech, John W. James, Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute said, “Grief is the most off-limits topic for conversation in the English-speaking Western World.” A quarter of a century later, with more than 500,000 copies of our books in homes and libraries, we’d love to tell you that has changed. But it wouldn’t be the whole truth. In this series of articles, understanding grief and the myths about grief are our main goals.

Yes,  the word “grief” is sprinkled throughout conversations now and then, and yes, the media refer to “grief counsellors” being brought in when there’s a tragedy in the news, but the actual topic of grief, or people’s reaction to loss and what to do about it, is still off-limits.  


That’s the question that keeps us up at night. In a world where almost nothing is off-limits anymore, where what used to be regarded as the most private of thoughts and feelings are now revealed openly on talk shows, why is grief still spoken of in hushed tones, or not talked about at all? Sadly, we think we know the answer. In our resources and speeches we refer to the six myths about grief that limit us in our ability to deal with the inevitable losses that affect our lives. Those myth not only affect our grief, but equally important, they keep us from recovery or completion of what was left emotionally unfinished for us when someone important to us dies, or we get divorced, or when we’re impacted by any of the 40 other life events that can produce feelings of grief.

Understanding Grief: The grief myths are…

  • Don’t Feel Bad
  • Replace the Loss
  • Grieve Alone
  • Grief Just Takes Time
  • Be Strong and Be Strong for Others
  • Keep Busy

We’re not going to go into detail about those myths here, we just want you to start thinking about them with a critical eye as to whether or not they are true, and whether or not they help you. Over the next six blogs, we’ll explain them in some detail and why they may be keeping you from dealing effectively with the losses that have affected your life. You can read part 1 of this series by clicking here.  

If you found this article and videos helpful, you can download our FREE eBook on the Myths About Grief below and we suggest you read The Best Grief Definition You Will Find or visit our grief articles to search for topics of interest.  You can also subscribe to our grief blog to receive new articles as they are published.

Source: Russell Friedman GRM 1 Feb 2013



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