Monday, 1 February 2016

Withdrawing after loss

Jjiraffe wrote an interesting post about relationships and her social life, in which she wrote the phrase: “I just kind of withdrew and recharged.

It is easy to feel vulnerable and weak when we withdraw. I felt as if I was hiding, as if I was a coward, I questioned whether I was wallowing in my grief, and I spent a lot of time beating myself up for feeling different.

Yet now, having been taught by wise people like Sarahg (see my previous post if you haven't already), I know that it is far more accurate to say that what I actually did was withdraw to take care of myself, and protect myself from the world. In doing that, I too was able to recharge. By changing my perspective, by showing myself some compassion, I experience compassion, and I'm better able to show it to someone else. That change of perspective was (and still is) empowering.

Like jjiraffe, I don’t regret withdrawing and recharging - in fact, I am glad I did.


17 comments:

  1. I so agree that there are times we simply need protection from the world. Other people don't realize (or perhaps don't understand) and we need to take care of ourselves.

    There is a lovely Buddhist meditation of Loving Kindness. It starts wit sending it to yourself, then goes out from there. I think of this being sort of like that.

    illustr8d

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  2. In 3 months' time,I have to go with my husband to his family reunion.The last time we went,was in 2012,a week after our wedding.In the (nearly) 4 years since then,3 of his cousins had babies,along with his sister.

    And here we are,still childless after 2 miscarriages.We are in the process of making peace with a childfree life,and it's mostly going ok,but situations like this reunion make me want to crawl onto my couch and lock the door to everyone and everything outside the door.My husband is the opposite way,he likes to spend as much time with others as possible.I just want to be alone.

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  3. It is important to go inside. It is important to come back out again.
    Here's to re-charging.

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  4. I can so relate to withdrawing and taking care of myself. A couple of years ago, I pretty much had to cut everything out of my life that I didn't have to do (e.g., work) and withdraw within myself for a while. I'm finally starting to come out of it and I'm really liking it. The pain is still there (on some level it probably always will be), but I think I'm past the visceral part of grief where sometimes even breathing hurt (at least most of the time) and I've moved on to the part where it still colors my everyday life and gives me a gut punch out of nowhere every now and again, but mostly I'm ok and I'm reemerging into the world. :)

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  5. I always said, "It is not an act of selfishness, but yet an act of self preservation". Sometimes when we withdraw others thing that they have done something wrong, or that we aren't thinking of others. But I think it's important to remember that sometimes people just need time to recover and re-charge in order to preserve the person they truly are for the long haul.

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  6. I go through regular cycles of withdrawing and then coming out again. As a true introvert - I really need it to get by. It helps me put everything into perspective and deal with my emotions surrounding IF. Take care of yourself!

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  7. I think there's a definite sort of view that extroversion is good/the norm (certainly in American culture, where I'm from - I don't know if it's the same in New Zealand). As an introvert, I really need the withdrawal at times to figure out life. Sometimes a particular thing is just too raw to be subjected to the less than careful handling the outside world tends to give it.

    I'm glad you were able to give yourself the time you needed.

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  8. I am a huge introvert, so the cycle of withdrawing and returning is a familiar one, even when not in times of crisis. Sometimes I just find life piles up.

    One of my clearest memories after we lost the baby was going out for lunch with work colleagues who were also friends who didn't know I had been pregnant. I remember sitting there thinking I just wasn't ready to function in this kind of situation.

    It is hard when we are supposed to be "over" things according to someone else's timetable. I'm glad you took the time to take the space you needed.

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  9. I mentally feel a difference when I'm cocooning and will emerge stronger and better, and retreating or withdrawing, which feels like I'm cutting myself off from the world. I try to cocoon when I need to pull back. I'm not always successful :-)

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  10. Agreeing with you and all above. It's natural to withdraw when healing. It's needed both to conserve strength for this process and also to help reset/rest. Without it, we tend to not heal properly.

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  11. Withdrawing and recharging is also a regular part of my life. I need to every so often, step back, process and re-energise before stepping out into life again.

    That wild ride to childlessness took a lot of withdrawing and recharging before I was ready to start living again.

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  12. You have definitely tapped into something Here. And I agree too - sometimes we need to be somewhere quiet and still in order to gain our bearings again after loss. I haven't seen this phase listed in the famous stages of grief, but it seems as if "retreat" might be a common stage too? Thanks for this post - it makes me feel understood. :)

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  13. I love being with people most of the time, but I do need to withdraw on a regular basis to recharge and regroup. Once upon a time, I used to have weekends away from my spouse - he thought it was strange, but it was so lovely to not to have to think about anybody else but myself, I could operate under my own schedule and take a break from others expectations.

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  14. I think I've become an expert at withdrawing and recharging. Especially since being laid off. :p ;) Getting back out into society again, though -- sometimes I think I need a bit of a push. ;) I love what Middle Girl says above about how it's important to go inside, but it's important to come out again too. ;) Thanks for this food for thought!

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  15. There is a part of me -- usually it's my subconcious -- that knows when I need to withdraw. I only become aware of it when guilt starts to take hold ...

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  16. Withdrawing and recharging... I love this description, so much better than wallowing away. You need that time to grieve and be alone with your thoughts and your losses so that you can recharge. Jiraffe is so wise! And I'm so glad you also got your recharging time, too. Sometimes it's just too much to bear to be around others while oozing grief, you need that solitary time to sort through it all.

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