If you are looking to stay miserable, upset and frustrated with the problem you’re facing, the best thing for you to do is to complain about it. Complaining is THE #1 way not to solve a problem. In fact, complaining is diametrically opposed to solving a problem. Even worse, complaining has you convinced that you are solving your problem. Complaining is quite the hoodwinker. Continue reading
Articles by Elizabeth Kupferman
Usually when we think about the phoenix, we think about the rising from the ashes part. It’s such a powerful symbol of hope.Recently, I found myself sitting in the ashes – covered in soot. There’s a quote that pops into my head at these times from Marianne Williamson’s phenomenal A Return to Love that goes something like ” the only thing worse that having to say “Oh God, I can’t believe I did that” is having to say, “Oh God, I can’t believe I did that…..Again.” Yes, this trip to the ashes was my own doing. Continue reading
Whether you have actual or existential survivor’s guilt, it usually comes in the form of a question like, “Why am I allowed to live while the person who died does not?” It’s a fair question, but the tendency is to stop there. To just live with the question and let it haunt you and torment you is not fair.Some will punish themselves with it for the rest of their lives. That’s really sad and no way to live or honor the person that died. The more courageous challenge is to actually answer the question. Continue reading
We all know we are supposed to count our blessings and all that jazz, blah blah blah. We’ve heard it all before. Gratitude Shmaditude. But this is science, ya’ll. Not some woo woo, you’ll feel good if you keep a gratitude journal and don’t forget to draw hearts all around it – this is the real deal. Check out this research. Continue reading
“I’ll Never Trust Anyone Again!!!” We’ve all said it. Usually, it’s cried out dramatically in tears while running to our bed (the hand on the forehead is optional) or right before we take our hit of Ben and Jerry’s ready … Continue reading
If you have the need to please, say yes, over-help, over-do, over-gift, over-compliment, make nice and all that crap we’ve been socialized to do, the jig is about to be up. But, what I’ve noticed lately is that women talk about being a pleaser almost as a point of pride or as something that they have no power or control over. You may have even gotten so comfortable with your status as a pleaser that you announce with a ho-hum attitude or maybe even a flair, exclaiming that indeed, “I’m a pleaser!” I’ve also heard things like, “I can’t help it, I’m a pleaser!,” and “I’m such a pleaser!” Continue reading
External adjustments are the actual physical things that you have to do now that the death has happened that you didn’t have to do before.
One of the painful parts of grieving is when the people who you thought could be there for you let you down. One of the ways they do this is by lobbing a disgusting platitude at you. Platitudes are grief equivalents of getting a pie in the face. “Oh, you’re grieving? You’re in the worst pain in your life? Well, how about you look on the bright side, I have pie! Not happy yet? Well, let me smash it in your face and that should do the trick.” Continue reading
This is Part 2 of a 6 Part Series on the Tasks of Mourning by J. William Worden. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean YOU have to think about DOING the tasks. I believe that your psychological immune system is already hard at work doing these tasks.
If I were to ask you to show me a picture of someone processing the pain of grief, my guess is that you show me a picture of a woman crying. Don’t feel bad because this stereotype was socialized into you. This is why you are out there on your own right now, because our society didn’t teach you shit about who grieves (everyone does except sociopaths – even some animals grieve) and how grief impacts us. Continue reading
This is Part 1 of a 6 Part Series on the Tasks of Mourning by J. William Worden. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean YOU have to do more work. I believe that your psychological immune system is already hard at work doing these tasks without your help. (Disclaimer: That is not how Dr. Worden presents them, it’s how I think of them!!).
It seems straight forward, right? You know he’s dead or you were with her when she died. But even when it happens and you witness it with your own eyes, there is this weird feeling like it didn’t happen. That truth that he or she actually died is so shocking to our system that our psyche has a hard time making it real. Continue reading
You really, really don’t need to worry about how you’re grieving. You can’t get it wrong. Grief is simply your reaction to your loss. Let’s say that one more time. Grief is your reaction to your loss. What does that mean?
It means that you don’t need to give a fuck about what anyone else thinks about how you are grieving. Are they obsessed about your reaction to the last movie you saw? How about to your reaction last birthday? I know these are ridiculous questions, but what I’m trying to help you see is that grief is your personal reaction or response and no one else in the world will have that exact response because it’s yours and yours alone. Grief is a ongoing and evolving personal experience not an event or a thing that is predictable or that someone can judge any more than they should judge your personal experience of the steak you ate last night. Continue reading
There is surviving or there is thriving.
There is keeping busy or there is experiencing your life.
There is post-traumatic stress or there is post-traumatic growth.
There is getting bitter or there is getting better. Continue reading
If you want to figure out why you’re having such a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, why you’re forgetting appointments or your keys – AGAIN and why you can’t concentrate for shit, you need to … Continue reading
Some think the sickness, accident, death or trauma was the most challenging part. Others might think the grieving and living without him or her is. Who are we kidding? It’s all a complete and total nightmare.
But, what’s interesting is somehow we know how to survive the worst. We instinctively know how to dig in deep and just fucking get through it. We know how to shut down if we need to and we have our lifelong coping mechanisms. We all have our own ways of zoning out avoiding our feelings and the terrifying reality of our situation. But learning how to live just might be the most challenging part. Continue reading
That resonates doesn’t it? Yet, we’ve been told to move on and to get over it and worst of all “get closure” (as if that was a thing). We’ve been fed lies. And in our vulnerable and hurt state, believed them.
But, I’m going to tell you the truth. You Will Never Get Over It. The reason this resonates with you is because truth resonates.
Now, let me tell you why you will never get over it. It’s because you are not a computer with a freaking delete key, that’s why. But, let’s take it deeper than that, how can you ever get over having a mother or father? How can you move on from having a child or a spouse or a brother or sister? You can’t. It doesn’t even make any sense. Our relationships make us who we are and when they die, they don’t take that part of us with them (Hedke & Winslade, 2004). Continue reading
Most therapists don’t get any training on the psychology of grief and loss while they are learning to become counselors, yet almost all therapist list grief as service they provide clients and I think that’s misleading. While they may be experienced in comforting you while you’re in pain, I’m thinking you might want a bit more that that because a safe friend and confidant can do that and she will do it for free. Continue reading
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do” is one of my all-time favorite quotes. Eleanor Roosevelt was talking about looking fear in the face and she’s talking to you too. You must heal, forgive, release the dysfunctional pattern or relationship, get clean from your addiction, start taking care of yourself and figure out what you want and who you are. Continue reading
You can also stop looking to a “someday” when you are skinny enough, rich enough, smart enough, talented enough or when you know all the right people or have all the right letters behind your name. Your Amazing Life isn’t going to be mocked by your low-self esteem. Continue reading
Grieving takes a tremendous amount of energy, especially during that first eighteen months. I am constantly reminding my grieving clients that their psyches are working really hard because they have a tendency to forget the simple notion that the act of grieving is hard, exhausting work. Continue reading
On October 5, 2012 I appeared on the Blogtalk radio show “Think Zink” with Sarah Zink where we discussed grieving when the loss you suffered was traumatic as a part of our series called “The Kaleidoscope of Grief.” These are … Continue reading
On September 7th I appeared on the Blogtalk radio show “Think Zink” with Sarah Zink where we discussed grief work and the Tasks of Mourning as a part of our series called “The Kaleidoscope of Grief.” These are some notes from our discussion (with added explanations and examples). I’ve also embedded a link to the show, which is also available for download from iTunes. Continue reading
When you are moving in the direction of what you hope for, you start to get excited – you’re all set for the change and are ready to enjoy all the fabulousness of your new life. And there is silence…….just … Continue reading
Most people have it backwards – they believe if they get thin enough, rich enough, have the right job, right relationship or the right degree, then they will be worthy. It’s actually the opposite – when you feel worthy, then those things that you hope for have an easier time coming to you. However, there are some things that you may have tried in vain to change that frustrate you to no-end! You went for your goal – full out – but still, what you hoped for eluded you. You got frustrated, disgusted and mad at yourself. You felt as though you were back to square one (or worse) and you couldn’t figure out what went wrong. Continue reading
Before you are able to get your Guarantee (as described in part 1) it is important to understand exactly what “Hope” is. I like the definition of Hope that comes from C.R. Snyder who describes it not as an emotion but as the combination of three different cognitive processes. I found Snyder’s work in Brene Brown’s excellent book The Gifts of Imperfection. Continue reading
We are not supposed to go through the motions of life. We are supposed to fully live it with all of our heart and you – whoever you are – no matter how lost, lonely and afraid you are – no matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you – no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed – no matter who you’ve lost – no matter how much pain you carry – no matter what – you still get to Hope and What You Hope for – deep, deep down inside – is Guaranteed. There are no exceptions. Continue reading
One of the first things I tell new counseling or coaching clients is my favorite word because it has magical psychological powers. That magical word is AND. You might be thinking that it is a lame favorite word, but it really has some magical properties AND you need to know them because using it more often can bring you more peace, insight, problem solving powers, self-love and relief. Continue reading
It’s a pet peeve of mine when I hear someone call somebody else “too sensitive.” It is never meant is a compliment, which is ironic given that it is sensitivity that makes us the empathetic, warm, caring, compassionate people that we are. It’s even more ridiculous because the person calling the other person “too sensitive” is usually getting so many wonderful perks from being in a relationship with that sensitive person. Continue reading
If you have a hard time trusting, then it might be because someone violated your trust when you were young. Maybe it was your parents…or another family member…or someone else who was important to you at the time. On the March 11th episode of Heart 2 Heart, Elizabeth and Michelle discuss trust: how you can identify trustworthy people and then build trusting relationships with them. See the attached blog post for Elizabeth’s commentary and additional show notes. Continue reading
“The Real Apology” is a three part apology originally proposed by Randy Pausch in his “Last Lecture.” When you offer a “Real Apology” you don’t just say you’re sorry — you also take full responsibility for what you said or did and offer to do something to make it up to the person you are apologizing to. Continue reading
On the February 25 episode of Heart 2 Heart, Elizabeth and Mary McBryde discuss a letter from a listener who feels a little taken for granted by a friend she is trying to help through a bad breakup. They also discuss about the consequences of choosing to be right instead of choosing to be happy when we feel as if we’ve been wronged. Continue reading
In this week’s episode we talked about whether some people are predisposed to codependency and whether or not a lot of codependent behavior might simply be caused by a lack of communication. Continue reading
There are crucial differences between caretaking and caregiving and you will notice, the healthier the relationship, the more you are caregiving than caretaking. I see caretaking and caregiving on a continuum. We usually are not one or the other. The goal is to do as much caregiving as we are able to and decrease our caretaking as we can. Caretaking is a dysfunctional, learned behavior that can be changed. We want to change it because we will experience more peace, more contentment and more fulfilling relationships if we do. The people in your life may resist your healthier actions, but modeling caregiving is a huge gift you are giving your loved ones. Continue reading
I often hear people qualify their days after experiencing a death or other loss as good or bad based on whether or not they cried with the crying days being the “bad” ones. I don’t look at it that way. I see crying a good and positive thing and a healthy person’s response to emotional pain as well as a necessary part of the grieving process*. Continue reading
When we think about trusting someone, we tend to think of it in terms of all or nothing. Either we trust this person or we don’t. We trust ourselves or we don’t. We trust that we will be taken care of or we don’t. I label trust that is black and white like that “unhealthy trust.” We think it’s like a switch we can turn on or off on a whim. It’s not. And if you change the way you think about trust and learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy trust, you will save yourself a lot of heartache because trust is at the core of all of our relationships. Continue reading
I will agree that we need time to grieve and mourn, but it is not time that does the job of healing. If we do not do the necessary grief work (accepting the reality of the loss, experiencing the pain, making the necessary adjustments and creating meaning from the loss), we will end up with what Alan Wolfelt calls “carried grief.” Carried grief is when you do not mourn your loss and take the pain with you into everyday of your life. Continue reading
We’ve all heard that communication is an important factor in relationships. We know this, but why is it so hard? I believe it is because there are three obstacles we face in achieving goal to better our communication. Continue reading
We simply cannot live our potential while we are harboring resentments against ourselves and others. But, it’s important to know that the practice of forgiveness is actually an act of self-interest and not about another person at all. Continue reading
In my work as a grief counselor, I have found that while many of my clients already know the stages of grief, it does not seem to be enough for them. The stages are something that happens to you. They aren’t something that can be controlled or predicted. Most people find that not only do the stages not occur in the “right order,” but more than one can be experienced at the same time and it is likely that one or more of them are not experienced at all. Continue reading
You are living out one of most people’s greatest fear. This is why some of your closest friends or family might be acting standoffish or even disappear. They don’t mean to be mean or neglectful, but it doesn’t hurt any less. Many times they want to be there for you but simply don’t know how. However, if you let them, there are people in your life who can be there for you, champion you, stand by you and will not be afraid to talk about this or go through this fully with you. Continue reading
One of the most painful aspects of the grieving process can be loneliness. We expect to be sad, but the feeling of loneliness has its own and subtly different kind of pain. It can be unsettling and scary. What you need to know is that you are not alone in feeling these feelings. They are quite common in women. Continue reading
One of the feelings that I find difficult to explain to my clients is the sense of “feeling little” following a devastating loss. This is the “childlike terror” mention in the quote – it’s like we struggle to stay our adult selves – we feel lost and alone. We feel scared. Continue reading
“Disenfranchised grief” is when your heart is grieving but you can’t talk about or share your pain with others because it is considered unacceptable to others. It’s when you’re sad and miserable and the world doesn’t think you should be, either because you’re not “entitled” or because it isn’t “worth it.” Continue reading
One of the comforting things about being human is that we are both completely unique AND quite the same. This is true with physiological processes (like a physical wound) and emotional processes (such as grieving). Continue reading
Southlake/Colleyville therapist Elizabeth Kupferman is dedicated to helping women overcome depression, grief, and anxiety so they can find happiness and achieve their dreams.
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Elizabeth Kupferman, RN, LMHC, LPC
National Certified Counselor
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