A Pity Party

skyGrief clients often tell me they fear they are having a “pity party” or are “feeling sorry for themselves.” Perhaps they are being self-centered or seeking attention, they wonder, or maybe they are lingering in their grief and should be feeling better by now. Many feel pressure, real or imagined, from others to feel better quickly.

Most of those who worry they are feeling sorry for themselves are people who are not used to being self-focused or getting attention from others. They are typically caregivers, not care receivers.

Many clients are relieved when I suggest that grief is similar to the flu in the way grief turns their energy inwards. I remind them that even the best caregiver cannot give to others when he or she has the flu. If you are grieving and a caring person who can not give to others right now, know you are feeling sorrow, not sorry for yourself.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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