Mean Lady Talking Podcast Episode Number 36B Show Notes


disengagementWelcome to the Mean Lady Talking Podcast!

In this episode, we’re talking about

Grief and Loss Part 2 of 3

Show Notes and Player for Episode 36B

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What’s in this podcast:

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Grief and Loss  

This Episode Covers Review and Relinquishment – the GREAT STRUGGLE BETWEEN WANTING TO HOLD ON AND NEEDING TO LET GO.


The middle part of grieving is Review and Relinquishment.  It is the painful, bit-by-bit letting go. 

00.30 Freud noted that the human relationship is inherently ambivalent

2:00 Even if you had a wonderful relationship, there are things you don’t like about someone. When you breakup a bad relationship, it’s not clear how you really feel.

3:00 The Relationship Inventory is designed as it is to take the ambivalence of the relationship into consideration.

3:30 When you are with a person who is personality disordered, it takes a lot to figure out what it is you like about them.  But people with personality disorders will be nice to you now and again and you will find some “good things” hard to let go of.

4:45 When someone has passed on, it’s hard to admit what you didn’t like about them. When you’ve broken up, it’s hard to admit what you DID like about them.

5:30 The manifestation of unresolved grief becomes very disordered behavior. We will be in chaotic relationships to avoid the grief we don’t know what to do with.

6:20 Eric Lindemann said that successful resolution of grief depends on committing to the work DESPITE the emotional upheaval. Holding on and seeing it through even when it’s difficult.  Freud recognized that life does not seem “real” or “normal” when you’re grieving, but it’s not a malady.

7:55 Eric Lindemann coined the phrase “grief work” to explain the effort that grief requires. He also spoke of delayed and distorted variants of grief.

9:00 Not having any reaction is also pathological.  However, Lindemann criticized western society for “giving credit” to people who are not having an outward grief reaction.

10:50 Charles Anderson studied soldiers coming back from the war and found that his participants were having crippling and debilitating depression.  This study was a forerunner of all studies on PTSD.

13:00 John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth look at detachment. Bowlby was determined to find out why DETACHING was so hard – by way of ATTACHMENT.  His child/mother/stranger studies became CENTRAL to attachment and mourning theory.

First the children will feel disbelief that they’ve been left, then an alarm reaction….they slowly came to understand that mother wasn’t coming back and the process was ON: they started to feel very anxious when they couldn’t find their mother. They start to have emotional distress with crying and other forms of protest.  Then the child starts to slide into resignation. They will hear a noise and PIPE UP and then they will go back to looking lifeless when the NOISE was NOT mother. The child becomes very hypersensitive to noises and as the noises are NOT mother, they start to slide into mourning.

17:15  You will see the mourning process happen in the child.  The affective state starts to become less and less as the child realizes that mother is not coming back. The psyche struggles between wanting to hold on and needing to let go.

18:45 The human mind will get you through loss if you do NOTHING but let the feelings come. Even though you feel horrible, it’s a normal and natural response to loss.

19:30 Bowlby and Ainsworth’s amazing work on attachment came directly from Freud’s theories on DETACHMENT.

21:00 Pathological attachment is directly connected to early attachments or lack of attachments.

22:00 Bowlby found that when attachment bonds are threatened, the system experiences grave distress.  The first response is to GET ATTACHMENT FIGURE BACK. If the attachment is avoidant or anxious, it is going to affect ALL attachment bonds throughout life.

23:30 Colin Murray Parkes talked about the fluidity of grief. The British widows in Parkes’ study had the SAME emotional reaction as Bowlby’s children.  And Konrad Lorenz who studied the Grey Lag Goose which mates for life, found the same response in the geese! But it has nothing to do with intellectual capacity.  The widows knew their husband had passed, yet they looked for their husbands in a crowd and started to call them on the phone….the same way the children looked for mother and the goose looked for his/her partner.  So intellectual understanding means NOTHING when the SEARCH mechanism kicks in.

26:30 Your mind is just playing the movie of your relationship. It is not making judgment calls on your relationship.

27:30 Colin Murray Parkes called grief a “blow,” and likened it to a physical wound.

28:45  In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis works through his grief process. There is a back-and-forth progression of grief.

30:00 Shutting off the grief. You have to get back to it.

31:00 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross on grief: “Grief will happen either as an open healing wound or a closed, festering wound.” If you don’t give up on grief, you can complete it. It’s never too late to resolve a loss. The consequences of NOT resolving grief are dire. UNREALITY.


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Podcast Credits:

Opening and closing music: Happy Empowering Soul by BlackSounds
Voice Over: Troy Hudson
Podcast Artwork by Alexenia

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About Susan J. Elliott

Author, Attorney, Grief Counselor, Media Commentator, Motivational Speaker, Relationship Expert, Breakup Coach BA English Mount Holyoke College, magna cum laude, High Honors, Phi Beta Kappa M.Ed., Counseling Psychology, Cambridge College J.D. University of California, Berkeley Licensed to practice law in federal and state courts in NY. Licensed but Inactive in Texas and District of Columbia Creator of the Getting Past Your Past and Getting Past Your Breakup programs, seminars, workshops, bootcamps, videos, blogs and podcasts Author of Getting Past Your Breakup, Getting Back Out There and the GPYP Workbook
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