Emotional Overload and T.M.I.

There are so many ways child loss impacts relationships!

Some of the people you think will stand beside you for the long haul either never show up or disappear right after the funeral.

Some people you never expected to hang around not only come running but choose to stay.

And every. single. relationship. gets more complicated.  

When your heart is shattered, there are lots of sharp edges that end up cutting you and everyone around you.  It’s pretty much inevitable that one or more relationships will need mending at some point.

I know I said (still say!) things that wound others.  Most of the time it’s because I’m distracted or hurting myself and my mouth begins speaking before my brain is fully engaged.  Sometimes, though, it’s because I’m in pain and (frankly!) I want to transfer some of that pain to someone else.

Misery DOES love company!

Often other people in my life will say or do things that wound me.  Some of the folks are part of my inner grief circle and I know that it’s unintentional or they are having a pain-filled day like I am.

A few are extended family members who are either blissfully unaware of the ongoing pain and drama of child loss or are too caught up in their own lives to give it a thought.

Some of them are friends who think by now I should have toughened up and are no longer willing to extend extra grace and try harder to be tender.

Sometimes it’s acquaintances or strangers who don’t have a clue.

Whenever someone pierces my armor and inflicts pain, I have a choice:  Do I suck it up and take it or do I say something and try to reconcile?

There are days when I feel strong enough to just overlook it.  But I know if it represents a pattern, sooner or later the pressure will build and I’m going to blow.  And that’s not good for either one of us.

couple fighting

There are days when I absolutely, positively have to address it.  That’s when I need to be careful of overloading another heart with too much information (TMI).  See, it’s easy to make one person the target for all my strong feelings.  It’s easy to do an emotional and informational “dump” on whoever happens to be handy or whoever is the least intimidating.

That’s unfair and unhelpful-for them and for me.  

So when I decide to open my mouth and address a specific situation with a specific person, I need to keep my margins clean and only say the things that pertain to THAT instance.  I can’t bring up every single thing the person has done in the past or things that they haven’t said or done but which have made me more sensitive to certain words or actions.  I don’t need to burden them with all the details of MY bad day or week or month.

Instead I should talk about my own feelings in relationship to them and their actions or words. 

“I feel like _________when you say________” gives vent to my emotion without accusing another heart.  I need to leave room for them to share what they were/are thinking and feeling too.  It can’t be one-way conversation if I hope to have a two-way relationship.  

i statments graphic

Any stressful life circumstance makes us all more vulnerable to offense.  And child loss is certainly stressful.  It’s stressful in ways others can’t see or comprehend.  It alters the way a parent sees and experiences the world.

It makes everything harder.  

Relationships included.  

I want to be full of love, grace and mercy, not overrun with bitterness, anger and offense. 

So I have to be mindful of what I say, how much I say and when I choose to say it.

young man thought bubble

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

10 thoughts on “Emotional Overload and T.M.I.”

  1. Yes, it is so very hard to navigate relationships after losing your child. I am 4 years in and feel like I don’t really have anyone that I can share my feelings with anymore. I was blessed with many people supporting me after Caitlin’s accident, but now people have moved on with their lives and expect that I should as well. I feel uncomfortable sharing my ongoing pain (yes, it is definitely better now, but will alway be there) and feel as though they don’t want to be burdened with my hurt. It is so tiring having to keep it inside and putting on the happy face when sometimes you just aren’t feeling it, but don’t want to take the chance of dragging everyone down.


  2. This article and the comments have helped me feel “normal”. Thank you. I used to be able to articulate my feelings easily and communicate affectively, but now with so.much.to.navigate….it’s overwhelming and I simply don’t share. When I am asked to share, my response is usually “it’s just too complicated and complex”. I don’t even know where to begin, so I don’t. Instead, I shut down. I have lost so many friends because I’m no longer who I used to be. I keep to my immediate family, which is hard because they are grieving too. ThelifeIdidntchoose has become a life line for me…thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I feel this same way. I do not see me moving on. A therapist and support group helps for that moment and then other times I do not what to talk at all. It has been 7 months since my sons accident happened. I have lost interest in life itself. I do try to do some things, bits and pieces. Always tired no energy only tears.


  3. It hurt so bad people love to gossip- they would say that it was drugs, suicide etc. Finally, I brought a copy of the toxicology and slammed it down and said I only pray you never have to read your babies autopsy, but check out the toxicology- no cocaine, narcotics, drugs, not even marijuana or caffeine! I dare y’all to pass a test!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My heart hurts for yours. I’m so sorry people added additional pain to your heavy burden. People are often inconsiderate and sometimes cruel. May the Lord meet you and strengthen you. ❤️


  4. I wonder sometimes if this is why I’ve quit talking. I find myself giving short answers and sometimes don’t say anything at all. (Which seems to annoy everyone just as much as saying too much). It’s been 3 years and two months since my oldest died and instead of things getting “easier” I find life and relationships take so much energy that sometimes it’s easier to just avoid – others, outings, celebrations etc…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you’ve hit it on the head. When I’m feeling most vulnerable, I give shorter answers too. It’s easier and conserves what little emotional energy I may have at that moment. I try to force myself to go more places than I would naturally go so I don’t fall into a pattern of isolation. But like you, I stay away from many as well. Praying that the Lord meets you where you are and gives you what you need each day. ❤


    2. Reading your post and also the comments is making me think about my reactions. I am a great talker and have sometimes thought that one thing that would further devastate my life would be if for some reason I lost the power of speach. I am sure that perhaps people around me, including family and friends have on occassions wished for a zip on my mouth 😉
      I do find, like Nichole I now often find I do not want to speak. What I really need to say is too painful to share when everyone is expecting me to be the lively, “strong” one. When everyone around me is so used to me supporting them. When their pain surfaces in angry outbursts but my angry outburt is just me being unreasonable.
      Yes perhaps my mouth needs zipping!

      Liked by 1 person

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