Guilt and Grief


Many people I speak to when they are grieving a pet, have a sense of Guilt around the Loss. Guilt is the feeling that we have done something wrong, the “if only’s and what if’s “ creep into our thoughts. Guilt implies we Intended to cause harm. Within the 5 stages of grief, Guilt comes up as part of bargaining. The ‘What if’s and if only’s’, or the ‘could haves, would haves or should haves’. If you look at the dictionary definition of Guilt: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime. The intent to cause harm to another. Our pets are as dependent on us, if not more so, than children. And I’m sure you would not do anything to INTEND TO CAUSE THEM HARM. Did we do something wrong? ⚖️ Mistakes happen. Animals live in the moment, and they don’t necessarily know what is good or bad for them. ... it wasn’t my intention for this to happen. I ‘should have’ been more careful. ‘If only’ I had protected him better... We are already in pain over loosing them, why do we have to add to that pain by feeling worse with guilt? Guilt is nasty and it eats you away. Please allow yourself to Forgive. Forgiveness can mean accepting that we may have done something we regret, but finding new attitude and perspective toward ourselves in relation to that action. It doesn’t mean we forget, but means we find a way to move forward. So how can we move forward? * Acknowledge that the feeling of guilt is a side effect of grief. * Examine your thoughts, is the Feeling of guilt rational? is it about control, or lack of control? * Talking it over with trusted family members or friends that understand the bond you had with your pet. *Consider joining a Pet Loss Support Group. I run a monthly session with Lawnswood and Passing Paws, and I can recommend 2 very supportive groups on Facebook: Pet Grief & Loss Support (Heavenly Pets), and Pet Loss Grief and Terminal Illness Support Group. * Forgiveness. Accepting that regretfully, a mistake was made, or an accident occurred. It may or may not have been preventable. Consider what your pet would say to you? Would he Blame you for what happened? Somehow, I doubt they would 💕


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