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Author Topic: Helping someone with grief and anger  (Read 1173 times)

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Helping someone with grief and anger
« on: February 07, 2019, 01:10:42 pm »
I'm not certain how to ask what I'm asking.

I am a complete beginner when it comes to these things, as my background is Christian. It turns out some of the things I've done my whole life apparently fall under the realm of "folk magic" but I certainly didn't know our family traditions as that or call them as such.

My husband is going through a terrible time emotionally. He is struggling with grief, anger, and depression; understandably so after a terrible loss in his life.

Normally I would just say this grief is just something he needs to work through, but I'm concerned that he seems stuck. I have never seen him like this. Therapy did not help, so he stopped going. He is so very unhappy.

I'm praying for him every day during my morning ritual but I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do for him, energy wise, without crossing a boundary with his free will. Perhaps something as simple as preparing an herbal tea for him with specific intention (and if this is a good idea, can you help me understand how to fully use intention other than just wishing for it to help?). All ideas or thoughts are appreciated.


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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 06:37:59 pm »
I'm not certain how to ask what I'm asking.

I am a complete beginner when it comes to these things, as my background is Christian. It turns out some of the things I've done my whole life apparently fall under the realm of "folk magic" but I certainly didn't know our family traditions as that or call them as such.

My husband is going through a terrible time emotionally. He is struggling with grief, anger, and depression; understandably so after a terrible loss in his life.

Normally I would just say this grief is just something he needs to work through, but I'm concerned that he seems stuck. I have never seen him like this. Therapy did not help, so he stopped going. He is so very unhappy.

I'm praying for him every day during my morning ritual but I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do for him, energy wise, without crossing a boundary with his free will. Perhaps something as simple as preparing an herbal tea for him with specific intention (and if this is a good idea, can you help me understand how to fully use intention other than just wishing for it to help?). All ideas or thoughts are appreciated.

There may be things you can do to help him with ritual or magic, but I suspect for any of them to work, you'd have to talk to him about it--figure out as much information as you can about what's stopping him from working through his emotions, and make sure you know what it is he wants to do to help his situation. Magic is usually more successful when it aligns with existing intentions. So looping him in on your workings, even if he's not much of a magical/spiritual sort himself, could help.

In other words, the first step is to see if he wants to engage with magic or spirituality to help his situation.
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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 06:54:11 pm »
I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do for him, energy wise, without crossing a boundary with his free will. Perhaps something as simple as preparing an herbal tea for him with specific intention (and if this is a good idea, can you help me understand how to fully use intention other than just wishing for it to help?). All ideas or thoughts are appreciated.

Assuming you and your husband live together, you might consider putting up some kind of house wards, to make your living space more sheltering and restful, or whatever positive attributes you think would help.

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 08:44:14 pm »
There may be things you can do to help him with ritual or magic, but I suspect for any of them to work, you'd have to talk to him about it--figure out as much information as you can about what's stopping him from working through his emotions, and make sure you know what it is he wants to do to help his situation. Magic is usually more successful when it aligns with existing intentions. So looping him in on your workings, even if he's not much of a magical/spiritual sort himself, could help.

In other words, the first step is to see if he wants to engage with magic or spirituality to help his situation.

Thanks for your answer! I did talk to him earlier to ask if he was open to my helping in a spiritual way and he said yes. He is not quite as open as I am at this point, but he has seen the good my new spiritual practices have done in me. With this knowledge, any more advice?

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 08:48:50 pm »
Assuming you and your husband live together, you might consider putting up some kind of house wards, to make your living space more sheltering and restful, or whatever positive attributes you think would help.

Thanks for your response! I have not put up any house wards although I have worked on the energy of the home, and he has felt and appreciated that. It seems that he struggles the most at work, so I have wondered about something he could carry with him. Again, I am totally new to this though, so I hesitate to do something that could potentially backfire and make anything worse.

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 11:00:34 pm »
Thanks for your response! I have not put up any house wards although I have worked on the energy of the home, and he has felt and appreciated that. It seems that he struggles the most at work, so I have wondered about something he could carry with him. Again, I am totally new to this though, so I hesitate to do something that could potentially backfire and make anything worse.

With this and the above post (indicating his willingness to accept energy), I think you could create a charm that would be meaningful for him to carry around.

This could be a necklace charm that is meaningful to you both (including a cross, if that seems right), a small crystal or stone, etc.

Usually, especially if purchased for this purpose, you would want to cleanse the object first. 

If it is a family heirloom, seek instructions from someone more knowledgeable in the care and preservation of history than I am.

Ways to cleanse basic items include energy, water, smoke, and sometimes salt, depending on the item.

Do not soak crystals in salt water.  It was recommended by pagans in the past, but the drying salt can crack the crystal.

(frankincense is good from a Christian background.

Sandalwood and white sage have cultural appropriation issues, and the latter is endangered.)

Once cleansed, then you can charge it with positive intent.  Love, compassion, healing, support.

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2019, 09:36:11 am »
I'm praying for him every day during my morning ritual but I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do for him, energy wise, without crossing a boundary with his free will. Perhaps something as simple as preparing an herbal tea for him with specific intention (and if this is a good idea, can you help me understand how to fully use intention other than just wishing for it to help?). All ideas or thoughts are appreciated.

I think that the best thing you can probably do for him energy wise (besides being generally supportive) is to keep making your home and space as peaceful and healing as possible. Doing a thorough physical cleansing, as well as an energetic cleansing can often help.

For the energetic cleansing, common methods I use include:
- Sea salt (do a wash of the floor with salt in the water) You can also add essential oils (rosemary and lavender are reasonable choices, or lemon or orange for 'brightness'). Do floors, windows if you can, and I usually pour a bit down each drain/toilet/place water goes out.

- Scatter loose herbs (possibly with a bit of salt) ground up, and sweep it up. Some people include baking soda here, basically you can riff on any cleaning recipe for a deodorising cleaners you sweep up.

- Walking around with incense - an incense that you (and your husband like) is fine. Something that makes your home feel good, and welcoming, and pleasant.

- To get icky stuck energy out, I like clapping my hands loudly as I walk around the space (get into the corners with it) or using a bell (I mostly use one of those 'tube on a wooden block' ones)

- When doing this kind of cleansing, I also get really picky about what kinds of energy I'm bringing into the space. I do a salt water bath (or shower with salt-containing soaps) to get icky energy off me. I am really attentive to what I'm watching and listening to.

(I keep news-as-background noise to a minimum, and make sure I have defaults for what I'm listening to/watching that are generally positive/hopeful/encouraging. I'll watch and listen to other stuff, but I make sure it's a deliberate choice, not the thing I just have going in the background.)

You can then also do things to bring in the kinds of energy you want - that might involve flowers or green plants or candles in the spaces, looking at how light is used in the spaces you spend time in, making meals that are particularly comforting or favourite, putting together a playlist of music that makes you (and your husband) happy. Whatever that is for you both.

Something he might find useful would need him to be the one doing it, but it's a really useful technique for processing through complex feelings and grief. Here's how it goes:

Altars and removing items:
Find a space to set up an altar to the thing you're working with. Fill it with things that remind you of the person (or situation, or whatever you're grieving). Photos, letters, things they gave you, whatever things there are for you. You can draw or write about specific memories or events, if you don't have a physical object that corresponds. It's most useful to have somewhere around 20-30 items total. Besides the objects, you will want a storage box that's big enough to hold all of them. (A plain cardboard box is fine, it doesn't need to be anything fancy.)

Once you have the altar set up, leave it as it is for a week or so. Spend some time with it most days, thinking about those memories, or sitting with how difficult the memories are, or emotions around the memories (or anger that's tied up with grief.) Even a couple of minutes is helpful: it doesn't need to be a big grueling thing, so much as touching base with where this is in your life right now.

(And it's completely okay for those emotions to be anger or frustration or something else like that: this is not about honoring the person or forgiving them, or getting over the situation. This is about giving yourself a space to interact with it without particular expectations or pressures of how those interactions 'should' go.)

If you want to say something to the person or situation it's about, that's fine, but it's not necessary. (Some people do like getting a journal or something like that to write notes in.)

After that first week, begin taking one object off the altar every few days to a week. As you remove an item, maybe write a few things down about why you're removing that now, or saying that in your head (anything that helps articulate why that object this time, what you're setting to rest). Put the object in the storage box. Maybe rearrange things on the altar as you get fewer and fewer objects.

Repeat until you're down to just a few objects (maybe 3-5) and then see if you want to transition these to a long-term altar for ancestors/beloved dead/whatever your term is, or if you want to do something else. (Some people find a cathartic destruction of some objects handy here. Some people find reflection and ritual about the good parts of the relationship possible now that weren't before. Basically anything that helps get at that core of emotion and process it until it's not hanging around your neck like a millstone is fine as long as it's not harming anyone.)

As you can see, this is a long-term thing (if you start with 20 objects, and remove 2 a week, you're looking at two months or so minimum.) That time to process, and choosing the object you feel is the thing to deal with right now are key parts to why it works well in my experience.
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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2019, 09:56:12 am »
With this and the above post (indicating his willingness to accept energy), I think you could create a charm that would be meaningful for him to carry around.


I appreciate your insight! As of right now he says a charm is a bit too much for him, but I really like the idea if he becomes open to it.

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 10:06:58 am »
I think that the best thing you can probably do for him energy wise (besides being generally supportive) is to keep making your home and space as peaceful and healing as possible. Doing a thorough physical cleansing, as well as an energetic cleansing can often help.

Thanks for your insight, Jenett. I agree this is something I need to be more diligent about. He feels the effect when I do and is appreciative of it. I also appreciate the specific tips. I've not used salt and herbs before but I think I will give that a try.

The more I think about it, I feel like his work environment is making it more difficult for him. I don't want to go into details about what his job is, but he is definitely around some very negative energy every single day, and he comes home angry and frustrated. He always showers immediately when he gets home, but I am interested to see if a salt based soap might make any kind of difference for him.

The altar idea you suggested would probably be a bit much for him right now, but I will definitely keep that in mind should he open up a bit more.

Jenett, would it be okay if I pm'ed you with a question?

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2019, 11:25:27 am »
The more I think about it, I feel like his work environment is making it more difficult for him. I don't want to go into details about what his job is, but he is definitely around some very negative energy every single day, and he comes home angry and frustrated. He always showers immediately when he gets home, but I am interested to see if a salt based soap might make any kind of difference for him.

That's often the way, isn't it? Showering (try a salt-based soap, or a scrub, or something with cleansing herbs in it - again, rosemary, lavender, etc. are good, or pine/juniper if he likes that.)

Quote
Jenett, would it be okay if I pm'ed you with a question?

Yep, thanks for checking.

(My usual approach to this is that for comments someone's willing to post in public, a post is better, since then multiple people can comment. I certainly don't know everything, and it can avoid problems if one person suggests things that have risks or problems they don't explain.) But there's also stuff that people may not want to have in public.

That, and I tend to answer public posts first, so it sometimes takes me a bit longer to get time to do a private answer, but if you're okay with that, then fine!)
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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2019, 05:53:03 pm »
Thanks for your insight, Jenett. I agree this is something I need to be more diligent about. He feels the effect when I do and is appreciative of it. I also appreciate the specific tips. I've not used salt and herbs before but I think I will give that a try.

The more I think about it, I feel like his work environment is making it more difficult for him. I don't want to go into details about what his job is, but he is definitely around some very negative energy every single day, and he comes home angry and frustrated. He always showers immediately when he gets home, but I am interested to see if a salt based soap might make any kind of difference for him.

The altar idea you suggested would probably be a bit much for him right now, but I will definitely keep that in mind should he open up a bit more.

Jenett, would it be okay if I pm'ed you with a question?

I’m married, and I think it’s touching that you’re trying so hard to help him. I work a night shift, and it gets me pretty down sometimes. Have you considered giving him a small charm or something to carry with him? If nothing else, it would give him a physical reminder that you care about him.

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2019, 08:32:37 pm »
I’m married, and I think it’s touching that you’re trying so hard to help him. I work a night shift, and it gets me pretty down sometimes. Have you considered giving him a small charm or something to carry with him? If nothing else, it would give him a physical reminder that you care about him.

He isn't open to the idea of a charm at this point. This is one of those moments where I wonder where the boundary line is. The idea of a "charm" is too much for him, but in the past when I have given him items with a similar intention he has loved and carried them. Granted, I wasn't specifically cleansing or charging them, but the intention behind them was certainly the same. I'm new to this so I may be totally off, but I'm not sure what the difference really is other than language and a little extra ritual.

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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2019, 02:20:31 am »
Thanks for your answer! I did talk to him earlier to ask if he was open to my helping in a spiritual way and he said yes. He is not quite as open as I am at this point, but he has seen the good my new spiritual practices have done in me. With this knowledge, any more advice?

In addition to Jenett's excellent suggestions, another option would be to invoke some kind of Power on his behalf in some form or another. I'm not talking about manifesting ancient gods or summoning demons--just offering prayers to a deity/angel/spirit asking them to lend your husband strength for healing and peace. If both of you are coming from a Christian background, perhaps find an appropriate angel or saint and construct a short encouraging prayer or mantra. This might be a bit much for your husband, but it might also depend on how you construct it.
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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2019, 02:34:37 pm »
My husband is going through a terrible time emotionally. He is struggling with grief, anger, and depression; understandably so after a terrible loss in his life.

Normally I would just say this grief is just something he needs to work through, but I'm concerned that he seems stuck. I have never seen him like this. Therapy did not help, so he stopped going. He is so very unhappy.

I'm praying for him every day during my morning ritual but I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do for him, energy wise, without crossing a boundary with his free will. Perhaps something as simple as preparing an herbal tea for him with specific intention (and if this is a good idea, can you help me understand how to fully use intention other than just wishing for it to help?). All ideas or thoughts are appreciated.

I'm sorry that you and your husband are going through a difficult time.  There's been some amazing advice offered already, but I'll throw a couple more ideas on the pile.

Do what you can to make him feel safe, calm, and loved, which I suspect you're already doing. It doesn't have to be anything grand -a warm hand on his, a hot cup of tea with honey, a dish of comfort food, snuggling up together under a blanket. Anything that says "I'm here with you" will work, particular if it's a 'language' that's familiar. 

He might want to look into seeing a different therapist or type of therapy. Therapy is not one size fits all and it might be that he hasn't found the right therapist or therapy.  For example, depending on the circumstances, some people do better with a grief counselor while others find that working with a therapist who specializes in PTSD is more beneficial.

If your husband is willing to participate, there's a relatively simple candle ritual that I've used many times in my practice as a way to begin the healing process:

Take two candles of equal size -one black and one white - and place them, unlit, in a quiet place where your husband can hold them at times when he's feeling the loss most sharply.  Ask him to hold the black one when he's feeling particularly unhappy and the white one when the feelings are more positive.  He can do this for as long and as often as he needs to - one time for a few minutes or many times over several weeks.  The point is to use the candles as a touchstone to acknowledge the feelings.  He doesn't have to sort through the feelings - just allow them to come as they will and letting them flow into the candles.  Holding both candles at once is fine - grief comes with a lot of complex emotions and it's possible to have moments of rage about the best of memories and to laugh about the worst moments.  If he likes, he can carve the candles with words or symbols that represent what he feels.

When he is ready for the next step, have him light both candles.  While they burn, he'll want to create some physical representation of the grief - it can be a letter to the deceased, a drawing, a stone with a symbol on it, a poppet representing a person - whatever way he chooses to express it will be the right way.  When he's finished crafting this representation, mix a little of the melted wax from each candle with rosemary (you can use dried, fresh, or oil) and pour this mixture over the object he's made - even a couple drops are fine, the goal is symbolically tie the feelings to the representation of their source. 

Dispose of the item away from the house - depending on what he's made, you can either burn or bury it (some people find it helpful to hold a symbolic funeral or pyre for the item). In some cases you might be able to drop in a source for running water.  One of the keys here is to do things that resonate with him.  My personal method is to write on a river rock with chalk or mud and then drop the rock back into the water so that the words can be washed away.  A friend wrote a letter to his wife after losing her, made it into a paper airplane using a little of the wax to hold it together and launched the plane from a mountain top where they'd often hiked together.

Also, I work regularly with deities who deal with grief, death, and loss.  With your (and his) permission, I'll light a candle for him on my altar and petition those deities for their assistance in helping him heal from the loss.
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Re: Helping someone with grief and anger
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2019, 02:55:25 pm »
He isn't open to the idea of a charm at this point. This is one of those moments where I wonder where the boundary line is. The idea of a "charm" is too much for him, but in the past when I have given him items with a similar intention he has loved and carried them. Granted, I wasn't specifically cleansing or charging them, but the intention behind them was certainly the same. I'm new to this so I may be totally off, but I'm not sure what the difference really is other than language and a little extra ritual.

There's a few things it could be.  (Actually there's probably lots of things it could be, and if you asked him it might even be that he may be unable to articulate some of it).

It may be that he views a charm given to him specifically around this grief/anger issue as a reminder of the issue, and therefore he's reluctant to tote it round with him where it might actually bring up feelings at times when he'd otherwise not be thinking about it.  I know I've suffered with this sort of thing previously.

Or it might be a sort of superstitious worry about what happens if the charm got lost or damaged.

Or all sorts of other things, as I say some of which he might not actually be able to put a finger on.

It sounds like the energy type work you've discussed with others in this thread is the place to start.  Maybe leave/send him little notes or messages of support (something like "I'm here for you", say) if that's not already something you're doing - then he can carry that with him for a while if he chooses.  Might even encourage him to consider the charm idea, given enough time (though don't get your hopes up too much).

I like to use essential oils in our home, and can be just a drop or two of something relaxing or uplifting (bergamot is my favourite).  And depending on what beverages he likes maybe you could explore some helpful teas - doesn't necessarily have to be chamomile, there are other tea blends that can be calming and otherwise helpful.  Oh and he doesn't have to substitute this for all other beverages, just a cup a day (or most days) ought to help a bit.

I remember reading that there's certain foods that are helpful for reducing cortisol (the stress hormone, in case stress is a factor in perpetuating his angry feelings), though I can't recall how much follow up/verification I did of this:- walnuts, melon, sunflower seeds, wholegrain and low GI foods generally, and drink plenty of water.  As healthy a diet as is possible is probably wise to support both your immune systems at this difficult time, anyway.

[Edit: added a final line]
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 02:58:10 pm by Pickle »
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