What to do About the Grief Police

Feb 25, 2022

Most of us have people in our lives who tell us that we’re grieving incorrectly. I call them the Grief Police. Grief Police come in many forms and each “officer” has a different set of rules. It can sound like this.

You post too much on social media, or you post too little.

You need to get out more, or you’re out way too much.

You’re grieving too slowly, or much too quickly.

You should go out on a date, or it’s much too soon to be dating.

You shouldn’t make big decisions in the first year, or that you really should sell that house/truck/etc.

You really should be better by now, or you seem to be doing so well, you must not have loved him.

Mostly, the Grief Police mean well. Most of them love us and want the best for us. They don’t understand profound loss. They hurt because we hurt, so naturally they’d like to see us getting “better,” so that they too can start feeling better, worrying less, and believing that we’ll be okay.

Granted there are more sinister Grief Police, but let’s give most of them the benefit of the doubt: they’re trying, however uninformed.

If you’ve been a lifelong people pleaser, dealing with the Grief Police can be challenging to say the least. Any sort of response on your part will feel confrontational, and you simply don’t have the energy to be confrontational. But there is another way, and the good news is that it comes from love.

Step 1: Assume that the person means well.

Step 2: Use an appropriate conversation stopper from the list below.

Step 3: Allow for the silence and commit to no longer participating in the conversation.

Conversation stoppers are something to rehearse and get familiar with. Practice them from a place of love. Deliver them with kindness each time. Add on to the list if you’d like to:

This is what I’ve decided is best for me right now.

I appreciate your input. I’ll give it some thought.

Thanks, but I’ve already made my decision.

I appreciate your concern. I’m doing this on my terms and on my timeline.

I’ve decided not to make any firm plans.

And my all-time favorite: I don’t expect you to understand what this is like for me…. (optional add on …in fact, I’m so glad you don’t.)

Practice conversation stoppers ahead of time and then when the Grief Police strike, you’ll be equipped to see their efforts as well-intended and respond with love by using the 3 simple steps above.

Now, if you want to be taking bigger strides toward healing and are ready to invest in yourself, my six-month program called Life Reconstructed can help. Simply click here and schedule your free Hope Breakthrough Session and we’ll see if it’s a fit. 


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