Family, partners, work, dreams and youth. How do people recover from the grief of losing their “heart base” and purpose in life? I will introduce the theory of psychoanalysis called “object loss” and the method of mental rehabilitation called “work of mourning”.
When you lose your purpose in life, don’t you force yourself to brighten up your life?
Everyone lives by valuing their “heart base” and purpose in life. For example, your job and dreams, your beloved partner and family, your pets, your beloved home and community, and your own youth and health.
Over the course of a long life, the day will come when we all lose our “heart’s support” and the things that make us want to live. In psychoanalysis, this is called “object loss” . Object loss can occur unexpectedly due to accidents, disasters, or changes in life events, or it can occur when the distance between you and the object gradually widens, and you realize that you have lost it before you know it.
“Object loss” brings a very deep sadness to the heart. Some people try to shake off their sadness by forcing themselves to be cheerful, but when they are alone, they are suddenly attacked by their original sadness.
So how do we overcome the grief of “object loss”?
There are four stages of mental rehabilitation “mourning work”
There is a “work of mourning” in the method of overcoming “object loss” . “Mourning work” is mental rehabilitation to escape from the grief of “object loss”.
Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, established the theory, which was later developed by various psychoanalysts. A famous one is the four stages introduced by J. Bowlby. Let me introduce you to this theory.
In the first stage of facing “object loss”, the shock of loss leads to an “emotional crisis” . You feel a strong shock and confusion, and your emotions become very unstable due to anxiety and helplessness. In the second stage, we try to “protest”
with real anger at the loss . This is the stage where you are desperate to get back what you have lost. The third stage, Despair and Depression , comes when you realize that no amount of protest will change the situation . This is the time when you feel nihilistic and lethargic because you feel that nothing you do is in vain. After passing these three stages, the fourth and final stage, “Detachment,” comes. Stop clinging to the lost object, accept reality, and start walking towards a new life.
The sadness of “object loss” will surely heal someday
Each period of “mourning work” varies greatly from person to person, and it cannot be said that it is a number of months or years. The important thing is to go through each of the four stages above. By carefully experiencing the “work of mourning” in this way, we can accept reality and re-start.
When you or the people around you have lost your “heart’s support” or your purpose in life, please remember the four stages of “mourning work”.
Even if you try to forget the sadness of “object loss” by forcing yourself to be cheerful and busy, the sadness will not heal. In the process of “mourning work”, negative emotions such as frustration, anger, and depression arise one after another. It is painful, but it is necessary for mental rehabilitation to proceed through the four stages while enjoying negative emotions. Just as there is a word
“time medicine” (tokigusuri) , the sadness of “object loss” will eventually heal. And the day will surely come when you can turn your feelings to a new life. Therefore, treat with care the emotional reaction that arises through the process of the “work of mourning.” And let’s walk, believing that the day will come when we will overcome the sadness.