Several years ago I learned about the term "displaced grieving" and now so many experiences FINALLY made sense to me. Here is the definition: When you experience something painful or traumatic, then the grief and pain for that experience can manifest in a different experience you may have in the future.
Let me tell you about the first time this happened to me.
About a year or so after placement, my husband and I decided to adopt a dog. His name was Copper. We found him at the pound and he was the cutest thing ever! We couldn't resist him! He was some kind of beagle/chihuahua mix. He had the beagle coloring and long ears (one stood up straight and one flopped down) but he was petite like a chihuahua. We loved him SO MUCH!
Because we were a poor, newlywed couple, both of us needed to work. We initially let him stay in the house – but then he would destroy it while we were gone. So then we let him play in the backyard while we were gone. But then we discovered he was a master escape artist. We were constantly saving him from the pound (and paying the fee) and it was getting expensive. We tried a leash, chain, etc. but I swear he was a magician! Neighbors told us that they saw him climbing a fence and balancing on it like a cat, jumping onto the roof of a shed and climb down a tree!!
Nothing we did could keep him contained. The day finally came when we realized he needed different owners… someone who could devote a whole lot of time and money to him. We knew we needed to take him back. I really struggled when I took him in. I couldn't stop crying… in fact, people looked at me strangely for how intense my sobs were.
My husband didn't understand why I was having such a hard time. The crying continued for days. It was grief from the very core of my being. Even I wondered what the heck was going on with me. FINALLY, it hit me! My husband was asking me why I was having such a hard time about taking Copper back and I made the comment "I don't know, but this hurts almost more than when I placed my son." DING!!!
I finally realized that this grief and pain that I was feeling was not all because of the dog!! It was hidden grief about my son that I had placed! I have had several other experiences that fall into the displaced grieving category… so I will write more later.
Do you see what I mean? There is no set rule to grieving and healing… everyone's experience is so different! And that is why we should love and support each other NO matter what we are going through.
Have you had any painful experiences that didn't make 'sense'? Have you noticed a time when you overreacted to something because it reminded you of something else?