The spouse of a co-worker recently died very suddenly. I had met him a few times, but didn't know him. When I first learned of his death I sent a message to my co-worker and told her that I would ask my guardian angels to go to her side and hold her up through this unimaginably sad time. I'm writing because I find myself getting depressed and having intense emotional reactions to thoughts of my co-worker's loneliness and loss. This morning as I got ready for work, I thought of her and started to cry and I don't know why. She and I are not particularly close. I'm thinking that this emotional reaction is more about me, but I can't seem to identify the issue behind it. Is this some sort of transference or reversed transference? How can I stop it? Any ideas?
It seems pretty clear that this death is triggering grief you haven't fully processed from some other loss in your life. Probably, if you let yourself grieve, this bout will pass fairly quickly. That may not resolve what is triggering it, though. It is a bit unusual that it hasn't come to you what this relates to, and it may require doing some therapy to find out.
You could try, though, an EMDR technique, since you like to do some of that on your own. Sit quietly and think about the emotional pain you're feeling. Feel it as intensely as you can and notice where in your body you feel the feeling(s). When those are very strong, let your mind drift back in time and see where it lands--you can try tapping alternately on your knees or shoulders while you do this. When you mind lands, don't judge it--describe it aloud. If you feel an intense emotional reaction similar to the one you started with, this may be the trigger. If not, do it again from there, and drift back further.
I wouldn't recommend you do this if you have a very traumatic background or if you don't have the resources to handle what you find safely--that is people close to you who will support you emotionally no matter what and a stable sense of your own worth and connection to life. If you are addicted to something, or do self-destructive things under stress, do this with a therapist, not alone. Let us know what you end up doing, and please feel free to ask any questions you have about any of this.
Last Edited by on Nov 26, 2010 12:46 PM
Thank you, Cynthia. Since I am usually fairly in-tune with my emotions, I will try a bit of EMDR. Although I do have a great support system, something is telling me not to try this on my own this time. I'll fill you in when I can.