Dealing With the Loss of a Home
There is a special kind of grief that goes along with losing a home. No matter what age you are, the loss can be shocking. It can unbalance you and make you question your future. You might experience sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, loneliness. You might struggle with confusion and preoccupation. You might lose your appetite, have trouble sleeping, focusing, and being social. This is all completely normal. As painful as it is, this experience won’t be the end of you. Below, I go into detail about what to expect when experiencing the loss of a home and strategies for making it through to the other side of your grief.
It's about more than just the money.
We usually think that grief is only for the loss of a loved one, not the loss of something material. But financial loss can be just as devastating as emotional loss. It’s not only about the money! If it were, it probably wouldn’t be so painful. When you lose a home, you lose more than just a house or apartment that gave you shelter. Your life’s plan is disrupted. You might worry about your immediate future, your financial plans for your children if you have them, your retirement plans, and your stability and comfort in life.
It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.
Some emotions you might experience during this time are embarrassment, loss of identity, betrayal, denial, and confusion over how to accept this loss and reach out to others for help getting through it. You may be fighting against yourself during this time, wondering why you can’t be strong and move past this loss. You may feel anger and resentment against someone who gave you bad financial advice. You might turn that anger against yourself, wondering why you couldn’t have seen an unexpected problem coming or been more careful with your money. Yet you will probably have a difficult time expressing these feelings to anyone, even those closest to you.
Why can’t we talk about it?
It can be very hard to acknowledge these emotions and share them with others. If we’d lost a relationship, we’d likely be much more willing to confide in friends and family. Why is it that we feel so embarrassed when going through the loss of a home? It’s because we just don’t usually talk to our friends and family about money—it’s not culturally encouraged. Don’t accept this! Don’t hide your pain away and let yourself be overwhelmed with shame. It’s important to reach out for support if you need it. You will be surprised at how many people have been through something just like you.
How can I get over it?
Just like any traumatic event, it’s about taking it a day at time and making it through to the other side. This might be the hardest thing you’ve ever experienced, but you will move past it.
Accept that this happened to you. Denial will only make the process of recover harder. The sooner you accept your situation, the sooner the healing can begin.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t brush your grief off as though you should be stronger than this. Your grief is real and it should be taken seriously.
Build out your support system. You can’t take this on alone, nor should you have to. Reach out to people that you trust, whether they are friends, family, or spiritual leaders. Don’t be alone through this—talk through this.
Get out of your own head. This loss has probably become all that you can think of, day and night. If only you could solve this problem by thinking yourself out of it! But you can’t. You’ll only continue to overwhelm yourself. Talk to a friend, go for a walk and breath in the fresh air, pay attention to what else you have in your life that brings you joy and satisfaction.
Surviving and thriving.
Think of what you’ve learned from this experience. You aren’t the same person you were before this happened. You’ve grown, changed, and become stronger because of it. Learn from your mistakes and be kind to yourself. Don’t forget that your partner or children are just as affected by this as you. Don’t forget to check in with them and help them through this difficult time. Life can be unpredictable, disruptive and painful. But we are all amazingly resilient. Try to look for the gifts this experience has given you, whether you’ve been shown how much you’re loved or you’ve been given a mirror to see how strong you are.
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