Melody Beattie

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The Language of Letting Go – Melody Beattie

The Language of Letting Go – Melody Beattie

This book by Melody Beattie is a series of daily meditations based on people regaining their sense of their own identity, owning their power and fully feeling their emotions. It was written in response to her own need - and the recognised need in others - to deal with what is coined as codependency. It became a daily source of reference for me as I struggled with my feelings relating to grief. It also helped in addressing my loss of identity and behaviour that developed from distraction. 

There was a point for me when the need to be needed again became extreme, compulsive. It was combined with a process of giving everything I had away, emotionally, financially. I didn't want to keep anything, of me or what I had. There didn't seem a point. I had no future, so why the need to retain anything? And the process was a good distraction - from feeling anything.

But ultimately it led to my life staying in limbo - and in the dark. Another devastating experience of loss came as a consequence and I was compelled to look at myself to find out why. After more online research I discovered the work of Melody Beattie and I came to understand that my behaviour was typical of codependency - a trait that is apparently exacerbated by grief. Codependency is to some extent a contentious subject. All relationships are to a level codependent - and in its healthy definition that is good, a mutually beneficial form of support between people. Like the perfect balance I had with Maria. But at its unhealthy extremes, the process becomes dramatically skewed. One person gives, care-takes, enables excessively and the other relies on that, taking but with little to give back. And the caretaker gives at their own expense, neglecting their own needs in order to focus on another.

There's an organisation that's set up as a support system for codependency specifically, called Codependence Anonymous. Their website is on this link if you would like to find out more:

The Language of Letting Go by Melody BeattieI'll write on that subject more at a later date, but aside from the issue of codependency, this book helped me to understand more about myself and my behaviours. It also helped me to gain some sense of future, of direction, to making a commitment to myself and living life again. It made me think about life in a wider context and introduced the concept of a Higher Power; I started to consider the perspective of a Universe through which our journeys continue after the time we spend on Earth. It finally started to give me a way to make some sense of death, because  Maria's soul lives on somewhere in that Universe. Being able to believe that her journey continues gave me comfort and started a sense of hope.


The Grief Club – Melody Beattie

The Grief Club – Melody Beattie

There are some words that somehow feel wrong when you are grieving - when I first saw the title of this book, I kind of felt like that about it. The concept of a "Club" associated with grief jarred. But when you appreciate the concept that empathy in grief becomes stronger based on the closer someone else's experience is to yours, then the value of this book becomes more apparent. You understand that you are unavoidably in a club. And that others who belong to your club have an understanding and empathy well beyond anyone else. Their experiences and feelings echo yours and you are finally able to find comfort from the knowledge that you are not alone. I sometimes felt like I was going completely mad trying to deal with what went on in my mind. If you'll excuse the language, grief can be a total "head fuck". Knowing that others felt the same and got through it, gave me more strength to deal with it.

The author, Melody Beattie, is in my opinion a hero. A lionhearted woman whose courage in the face of devastation in her life has been immense. She has written many books, most of which are self help oriented. This one resulted from her own experiences of the loss of her husband and son and her time as a therapist, helping others with their grief.

In it, she tells different people's stories of loss. It covers many traumatic circumstances. What's elevating about this book is that it describes the process that people have been through - how the felt, how they dealt with it, what they experienced - and how they came out the other side. It took me through connection, understanding and provided The Grief Club by Melody Beattiepositive comfort of a way forward, I accepted that baby steps were ok. There's a framework to it that you can refer back to. Sometimes it's difficult to absorb a lot of information at once - and facing some of the realism is a process only each individual can judge. What is apparent is that each person who told their story gained a catharsis from doing so - and connecting with that somehow helped me. Telling your story, even if you do it for yourself only, in some form of journal or diary, can be really helpful.

Available from Amazon on this link