The Family Pressure Cooker

Emotions run extremely high when a loved one dies, or a loved one is dying. All kinds of personal dynamics can happen. For families who believe that this is a time to come together, it can be disarming to see and feel tensions rising.

These situations are never easy and we are not feeling or behaving in our usual ways. If the death has occurred, people can be in shock, overwhelmed with the finality of no longer having that person in their life, and just out of sorts. If a loved one is dying, their family and friends are already experiencing grief. While they are doing their best to come to terms with what is about to happen, they are also struggling to make meaningful connections with their loved one so that they will have precious memories to comfort them in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

Dr. Alan Wolfet, from the Center for Loss and Life Transition, in Fort Collins, Colorado explains it best. He refers to this as the “family pressure cooker.” It happens because when people are in crisis or facing a crisis, such as a loved one’s death, each one has a “high need to be understood, but little capacity to understand.”

So if you find you and your family are in a “pressure cooker” accept it for what it is and encourage everyone to take a step back and allow some space. Take time to breathe and decompress… if not, explosions and outbursts will be the result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *