How To Reinvent Yourself Post Traumatic Loss

psyche_opening_the_door_into_cupids_gardenYesterday, I wrote about reinventing yourself in Adapting Post A Traumatic Change. Pepe asked, “How does one start though? Or where does one look to get ideas? Especially when life feels like it’s at a stand still.”

This is a great question. First, you want to consider wrapping up your grieving process.  It’s not necessary, you be completely through it, but it probably is necessary to realize you’re in this process. These are the five stages of grief:

1. Denial & Isolation
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

You’re not likely to become committed to reinventing yourself until and unless you come to a point where you realize that whatever it is you’ve lost, is not coming back. It’s at this point, you’ll realize, you’ve got to start from scratch.

You can think of this as if a tornado came through and flattened your house. Your house is gone. It’s not going to reappear, so what are you going to rebuild in it’s place? Deciding that you’re going to rebuild (as opposed to standing in place, staring the ruins of what was), represents the turning point. This is also the point where doors will open.

This is a Jupiter thing. You’re opting to lay down your pain and look to your future. You have faith.

If this is hard for you, just imagine the analogy of the house, burned to the ground. You can fixate on the loss for years. Or you can turn can look to the horizon for opportunities. Opportunities always exist.

Pepe specifically asks where one looks for ideas. I’m pretty sure, once your mind is open, ideas come to you. But I’ll give you a practical example.

In the last post I wrote about my sudden, unexpected, empty nest. I landed in a part of the country where the culture was very different than anything I’d ever experienced. I’d driven kids to school for two decades. I’d entertained their friends. I was defined by this. I was a mom. And now what?

I ran into an older couple from Australia.  This is the American South. How’s that for foreign?  They seemed happy.  They’d managed. I wondered how. One day I asked the wife if they had any kids.

“We have four kids, strewn about,” she said. Strewn about the world, this was.  I thought that was a great answer. It gave me an idea.

I realized I had to let go of being somene’s mom.  My husband had to do this too.  Our kids are grown; they are no longer the center of our effort and attention. They’re off living their own lives.  We had to become an older couple, basically.

Like it or not, I was heading into my post-kids era. All that energy put into driving carpool all those years had to be redirected. I decided to shift into this other gear as gracefully as possible.  Once I shut the one door, the next one opened pretty readily.

Back to, Pepe’s question, if your life is at a standstill, it’s probably because you’re standing still. But in reality, it’s not possible to stand still.  Things are constantly changing, inside and out.  The old adage, get busy living or get busy dying is really true.

Do you feel your life is at a standstill? What keeps you from seeking a door?


26 thoughts on “How To Reinvent Yourself Post Traumatic Loss”

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    What if you’ve passed through the stages, are actively opening doors and every last one gets slammed in your face for years and in some cases decades? Fine, that’s not the right door, find another one, but this feels near endless. To REALLY struggle and see nothing materialize for huge prolonged periods could make you insane.

  2. Personally I need to go through the grief stages. I’m mixed up in denial (pain still raw), anger and depression.

    It takes time but you must be willing to go through the cleft to crawl up. You can not take the easy way out. So far I’m still negotiating with myself. But I also know I HAVE to move forward. I moved away from a cheating BF. I went back home. I have to start over my career. Have to pick up friendships.

    The shift will probably come when I’m ready to go on a date again and I expect that when this shift happens, a lot of men will happen LOL!

    Seriously, you MUST ho through these stages. If you don’t you end up bitter, alone and sad. And that’s not living….

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    What I don’t get is how it could be I’ve gone through the stages and STILL wound up bitter, alone and sad. And not fully living. I’m not a kid, I’m 45.

    1. If you’re bitter, you haven’t completed the grief cycle – you’re still stuck somewhere in there. Probably back at anger.

      I know you think the bitterness is because you’ve done all the work and you’re now bitter at getting no results from it, but there’s something residual still in there.

      Reaching acceptance is realising that you can’t have what your ego wants. You can only have what life or the universe is giving to you.

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        I wouldn’t call wanting to earn enough money to survive an ego desire, that’s survival. As for other desires, I know very well that what I want most, the Universe isn’t giving to me. How anyone is supposed to get beyond a rage response to that is beyond me. Exercise and supplements don’t help at all.

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          My natal sun is 22 degrees Sagittarius. Saturn hasn’t even hit 21 yet and the past two years have already been so, so hard.

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    I’ve heard it said that luck is the result of preparation meeting opportunity. I believe that. But without opportunity, you’re still stuck and still fucked until something shifts.

  5. What if Saturn is passing through your 12th house? You suffer losses, but astrologers say not to start anything new because you’ll be delayed anyway. What if you don’t have a choice? I had to find work after losing my old job, didn’t have a choice. Everything still feels transient, though.

    1. There’s a difference between finding a job to pay the bills and starting a new project.

      When Saturn went through my 12H, I actually began making plans for a new career. Think that was partly down to Uranus or Neptune also hammering into my 10H. I changed job and in doing so, I relocated and had the loneliest 6-8 months of my life which is perfect 12H !!! Then as saturn crossed the ascendant, I moved on and am still in the midst of that career change cycle – almost twenty years on. I should finally see the results in about 2-3 years when Saturn crosses my ascendant.

      My advice would be to do what feels right but don’t stubbornly try to force anything during those 12H transits. For me, my situation flowed perfectly.

      1. Saturn in the 12th house is tough! It’s not that you can’t make changes but it will bring up an unforeseeable amount of ramifications… Things won’t go your way unless you’re completely stripped bare of your secrets, lies and being honest. (And if you aren’t already, it will!) Saturn in the 12th is about having personal integrity in your private life or it’ll undo you.

  6. This is highly helpful topic for a time like a lot of us are in right now. Please if more people share their valuable experiences! Thanks to Elsa and everyone who writes here.

  7. I believe the biggest key to how to reinvent yourself is saying “Yes” whenever an opportunity is thrown in your direction.

    Often we feel fearful when facing the unknown and recoil and find excuses not to give it a go. But you just have to find the courage.

  8. Wonderfully put. I’m sorry for your loss- I know you were a terrific mom. Having your kids grow up and be strewn about has got to be hard. If my son ever decides to live far away I’m going to make If she sends me lots of pictures…actual photo copies in the mail, not some lazy digital copies. I would make photo albums I could show people. And I’d be buying him plane tickets every chance I got.

  9. Life is at a standstill right now. Uranus-Pluto didn’t impact me in the ways it did others. It turned their world upside down in many exciting, nauseating, and progressive ways while I’ve been left behind. I’m beginning to feel like it will be this way forever. ?

    What stops me from making drastic change? Well Saturn in my 5th conjunct natal Neptune and in square to my natal Saturn in 2nd and opposing my natal Venus. Chiron and Neptune transiting my 8th conjunct my SN.

    I’m worried about the long-term repercussions on my children and finances. I’m not a spring chicken anymore.

    But transiting Pluto in 6th squaring my natal Pluto in 3rd is begging for *something*, at least in location or it’s going to start affecting my health in unpredictable ways. I’m surprised I don’t have ulcers at this point ?

    Rock meet hard place ?

  10. Such a valuable post, thank you. I don’t have much to offer the dialogue, but I’m grateful this is up and folks are sharing. Am reeling from hard Pluto transits last years with lots of loss from mother to health and next job; but the Jupiter factor mentioned is encouraging as I have a strong Jupiter and nice Jupiter transits coming up so am looking forward.

  11. You have to draw lines. Enough is Enough. Self pitying, is not good. You have to know to move on after trauma. You should detach yourself from things causing you anxiety. You should know when to move on.

  12. @Elsa – “The old adage, get busy living or get busy dying is really true”.
    Since my illness hit me, I’m doing a bit of both, just to be covered. Enjoying whatever small pleasures come my way, and I’ve also written my official will, with detailed instructions about all my practical affairs. I’m neutral as to the future, because I’ve seen in practice that being optimistic or being pessimistic doesn’t make the slightest difference as regards outcome.

    @ScottishFoldSoul – “I’ve heard it said that luck is the result of preparation meeting opportunity. I believe that. But without opportunity, you’re still stuck and still fucked until something shifts.”
    I’ve witnessed this be true time and time again, and not only in myself. It’s an infuriating fact indeed. They say that you make your own luck, but I’ve scrutinised this notion, and it’s true only up to a point – you definitely need a lucky opportunity.

    Being ready or not ready doesn’t seem to make much difference either. A colleague was telling me last year the story of her 2nd marriage. She had just divorced from her 1st husband and she was still in pieces and not over him at all. But, she happened to meet her 2nd husband. She told me, “I knew I wasn’t ready, but I said to myself, I can see that this guy would be a great match for me, ready or not ready I can’t let this chance go by”. Ten years later they’re still married and they’ve got two adorable little ones.

  13. My life doesn’t feel completely at a standstill, but very close, so I aprreciate this post.
    I can’t say I’ve been through a traumatic loss, but there are different types and levels of loss. I think that a person could be grieving something without consciously knowing/being aware of it.
    Going through the complete process of grieving sounds like a good idea, to clear up the energies, lighten the spirits and move on.
    Thanks for this good advice!

  14. I’m a fixed sign. And whatever my combination is, it wants to be funny and humorous and apparently living an apparently tragic life style is funny.

  15. For me, it’s about acceptance and first and foremost it’s about God. Yeah I’m a believer in astrology but God is the mastermind behind it all. He rules all the planets and all that so…

    So in all it’s about acceptance and giving over control in your higher power. and realizing that you’re not powerful like you think. You are weak until you’re strong.

  16. Btw- strength is about acknowledgement, intelligence, and acceptance.
    You are not that strong if you only lie to yourself.
    You are also not that strong at all if you are a hypocrite and don’t follow the same example yet tell others how they should be.

  17. Elsa, having kids grow up, leave home and having their own lives is NOT A LOSS! Give me a break! You still have them. Try losing HALF A MILLION DOLLARS in the stock market!! That was my entire net gain, from selling my business, of 13 years. A truly once in a lifetime event I will not be able to repeat. Five years after that Loss I still grieve it. At 60 years old, and partially disabled, I’m bitter, sad, and depressed about losing that money and the lifestyle it gave me. All I can think about is how can I get that much money again? I still have a mortgage and credit card debt. My disability benefit is barely enough. I totally blew it with that money. It would take a miracle (like winning a lottery) to have that kind of money again. Right now, and for many years since that loss, I have tried and failed many times to make that kind of money again . Where do I go? What do i do? How can I get over this? I think about just ending it all. Often.

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