Grief Counseling Certification Article on Grief Boundaries

In grief we deal with many emotions and its difficult to sometimes discuss it or experience it.  We work through grief at our own pace and own way.  It is because of this, it is important to avoid being bullied in grief and to have our own set of boundaries.  We have discussed Grief Bullies in the past.

Grief bullies are individuals who attempt to impose their style of grieving on an individual.  They also can try to diminish the grief of a person as not important or relevant.  These individuals are an issue in themselves, but being able to stand up for oneself and set boundaries are critical.  Grief boundaries are important in grieving and especially during the Holiday season.  These are the times, when individuals, either grief bullies or good intentioned individuals may push the issue.

Emotional boundaries are important to begin with.  In every part of life, it is critical to set boundaries.  Whether at work, school or with friends, it is important not to allow individuals to push one around.  While it is OK to help others, to be flexible and understanding, it is equally important to have boundaries that prevent individuals from imposing their will or impeding upon one’s limits.  Hence it is important to have boundaries and also important to enforce those boundaries.

Help for grief is good but you can have boundaries in how you express with other people. Ultimately it is up to you. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification


Boundaries can be enforced without hostility.  They can be laid out calmly but firmly to individuals who test those grounds.  Usually, individuals who unknowingly push a boundary only  need told once, while others may need reminded more than that but it is important to hold firm to boundaries.  Grief is no exception.

What’s Your Grief discussed a variety of ideas on Grief Boundaries in one of their most recent blogs.  Some important information to take from it are as follows.,

In establishing a boundary, be clear, firm, and communicate it.  Do not apologize for it, but be prepared to face questions that you owe no answer for.  In addition, let the individual know of consequences when boundaries are crossed and be prepared to enforce it.  In addition, be prepared to feel the natural discomfort that sometimes comes with standing up for oneself.  Individuals worth keeping in your life, will understand.

In regards to grief, while it is sometimes good to take help, it is OK, if you are not ready for that help and it is OK to decline that help. Let others know, some days you may not feel that great and if you need time alone to respect that.  Grief can make one feel unable to participate in going to an event or hanging with a friend.  In these cases, it is OK to back out especially when you are first dealing with the sting of loss.  Do not allow grief bullies to keep you in or keep you out.

Also feel free to dismiss questions that may seem to soon or intruding.  You are not obligated to answer questions regarding your personal life. For instance, if dating seems too son, feel free to dismiss the question.  In addition to this, one’s boundary should be able to decline advice and just ask one to simply listen.  Sometimes, advice is not ready to be heard or not the advice we need.  It is OK, to tell the well intentioned person, that you do not want advice but just an open ear.  If individuals discuss with you their issues, it is also OK to let them know you are not in a place to help them because you are still dealing with your own grief.

It is OK also to decline to tell someone how a loved one passed.  Sometimes people ask this secondary question.  It is only up to you if you wish to share how a person died.  You can tell them, it is to painful to recall, or you do not wish to relive it, or that the question is too triggering.  You may say that you will talk about it another day, or you may say it is a private matter.  Ultimately you should not disclose what makes you uncomfortable.  You must set the boundary and live by it.

Boundaries in grief are important. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification


During the Holidays, many of these things may occur.  Family and friends will want to see you, or expect certain traditions or visits to be upheld.  It is especially important to let family and friends know if you want to be alone or if you do not wish to celebrate that particular tradition.  Maybe you are not ready and that is OK.  Again it is important not to succumb to grief bullying.

Ultimately, you may make individuals uncomfortable when setting boundaries and that is OK.  You need to let them know about your feelings and remind them you are moving at your own pace and speed in your grief.

If you would like to learn how to help others deal with grief, please review the American Academy of Grief Counseling’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.


Related Source and Content

What’s Your Grief   “Setting Your Grief Boundaries”–please click here to review