COPE CopeLine Supervisor

March 2015

Your Wellness & Work-Life Newsletter

Finding His Stride, One Step at a Time

An employee writes, "My husband lost his job and now all he does is hang around the house sad and frustrated. He complains about housework and looking after the kids. It's affecting our relationship! How can I help him? How can I help US!?"

Emotional Stages of Job Loss. Losing a job can produce feelings similar to those experienced when someone dies. Because a job is a large part of our public identity, losing it can be tough, regardless of the circumstances. Denial, isolation, anger and even depression often follow the loss, but the intensity and length of time associated with each stage are as different as the people affected. For some, the emotions are outwardly visible, while others internalize their feelings stoically. Give him time and space.

Put Yourself in His Shoes. Your husband may be struggling to find the resolve to function in his new and unfamiliar daily routine. Staying home and doing housework probably is a big change in role for him, the magnitude of which he might not fully appreciate. After all, he just took a big blow to his self-esteem. Understandably, his reluctance to "snap out of it" may be difficult.

Take Care of Yourself. The current situation may be very frustrating for you, especially if you are trying to keep the family financially afloat and emotionally healthy. The key to surviving this phase for you is to approach it as a transitional period and not a permanent situation, and to navigate the delicate balance between supporting him but not enabling him. He will grow more accepting of the situation if he feels supported and appreciated (even for little things such as walking the kids to the bus stop!). Perhaps he could use help coming up with a AsktheCounselor@cope-inc.com or call 202-628-5100 to speak to an EAP professional.

Written by Diana Mayer, Marriage and Family Therapist

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