The loss of a loved one can be painful and a combination of many emotions - sadness, anger, denial, and numbness. This loss can be due to a death, divorce, betrayal, or unexpected occurrence where a relationship is suddenly severed. The definition of grief is feeling a deep sadness or distress after a loss. While grief is typically associated with the death of a loved one, it can be the result of major life changes, loss of health, the loss of a pet or losing financial security or a way of life.
The Grieving Process
Bereavement is a personal experience, but there are essentially five stages involved, which are known as the five stages of grief. While some people may experience all of them, others may only experience one or two, and others may cycle through multiple stages. However, understanding each stage is beneficial for anyone who is dealing with grief.
Stage 1 – Denial
The denial stage is marked by feelings of shock or numbness at the situation, resulting in the person either refusing to accept what has happened, or displaying numbness or uncaring. This part of the bereavement process often serves as a buffer against the overwhelmingly intense emotions that occur due to death or loss.
Stage 2 – Bargaining
People in this stage of grief often attempt to figure out what they could have done to prevent the loss, as well as what they will do if the situation is reversed. While this is a normal process, it can lead to feelings of guilt or remorse, especially for those mourning the loss of a loved one.
Stage 3 – Anger
Anger is a common emotion when dealing with grief, and many may attempt to find someone to blame for their losses. While feelings of anger towards the situation are normal, it can result in permanent damage to other relationships if not handled appropriately.
Stage 4 – Depression
Depression, which is a period of intense sadness and reflection, is also normal. Even though there are some who may try to tell the person that they need to move on, this period is a time when you truly begin to understand the true importance of the loss, which is important to the healing process.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
The final stage is acceptance, wherein the person accepts what has happened and begins feeling more at peace so that he or she can move on with life.
The five stages of grief are not the same for every person, but they are normal. If the feelings become too intense, you should reach out to friends, family, or a counselor for help.
To understand how counseling can help you, feel free to contact me for a free telephone consultation.