What You Should Know About the Stages of Grief

Introduction

Grief is universal. At some point in everyone’s life, there will be at least one encounter with sorrow. It might be from the death of a loved one, the loss of a task, the end of a relationship, or any other modification that changes life as you know it.

Grief is likewise very personal. It’s not really neat or linear. It does not follow any timelines or schedules. You might weep, end up being angry, withdraw, feel empty. None of these things are uncommon or wrong. Everyone grieves differently, but there are some commonness in the stages and the order of feelings experienced during sorrow.

Where did the stages of grief come from?

In 1969, a Swiss-American psychiatrist named Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote in her book “On Death and Dying” that sorrow might be divided into five stages. Her observations came from years of working with terminally ill people.

Her theory of grief ended up being known as the Kübler-Ross model. While it was originally created for people who were ill, these stages of grief have actually been adapted for other experiences with loss, too.

The five stages of sorrow might be the most extensively known, however, it’s far from the only popular stages of grief theory. Several others exist as well, including ones with seven stages and ones with just 2.

Does sorrow constantly follow the same order of stages?

The five stages of grief are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Not everyone will experience all five phases, and you might not go through them in this order.

Grief is various for each individual, so you might begin managing loss in the bargaining stage and find yourself in anger or denial next. You might stay for months in one of the five phases but skip others totally.

Stage 1: Denial

Grief is a frustrating emotion. It’s not unusual to react to the extreme and frequently abrupt feelings by pretending the loss or modification isn’t taking place. Rejecting it gives you time to more slowly take in the news and start to process it. This is a common defense reaction and helps numb you to the intensity of the scenario.

As you move out of the denial stage, however, the emotions you’ve been concealing will begin to rise. You’ll be confronted with a lot of grief you’ve denied. That is likewise part of the journey of grief, however it can be difficult.

Examples of the denial phase

  • Break up or divorce: “They’re simply disturbed. This will be over tomorrow.”
  • Job loss: “They were mistaken. They’ll call tomorrow to say they need me.”
  • Death of a loved one: “She’s not gone. She’ll happen the corner any second.”
  • Terminal health problem diagnosis: “This isn’t happening to me. The results are wrong.”

Phase 2: Anger

Where rejection might be considered a coping mechanism, anger is a masking effect. Anger is hiding much of the emotions and discomfort that you carry. This anger might be rerouted at other individuals, such as the person who passed away, your ex, or your old manager. You might even intend your anger at inanimate things.

While your reasonable brain understands the item of your anger isn’t to blame, your feelings in that moment are too intense to feel that.

Anger might mask itself in feelings like bitterness or resentment. It may not be clear-cut fury or rage. Not everybody will experience this phase, and some might stick around here. As the anger subsides, nevertheless, you might start to believe more reasonably about what’s taking place and feel the feelings you’ve been pushing aside.

Examples of the anger phase

  • Breakup or divorce: “I dislike him! He’ll be grief for leaving me!”
  • Job loss: “They’re horrible employers. I hope they stop working.”
  • Death of an enjoyed one: “If she cared for herself more, this wouldn’t have actually happened.”
  • Terminal health problem medical diagnosis: “Where is God in this? How dare God let this occur!”

Stage 3: Bargaining

During sorrow, you might feel susceptible and powerless. In those minutes of intense feelings, it’s not uncommon to try to find methods to restore control or to desire to feel like you can affect the outcome of an event. In the bargaining stage of sorrow, you may find yourself developing a great deal of “what if” and “if just” statements.

It’s also not unusual for spiritual people to attempt to negotiate or pledge to God or a higher power in return for healing or relief from the sorrow and pain. Bargaining is a line of defence against feelings of sorrow. It assists you hold off the unhappiness, confusion, or hurt.

Examples of the bargaining phase

Breakup or divorce: “If just I had actually invested more time with her, she would have stayed.”
Task loss: “If just I worked more weekends, they would have seen how important I am.”
Death of a liked one: “If just I had called her that night, she would not be gone.”
Terminal disease diagnosis: “If only we had gone to the medical professional quicker, we could have stopped this.”

Stage 4: Depression

Whereas anger and bargaining can feel really “active,” anxiety might feel like a “quiet” stage of sorrow.

In the early phases of loss, you may be ranging from the emotions, trying to remain a step ahead of them. By this point, however, you may be able to accept and overcome them in a more healthful way. You may likewise pick to isolate yourself from others in order to fully handle the loss.

That does not imply, however, that anxiety is simple or well defined. Like the other phases of grief, anxiety can be difficult and unpleasant. It can feel frustrating. You might feel foggy, heavy, and confused.

Depression may seem like the unavoidable landing point of any loss. However, if you feel stuck here or can’t appear to move past this phase of sorrow, talk with a mental health professional. A therapist can help you overcome this duration of coping.

Examples of the depression stage

  • Breakup or divorce: “Why go on at all?”
  • Loss of a job: “I don’t understand how to move forward from here.”
  • Death of a liked one: “What am I without her?”
  • Terminal disease diagnosis: “My entire life concerns this terrible end.”

Phase 5: Acceptance

Approval is not always a happy or uplifting phase of sorrow. It does not indicate you’ve moved past the sorrow or loss. It does, nevertheless, suggest that you’ve accepted it and have a concerned understand of what it indicates in your life now.

You may feel really various in this phase That’s entirely expected. You’ve had a significant change in your life, and that overthrows the way you feel about many things. Seek to acceptance as a way to see that there might be more good days than bad, however, there might still be bad which’s OKAY.

Examples of the acceptance phase.

  • Separation or divorce: “Ultimately, this was a healthy option for me.”
  • Job loss: “I’ll be able to discover a way forward from here and can start a new path.”
  • Death of a loved one: “I am so fortunate to have had so lots of wonderful years with him, and he will constantly be in my memories.”
  • Terminal illness medical diagnosis: “I have the chance to tie things up and make certain I get to do what I want in these final weeks and months.”

The 7 stages of grief

The 7 phases of grief are another popular design for describing the lots of complicated experiences of loss..

These seven stages include:.

  • Shock and rejection.
    This is a state of shock and numbed sensations.
  • Pain and guilt.
    You may feel that the loss is unbearable and that you’re making other individual’s lives harder since of your feelings and requirements.
  • Anger and bargaining.
    You might snap, informing God or a greater power that you’ll do anything they ask if they’ll only give you remedy for these feelings.
  • Anxiety.
    This may be a period of seclusion and loneliness throughout which you procedure and assess the loss.
  • The upward turn.  At this point, the phases of sorrow like anger and pain have waned, and you’re left in a more calm and relaxed state.
  • Reconstruction and working through.
    You can start to put pieces of your life back together and continue.
  • Acceptance and hope.
    This is a very progressive acceptance of the new way of living and a sensation of possibility in the future.

As an example, this might be the discussion of phases from a breakup or divorce:

Shock and denial: “She absolutely would not do this to me. She’ll understand she’s wrong and be back here tomorrow.”

Pain and regret: “How could she do this to me? How selfish is she? How did I mess this up?”.

Anger and bargaining: “If she’ll offer me another possibility, I’ll be a better partner. I’ll dote on her and provide her whatever she asks.”.

Depression: “I’ll never have another relationship. I’m destined to fail everybody.”.

The upward turn: “The end was hard, however, there could be a location in the future where I might see myself in another relationship.”

Reconstruction and overcoming: “I need to assess that relationship and gain from my mistakes.”.

Acceptance and hope: “I have a lot to provide another person. I just have to satisfy them.”.

The takeaway.

The essential to comprehending sorrow is recognizing that no one experiences the exact same thing. Grief is really personal, and you may feel something different each time. You may need several weeks, or grief might be years long.

If you decide you need assistance coping with the sensations and modifications, a psychological health professional is a great resource for vetting your feelings and discovering a sense of guarantee in these extremely heavy and weighty emotions.

 

What is the point in TALKING?

Talk therapy is what most Counsellors and Psychologists use to help them understand a little of the things that people are trying to cope with when it comes to handling daily living and the stress of difficult circumstances.  Many people have a tendency to hold problems in for fear of being judged or not wanting to share something embarrassing.  Men especially are susceptible to the stress of keeping their problems to themselves, and often this can result in frustration or built up anger if we are unable to sort through things in our own mind.

So why does it help to talk about things with a Therapist?

Firstly there is an internal pressure that builds up within if we cannot assimilate in our mind what is happening or why something is happening the way it does.

The brain has the capacity to create an imagination, and this can be helpful or also very destructive if not guided properly towards the directions that give the best results.  By talking things over with someone else, the brain is able to logically process thoughts and ideas from different perspectives and therefore it helps to create greater pathways through our understanding of a situation.   Providing alternative thought processes allows individual choices to widen with different possibilities and outcomes.

There is a pressure that can benefit from relief through getting something off our chest.  The body doesn’t have to store the stress and we often hear about healthy ways to get rid of our anger such as screaming into a pillow or taking our frustrations out on a punching / boxing bag, which produces physical exertion to give an outlet to the built up energy.   Talking about things allows an avenue to release some frustrations as well, albeit less intensively physical than punching some inanimate object, but there is a pressure relief, especially if the talking helps to release tears  at the same time.

Talking is our way of communicating what is really going on.   This provides the platform for us to feel heard.   If anything else, the therapist can provide untold support just by listening to the person talk about what is happening, how they feel and why they feel that way.

In the end we all need to feel heard.

As human beings our desire is to be happy within ourselves, and by being heard we can feel a sense of inner calm.   Someone understands me, someone is listening.

Talking is our way of healing.   It is the best way a human can connect to themselves as well as others, through the helpful process of sharing a problem if only for some inner relief, a helpful view from someone outside the situation, as well as being able to shed some of the stress that is clogging up the mind.

Contact Crestpoint Psychology to book an appointment if you need to talk things over (07) 3420 6322

Author: Julie Richman Dynamic Duos in Business & Practice Manager (Crestpoint Psychology & Crestpoint Wellbeing)