The 5 Stages Of Grieving: Losing A Loved One
The pain when someone you love dies is unexplainably unbearable. You ask yourself, Will this pain ever end?. You may have feelings of shock, anger, profound sadness, confusion, and disbelief. Grieving is a normal response to loss, and theres no right or wrong way to grieve, but there is a healthy process of dealing with the death of a close friend or family member.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a renowned psychiatrist, developed the Five Stages of Grief Theory. The process involved when dealing with a death is DABDA Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The five stages of grief do not only apply when dealing with the death of a loved one its also for divorce, perceived significant life changes, miscarriage, job loss, or the diagnosis of a terminal illness.
Common Misconceptions About Grieving
Because everyone mourns differently and for different reasons, sometimes you might feel your own grieving process isnt going according to the norm.
But remember, theres no such thing as a right or wrong way of coping with a loss.
These might be some of the thoughts that could cross your mind when looking at your own or someone elses way of grieving.
What You Can Do
To help identify the cause of your anger, it can be helpful to write about your feelings in a journal until you feel clearer, talk to a close friend about your feelings and let them help you process your thoughts, or enlist the help of a good therapist. These activities can help with stress management, too, so it’s a double-win.
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The Five Stages Of Grieving Process
In this article, we will be focusing on the stages of the grieving process when dealing with the death of a loved one. Just so you know, there is no specific time frame in getting over the loss of a dearly beloved.
Not all who experienced the loss of a special person will experience these stages of grief, and thats okay. You dont have to go through all these five stages of grief. The theory was developed as a guide to give us an idea of the emotions of a grief experience. Also, to give an answer to your questions about why youre feeling that way after losing someone.
Stages Of Grief: The Kbler
In an effort to better understand the grieving process, many mental health experts and researchers have dedicated years to studying loss and the emotions that come with it.
One of these experts was Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss American psychiatrist. She created the Kübler-Ross model, the theory of the five stages of grief and loss.
In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, Kübler-Ross examined the five most common emotional reactions to loss:
Originally, Kübler-Ross referred to them as the five stages of death. This was because she was working with terminally ill patients at the time, and these were the common emotions they had regarding their own mortality.
Years after her first book, Kübler-Ross adapted and extended her model to include other kinds of loss. The five stages of death became the five stages of grief.
This grief can come in many forms and for different reasons. Everyone, from all walks of life and across cultures, experiences loss and grief at some point.
Mourning doesnt come only from dealing with your own death or the death of a loved one. Mourning can also come as a result of an illness, the end of a close relationship, or even the end of a project or dream.
Grief can similarly come from a perceived or real change in your life. For example, moving to a new city, school, or job, transitioning into a new age group, or staying in isolation because of a pandemic.
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Coping With Grief And Loss
Experiencing grief and loss is one of the most difficult challenges in life, and it never gets easier. Its okay to feel sad and lost, this is normal. Although you cannot make feelings of loss go away, there are healthy ways to cope with grief. Its important to learn healthy coping mechanisms so that you can continue living a healthy life, despite the loss.
Dont let the pain of loss lead to isolation. Isolation is a common occurrence when experiencing grief. Its imperative to fight the urge to isolate oneself and find ways to cope with grief and loss with the help of your friends, family members, and health care professionals.
Maintain relationships with friends and family members. Keep involving your friends and family members who are supportive of you in your life. Although it might feel awkward or embarrassing to confide in them, they will be there for you through thick and thin. Rely on their acceptance and ask for help when needed.
Lean on your faith. If you have faith, embrace the comfort that comes from your higher power. Whether you prefer meditating or going to church, faith can help you ground yourself during the grieving process.
Find comfort in routines. Create a healthy and normal routine. Incorporating healthy habits in your usual activities can help create a reliable and stable sense of reality. Incorporate exercise and healthy food into your daily routine. This stability can help you cope with your grief without disrupting your future life too much.
Learning About Emotions After Loss Can Help Us Heal
When we lose a loved one, the pain we experience can feel unbearable. Understandably, grief is complicated and we sometimes wonder if the pain will ever end. We go through a variety of emotional experiences such as anger, confusion, and sadness.
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Who Developed The Five Stages Of Grief
The five stages of grief model was developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and became famous after she published her book On Death and Dying in 1969. Kübler-Ross developed her model to describe people with terminal illness facing their own death. But it was soon adapted as a way of thinking about grief in general.
Other Possible Stages Of Grief
The five stages of grief proposed by Kübler-Ross have served as a framework for many mental health professionals working with the grief process.
Some of these professionals, such as British psychiatrist John Bowlby, have developed their own work around the emotional responses to loss. Others, including Kübler-Ross herself, have adapted and extended the original five-stage model.
This adaptation is usually known as the Kübler-Ross Change Curve. It extends the five core stages of grief to seven overlapping stages:
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Do The Five Stages Happen In Order
The five stages denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are often talked about as if they happen in order, moving from one stage to the other. You might hear people say things like Oh Ive moved on from denial and now I think Im entering the angry stage. But this isnt often the case.
In fact Kübler-Ross, in her writing, makes it clear that the stages are non-linear people can experience these aspects of grief at different times and they do not happen in one particular order. You might not experience all of the stages, and you might find feelings are quite different with different bereavements.
How To Help When Others Are Grieving
It can be so difficult to know what to say or do when someone who has experienced loss. We do our best to offer comfort, but sometimes our best efforts can feel inadequate and unhelpful.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid rescuing or fixing. Remember, the person who is grieving does not need to be fixed. In an attempt to be helpful, we may offer uplifting, hopeful comments, or even humor, to try to ease their pain. Although the intention is good, this approach can leave people feeling as if their pain is not seen, heard, or valid.
- Don’t force it. We may want so badly to help and for the person to feel better, so we believe that nudging them to talk and process their emotions before they’re truly ready will help them faster. This is not necessarily true, and it can actually be an obstacle to their healing.
- Make yourself accessible. Offer space for people to grieve. This lets the person know we’re available when they’re ready. We can invite them to talk with us but remember to provide understanding and validation if they are not ready just yet. Remind them that you’re there and not to hesitate to come to you.
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Going Through The 5 Stages Of Grief: How It Feels
Exploring the five stages of grief and loss could help you understand and put into context where you are in your own grieving process and what you feel.
Similarly, if youre concerned or want to understand someone elses grieving process, remember that theres no one way of going through it. Everyone mourns differently.
You could go through many intense emotions, or you could seemingly not react at all. Both responses are valid and not uncommon.
How much time you spend navigating the stages of grief also varies from person to person. It might take you hours, months, or longer to process a loss and heal from it.
You might not experience all these stages of grief or in the order listed above. You could go back and forth from one stage to another.
You may even skip all these emotions and process your loss differently altogether. The five stages of grief are supposed to serve you as a reference, not as a rule.
Connections Between Anger And Stress
When we feel overly stressed, we can become more prone to anger, and in this state, both anger and stress can become more difficult to manage. When the fight or flight response is triggered and we are physiologically aroused as a result, we may find ourselves more easily angered. Here are some reasons for this:
- When stressed, we may more often perceive a situation as threatening, and this can trigger anger more easily.
- When the fight or flight response is triggered, we may not be thinking as clearly or rationally, which can leave us feeling less capable of coping.
- When physiologically aroused by the body’s stress response, emotions can escalate more quickly, which can lead to a quick temper.
- Factors that contribute to stress, like threats to social standing, emotional wellbeing, or just too many demands, can also lead to anger.
- Anger and stress can feed off of each other, where we may become more easily angered when stressed, and poor reactions to anger can create more stress.
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Bargaining Let’s Make A Deal
Health Minister John Haggie has frequently spoken out about those looking for a way out of the physical distancing and “stay at home” requests of the public health emergency legislation. While businesses can be ordered to close, what individuals do is voluntary, and government seems loath to that heavy-handed, for now.
So, Haggie says, people are looking for “not me” loopholes so they can travel, shop and live as they wish.
“For heaven’s sake, what is it that I have to say to get people to understand that looking for loopholes like this may give you a short-term buzz and a feeling of getting away with something,”Haggie said during an April 13 briefing. “But at the end of the day, you then take back everyone else’s viruses to give to your loved ones and your family.”
Depression is a tough thing to address, but it’s real, and it clearly seems to be evident in the pandemic. I’ve read posts from friends who struggle with mental health issues at the best of times, and these last weeks have been very challenging indeed. Other friends are encountering overwhelming feelings that are new to them. That this is happening when there is restricted access within the health system to clinicians is concerning.
Identify The Cause Of Your Anger
Oftentimes we immediately know what has made us angry, but not always. When we feel angry, sometimes we’re angry with something else and the target we’ve identified is safer than the one that’s really made us angry .
Sometimes there are many things that have built up, and the trigger of our anger is simply the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. And sometimes the triggering event has simply hit on some deeper unresolved anger that we’ve been harboring this is often the case when our response seems disproportionate to the triggering event, particularly when other stresses and triggers aren’t obviously involved.
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Managing Rather Than Ignoring Anger
Anger should be managed rather than stifled or ignored because it can provide us with information about what we want, what we don’t want, and what we need to do next. When seen as a signal to listen to rather than an emotion to ignore or be ashamed of, anger can be a useful tool. Listening to anger as a signal does not, however, mean believing and acting on every angry thought we have or urge we have when enraged, obviously.
Uncontrolled anger can lead to greater problems than the issues that triggered the anger in the first place. It is important to pay attention to feelings of anger when they are mild, evaluate where they are coming from, and decide in a rational manner the best course of action to take to manage the anger and the situation that triggered the anger. This can be easier said than done, however.
Here are some things to remember when managing anger.
How To Grieve Healthily With The Loss Of A Loved One
There is no wrong or right way to grieve, but there is a healthy way of expressing grief. If you recently experienced the loss of a dearly beloved, the key is not to isolate yourself. As you experience grief, you may find yourself preferring to withdraw yourself from others. You will find it easier to deal with the loss if you have your friends and family with you. You dont need to talk about the loss every time you interact with them just having their presence is good enough.
When you recently experienced a loss, also try to avoid unhealthy behaviors like drinking too much and substance abuse. Try to live a productive life, focus on what you have, spend time with your family, take care of your physical and mental health, and look forward to happy days ahead. Try to accept the grief by drawing comfort in your faith, joining a support group, or talking to a counselor. If you need to talk to someone and learn how to live with the grief, schedule an appointment with Kentucky Counseling Center now. Sometimes, all you need is someone to talk to, and in time, everythings going to be okay.
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Attachment Theory And Grief
Legendary psychologist John Bowlby focused his work on researching the emotional attachment between parent and child. From his perspective, these early experiences of attachment with important people in our lives, such as caregivers, help to shape our sense of safety, security, and connections.
British psychiatrist Colin Murray Parkes developed a model of grief based on Bowlby’s theory of attachment, suggesting there are four phases of mourning when experiencing the loss of a loved one:
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 grief could be divided into five stages. Her observations came from years of working with terminally ill individuals.
Her theory of grief became known as the Kübler-Ross model. While it was originally devised for people who were ill, these stages of grief have been adapted for other experiences with loss, too.
The five stages of grief may be the most widely known, but its far from the only popular stages of grief theory. Several others exist as well, including ones with seven stages and ones with just two.
The five stages of grief are:
Not everyone will experience all five stages, and you may not go through them in this order.
Grief is different for every person, so you may begin coping with loss in the bargaining stage and find yourself in anger or denial next. You may remain for months in one of the five stages but skip others entirely.
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Challenges That Result From Poorly Managed Anger
Like poorly managed stress, anger that isnt handled in a healthy way can be not only uncomfortable but even damaging to ones health and personal life. This can, of course, lead to greater levels of stress and anger. Consider the following research on anger:
These are just a few of the many studies linking anger to physical and emotional health problems, from the obvious to the unexpected. Because poorly managed anger presents such a significant problem in so many areas of life, its important to take steps toward learning and using healthy anger management techniques in daily life, along with stress management techniques.