We each grieve in our own way. When we allow ourselves to express our feelings of sadness, they tend to clear out of us naturally and usually lead to acceptance of the loss. However, when this process becomes blocked as it often does for a variety of reasons; grief can lead to chronic depression, anger, anxiety, and a variety of other stifling emotions and conditions.
So let’s look at how grief (over loss) is typically handled by the stages:
- Stage One―Self-pity can be quite intense along with anger (at who or what you have lost) over your difficulty about separating emotionally. You may also be in denial about the loss (e.g., difficulty believing that someone is really gone), or overwhelmed by a loss resulting in conditions such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or even major depression requiring intensive treatment.
- Stage Two―Loss may become yet another excuse for acting out and displacing feelings such as anger on to others.
- Stage Three―You practice traditional grieving rituals (such as those of your religion or community)… You may find yourself judging others who grieve differently than you do as wrong.
- Stage Four―By blaming yourself for somehow causing the loss as well as for any existing unfinished business that may remain.
- Stage Five―Putting the pieces (and roles) of your life back together again, often by finding a replacement (or substitute) for whatever (e.g., a job) or whomever (e.g., a love relationship) you have lost.
- Stage Six―By understanding and allowing the process of detachment to happen via your healthy, natural, and emotional grieving process (e.g., purging painful feelings by crying and then letting go of whatever you have lost in due time) … Consciously learning how to tolerate the “void of loss” before merely filling that void with another version of whatever you have lost (such as a new job or relationship).
- Stage Seven―By knowing and accepting the non-permanence of life, life events, and situations that sadly or prematurely change … You understand that everyone grieves in their own way, therefore you can tolerate and support those who grieve in an entirely different manner … When appropriate, you forgive the people or forces responsible for the loss (including yourself).
It’s important to allow your grieving process to take place organically. So to the extent that you are not able to accept your loss within a reasonable time, look for the emotion that your grief may have morphed into.