It is common to talk about different stages of grief, and the different stages can express themselves in different reactions. But which grief reactions are common throughout the grieving process? And is there something wrong with you if you don’t go through the usual reactions in the various phases? Before we take a closer look at the four stages of grief , it is important to point out that this is only a model, not a conclusion. Grief has its own logic, and it often goes back and forth between the various phases.
It is not a given that you touch all stages of grief in your own process. Our grief reaction is an expression of thoughts and feelings we carry, and very often it does not take into account the surroundings. This means that some people can laugh at a funeral and others can seem emotionally cold in certain situations. There are no definitive answers to what your stages of grief should look like. But if the grief does not have an outlet, and it “gets stuck” so that it affects your quality of life, then it is time to seek help to process the grief .
4 stages of grief many go through
Today, the grieving process is seen as an interaction between the individual and the environment. There are fewer and fewer who advocate that all mourners must go through all the phases of grief. We will still mention the four classic stages of grief , as these express both feelings and reactions that most mourners will recognise.
The shock phase
The loss often leads to a strong grief reaction and varying degrees of denial, paralysis or shock appear in this phase of grief. In such a phase it is difficult to accept what has happened.
Guilt and anger
In this mourning phase, one realizes that the loss is real. You may feel guilty for things that have happened. At the same time, you may begin to blame yourself for not making other choices. When grief concerns a death, one may feel that one should somehow have prevented the death. One may also feel that one should have been more present for the dying person.
If there is grief over a family member who abuses drugs, one may think that one has not been a good enough parent, sibling, etc. It is also in this phase that we see that healthcare personnel receive massive criticism, or that family feuds flare up. The grief reaction is expressed as a need to direct anger at someone or something.
This is a phase where we try to bargain . Perhaps you are desperately trying to get the doctor to change the inevitable. Perhaps you pray to a higher power, and promise with all your soul that if everything goes well or is sorted out, you will give something back of yourself.
Acceptance and redemption of grief
When you are able to accept the situation, and you are able to bear your own grief reactions, you will experience a release from the grief . It does not mean that it will never again be painful to bear, or that you are thereby done grieving. But by accepting the situation, you can give room for your feelings to be expressed. For example, it could be the need to laugh and come up with pleasant things. Or to cry and spend time with others who are also grieving.
When do I need help?
Do you feel that you are “stuck in grief”, or have you perhaps never allowed yourself to feel the feeling of loss? Are you afraid to open up about the bad feelings on your own?
At Terapivakten, we have extensive experience in helping people in crisis and grief. Our therapists have worked with both children and adults in various life crises. We can help you further in your grieving process if you feel that you are a bit stuck, regardless of which stage of grief you feel you are in. Contact us today , and we will send a therapist to your home when you are ready to come further in your grieving process.