The stages of grief are listed below, but bear in mind this is not a case of us going through one and into the next and so on. We can be in different stages at different times.
Even though we know the relationship is over, we really don’t believe it. We go around doing our day-to-day business, trying to make things normal and deny how we truly feel because it is too painful. True therapy, we can allow ourselves to slowly and safely come to terms with the loss.
Anger can be directed toward the person for leaving the relationship or through a loved one’s death, even though their death might not have been their fault. Angry at God or the universe, angry at people or situations associated with the breakup. In anger, we can make decisions that ultimately end up hurting ourselves and others. Working through and safely expressing this anger in therapy can help avoid those hurts!
Bargaining happens when the pain we feel is too much and we will begin to bargain with our loved one to come back to us if a relationship has ended or bargaining with the universe or God to make it alright.
Depression is feeling tired all the time, not wanting to do anything but lay in bed, feeling disconnected from people even when we’re around them, being on the verge of tears most of the time, having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of appetite or overeating, increase in drug or alcohol use. We can believe that nothing will ever be or feel different than it is right now. We can feel like we will never move on and that nothing will ever work out for us in the future. Talking and expressing how we are will release the pain and allow us to move on.
Here we are able to make peace with the loss. It doesn’t always come on suddenly; it often happens gradually, little by little, having jumped from stage to stage and back again. In acceptance, it doesn’t mean that we are now completely free of the pain of the loss. Every time we think of the person or the loss, it will hurt. We can however make peace with the loss, letting go of the relationship and slowly moving forward with our lives. Being in the present and looking forward de-intensifies the feeling of grief and the memory starts to hurt less.