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The Stages of Grief: What Do You Need to Know?

The seven stages of grief are another popular model for explaining the many complicated experiences of loss. These seven stages include:

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  • Shock and denial: This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.

  • Pain and guilt: You may feel that the loss is unbearable and that you’re making other people’s lives harder because of your feelings and needs.

  • Anger and bargaining: You may lash out, telling God or a higher power that you’ll do anything they ask if they’ll only grant you relief from these feelings or this situation.

  • Depression: This may be a period of isolation and loneliness during which you process and reflect on the loss.

  • The upward turn: At this point, the stages of grief like anger and pain have died down, and you’re left in a more calm and relaxed state.

  • Reconstruction and working through: You can begin to put pieces of your life back together and move forward.

  • Acceptance and hope: This is a very gradual acceptance of the new way of life and a feeling of possibility for the future.

As an example, this may be the presentation of stages from a breakup or divorce:

  • Shock and denial: “She absolutely wouldn’t do this to me. She’ll realize she’s wrong and be back here tomorrow.”

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

  • Anger and bargaining: “If she’ll give me another chance, I’ll be a better boyfriend. I’ll dote on her and give her everything she asks.”

  • Depression: “I’ll never have another relationship. I’m doomed to fail everyone.”

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

  • Reconstruction and working through: “I need to evaluate that relationship and learn from my mistakes.”

  • Acceptance and hope: “I have a lot to offer another person. I just have to meet them.”


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