- Gender and Relationships
The 5 Stages in Broken Relationship Grief
Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief
Understanding the 5 stages of broken relationship grief can help when you are going through the aftermath of a relationship breakup.
I want to cover the five stages of grief with you, so that you will know where you are at and that the grief you are experiencing is normal and finite.
The Grief Process
Grieving is a process and this process works through five distinct stages. Going through the stages of broken relationship grief is much the same as going through any other kind of grief, and knowing about it can help give you the relief you need that you will get through it, as difficult as it may seem to you at the time.
For some people, just knowing that what they are feeling is normal and natural, is enough to alleviate the fear that this dreadful feeling will not go away, nor will it seem so much like a tunnel with no light at the end of it. Knowing the different stages can help grieving people mark their progress and reassure themselves that they are making headway and that the end of this experience is one step closer. It also helps them identify any stage where they may get stuck and when to seek professional help.
So what are the 5 stages of broken relationship grief?
They are -
Denial or numbness
Acceptance or resignation
- and here is what to expect during each stage:
Denial or numbness
When a major event happens, generally it is something that you did not expect and it takes you by surprise. So, the first reaction to something like this is denial or a feeling of this is not quite real. You find it hard to believe that it, whatever it is, has occurred and you feel nothing, or numb, or your mind won't accept that it has happened.
When it is a sudden broken relationship, it just does not sink in to begin with and you may still have the full expectation that your partner will be home after work, and then you get the realization that they won't be back, and perhaps this may happen several nights in a row. Because you have not caught up with your feelings, you don't cry, you don't feel mad, you don't feel anything; everything seems the same but surreal, different from before, never to be the same again.
If you stay in this stage or you know someone who is stuck here, get help.
Eventually your emotions and feelings thaw and you feel the pain of the change. This is where those feelings of pain, of sadness and disappointment, of rejection, can cause you to feel really angry. Anger is believed by some to be a secondary emotion usually signalling a very strong emotion underneath that the person is unable or unwilling to experience. It masks what is really happening and how you are feeling, so if you are feeling angry look for the underlying feeling, the reason that you feel angry so that you can deal with it.
One of the most common questions a person might ask themselves right now is, "Why ME?!"
This is also the time when a relationship has suddenly ended that you may feel tempted to get back at your partner for leaving you and hurting you this way, and it is important that you don't.
Remember that whatever you do at this point, you still have to live with later.
It is normal for anyone going through the grieving process to feel desperate to have their life back the way it was and stop the pain. It is at this stage they will attempt to bargain with their lost partner or with God or the universe, or 'fate,' that they will change whatever they have to in order to have a reverse in their circumstance and have things back the way they were.
It is also the time when the grieving person may sink into the 'if onlys' and blame themselves irrationally for their misfortune. This is when they find their attempt to change things is futile and sinking into the next stage can be inevitable.
When a grieving person experiences the intense feelings of pain, sadness or anger after a major event, it is common then to sink into a period of depression. No-one can stay in a heightened state of intense feelings for long periods of time without the brain needing to temporarily shut down for some time in order to help the sufferer cope without burning out. Unfortunately this is a phase where the sufferer may feel worthless and rejected, and it is the time where friends may be concerned for their welfare. This is the stage where instead of thinking of getting back at their partner, they may think of harming themselves with thoughts of not wanting to live or having nothing to live for. If this happens or they stay in this phase for too long, it may be wise to seek professional help.
As the grieving person comes through these phases they begin to see that life is not so bleak and that there is a hope for new things and new relationships.
They begin to come to terms with their loss; the loss of their relationship, the companionship of their previous partner and the dreams they once shared together. This is the final stage and each person gets here in their own time. It is a time of accepting that the relationship is over and that their partner is no longer a part of their life, that they still have worth in their own right and a life after the pain. Healing takes place fully when a grieving person gets to not only accept that their partner is gone but can wish them well and let them go.
Friends and Family
Your Support Network
These stages may seem to follow some kind of logical order but the different stages of grief can be revisited in any order, sometimes you may get all the way through to the last stage only to find yourself back at the angry stage or the bargaining stage again, but these 'relapses' should shorten and lessen over time.
The most important thing to remember through all this is not to lose touch with your family and friends. If they love you they will want the best for you and will be more than willing to be there to love and support you through this time. The other thing to remember is that even though this ending is hard to deal with, every person who comes into our lives enriches it in some way or another, and hopefully after healing, you will be able to remember the good times you shared with them, without hurt but with some fondness instead.
If you do find that you struggle to come to terms with your grief and cannot or are unwilling to impose on your family and friends for help, don't be afraid to get some help from a professional counselor, who can be the sounding board you need to express your thoughts and feelings over this major event in your life. They are trained to help and guide you to a place of healing within yourself, so that you can face your future from a position of strength, learning and hope.
The one thing to tell yourself is that you can survive this, and there are many others who have endured a similar experience, to grow through it and eventually meet someone who they were able to build an amazing future with. It is a matter of finding the right person at the right time, and perhaps also being that right person as well.
Once you have reached this point, a good thing to do would be to look at yourself and perhaps what went wrong in the relationship, and find out what you can learn from it and how to grow from it as a result.
Helpful Resources from Amazon
Sometimes getting help from a professional is not what you need. Learning more about how healthy relationships work or reading about techniques that help you get on top of your relationship woes may be all you need. Education is important in relationships as in anything you wish to do well in life and a wise person is a student always.
Please feel free to let me know about how you coped with a broken relationship, and please share any tips you found to be useful in getting over it, you may be able to help others going through this...