Betrayal & The Stages of Grief and Loss

We all experience grief and loss throughout our lives. Information can be soothing to help us in times when we feel overwhelmed.

The stages of grief can be applied to a number of life transitions – from the loss of a friendship, job, pet, marriage, or death of a friend or family member. We have a perfectly designed central nervous system and the ability to recover from adversity naturally. We are designed to adapt and move through pain and discomfort. Without lows we cannot experience highs and without great love we cannot experience deep loss and sorrow. The stages of grief and loss are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, acceptance

  1. Shock: This is a person’s initial sense of paralysis and shock following bad news.Shock tends to slow down the body’s reactions and lead to confusion or unconsciousness. In mental health, people sometimes use the term shock to refer to an emotional reaction that causes similar symptoms. People sometimes say they are in shock when they feel numb and unable to react to a sudden tragedy or trauma
  2. Denial: Denial is an attempt to avoid the pain of the loss. Sometimes people distract themselves with other pursuits. It isn’t true, refusal, or it’s true but I don’t want to deal with it. 
  3. Anger: Anger is a reaction to the loss of control that often accompanies a loss. A person may experience overwhelming feelings of frustration or project their anger to a specific source, such as God, a doctor, or the person who shared the bad news.
  4. Bargaining: Bargaining is an attempt to regain control. During this stage, a person tries to find a way to escape the pain. For example, a person dying of cancer might adopt a very healthy lifestyle, or a parent whose child is dying might spend lots of time praying. Making deals with god or oneself to mitigate the truth.
  5. Depression: When bargaining fails and a person realizes they cannot control the loss, they may enter a state of intense depression.
  6. Testing: During this stage, a person experiments with ways to better manage and cope with the loss.
  7. Acceptance: During acceptance, a person integrates and understands the loss. This does not mean they are “over” it, but they are able to move forward. The degree to which a person is able to accept the loss and move forward depends on the specific loss, personal psychological factors, a supportive environment, and more.