Anger is a broad feeling and it can be directed at anyone: at the source of the grief (the person who died, the parents who divorced, the parent who left), inward, at god, or at someone you feel is responsible for the death or separation of your loved ones. The way a person acts out their anger depends on their age and personality. Children, who are less capable of verbalizing their feelings, tend to cry a lot and become clingy, while adults can lash out at each other, shout, and punch things. Anger is a normal part of grieving but must be carefully monitored so that the person who is angry doesn’t hurt others or themselves.
Bargaining is a stage in which you try to gain back what you lost, even though in your heart you know it’s impossible. People may make deals with god or promise to take on/drop certain behaviors if they can just get back what they’ve lost.
When it finally hits you that no amount of anger or bargaining can bring back what you’ve lost, that is when sadness sets in. Crying is characteristic of this stage, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns are common. This is typically the longest stage in the grieving process. It can be overcome as you naturally move toward the acceptance stage, but in some cases, people get stuck here. That is when professional help should be sought.
The final stage of grief doesn’t mean that all your trouble and sadness are behind you. It does mean, though, that you have come to accept the loss that has occurred and what it means for your life moving forward. Some people achieve some sort of peace while others simply learn to live with a gaping hole. Acceptance is certainly something that takes time to reach, and it’s important to go through the other stages before arriving here.
Why Dealing with Grief is Important For Your Well-Being
Dealing with grief head-on is important for your well-being on so many levels. Without going through the stages of grieving, you can get stuck at one of the early stages – denial, anger – and never gain the tools for moving forward with your life. You may have trouble forging new relationships for fear of your previous loss. If you feel that you are having a hard time progressing through the stages of grief, you can reach out for professional help. Losing a loved one can be a traumatic experience, and there’s nothing wrong with seeking help to get you through it.