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What are the Seven Stages of Grief?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2019
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The seven stages of grief may vary depending on the source, but they are generally considered to be, in order, shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and finally acceptance. It is believed that many people going through grief, experience these stages in a similar order, though this is certainly not a requirement, nor is it always the case. These stages also correspond to the somewhat more commonly discussed five stages of grief as determined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The first two stages of the seven stages of grief are often taken together, shock and denial. These occur immediately after receiving the news, which may not always be the death of a loved one. Many people experience severe grief after the loss of a job, for example, or the end of relationship. This period typically does not last very long before the bargaining stage can occur. Many people will discover that they find themselves thinking of what could be done to go back in time and prevent the tragedy from occurring, or praying in request to bring the person back. This is a completely normal reaction, and is considered to be the third of the seven stages of grief.

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Often, guilt accompanies bargaining as one of the seven stages of grief. People will feel guilty that they did not do something to prevent it, even if there was nothing that they could have done. This can lead to anger, either at oneself for the feelings of guilt, at the event that led to the tragedy, or sometimes even anger at the person who is gone. Depression, the next of the stages, often appears throughout the entire grief process; many people experience it immediately, while others will find that it comes and goes during the grieving process.

Acceptance is the last of the seven stages of grief, in which one will finally begin to accept the truth of the matter and reach some level of understanding. This does not mean forgetting about the person who is gone, or never again feeling sadness, pain, or anger. The process of grieving can be a lifelong event, and many people move backward and forwards through the stages as they experience it; it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Some people find that discussing things with friends, family, or even a therapist can help them to deal with their most painful emotions.

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Buster29
Post 2

@Cageybird, I'm sorry for your loss. I lost both of my parents years ago and I still feel pangs of grief. The thing I would add about the grieving process is that other people need to recognize when a grieving person has entered a new phase. There's a reason why an ex-boyfriend is suddenly trying to get back together. It's the bargaining stage. There's a reason why a spouse who just lost a parent is snappish and irritable. It's the anger stage. We all need to understand why grieving people act the way they do.

Cageybird
Post 1

I'd have to say that in my own grief experiences, the denial stage can linger for a long time. When my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer, I still expected her to just show up back at our house and talk about that time she died. Things were supposed to continue the way they had been for the first 19 years of my life. I took me a long time to acknowledge that she wasn't coming back from this.

The anger phase wasn't really directed at her, but at the disease that took her life. I couldn't stand talking about cancer or reading about cancer or hearing about other people getting cancer. I was genuinely angry

that perfectly healthy people could contract something that would eventually kill them. Scientists could accomplish hundreds of other complicated things, but they couldn't prevent or cure this disease?

I had to learn that acceptance was not what I thought it was. It was a state of mind that allowed me to move on with my own life, but it didn't magically erase the effects of those other stages of grief. I still get angry sometimes, and I still feel depressed when I think of the person I lost.

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