Monday, October 5, 2009

Grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining

Grief is a common process most people go through after such sad events. The grieving process, which may continue for several weeks or months, has five clearly identifiable stages:

One of the first responses to grief is denial. You may find yourself at times unwilling to believe that such a terrible thing is happening to you. Jessica displayed this response when she retreated to her room and refused to talk about what was happening at home. One of the ways your mind and emotions will try to handle the shock of your grief is to say, "No way, this is not happening to me."

A second stage in responding to grief is anger. When grappling with the inevitable ques­tion "Why did this happen?" you may find your­self lashing out angrily because there is no reasonable answer to that question. You have lost a large measure of your personal security, and it seems terribly unfair. Like Jessica's sister, Karen, your anger may be vented at one or both of your parents for going through with the divorce. Or like Jessica, your anger may be at the divorce itself more than at the participants. Your anger may even be directed at yourself because you suspect that you were somehow to blame for what happened.

A third stage of grief is bargaining with God for relief from the awful event and its conse­quences. You may find yourself secretly trying to cut a deal with God, vowing to change your behavior if He will bring your parents back together. Jessica may be motivated to bargain with God by her sense of false guilt over not being a better child, which she fears has caused the breakup in some way. You may be prompted to try to cut a deal with God both to reunite your parents and to make up for perceived failures. (To be continued).

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