Last weekend I chat with a friend about 5 stages of grief. For the record, we both are overthinker, you know what overthinker do, we over think everything. Most of them are petty-mundane things. But now I want to make a good use out of those thoughts, so let’s put it down in here.
First of all, let’s remind us the meaning of grief…
Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss. [Wikipedia]
All of us ever felt a loss. It happens in various intensity, depending on how deep emotional bond we have towards that particular person. I am talking about grieving post break-up.
Some of us could easily move on, go with someone new and don’t give a damn about that past relationship which obviously didn’t work. Some of us, drowning in the grief, in self-loathe state or get depressed.
I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt!
And I wish I would never experience that kind of emotional state anymore in my life. It was very much devastating and cost me a lot of resources, both on therapist bill and very much time consuming. So, other than talking to the therapist and did all of those ‘homework’ she gave me, to quicken the session with her, I did my own method: finding out how to get rid of this unpleasant feeling. I wanted to be free from this grief as fast as I can, but I didn’t know how and what kind of stage awaits for me. I was clueless.
Until… I stumbled upon this theory about 5 Stages of Grief from Kubler-Ross. Those stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I’ll try to explain and break down these stages. This situation may be similar to yours, and I hope, by knowing on which stage you are on, you can help yourself to get on the next stage easier.
First Stage: Denial.
On this stage, you think that the break up is temporary. You think he’s just leaving for several days. After he made up his mind, everything will be just fine and will be back to normal. He will come back. Why? Because no much changes so far, other than he is away from you for a couple of days, you are still doing your normal activity just like before the break up happened.
You think that you’re just giving him the time he needs. You think that you’re giving him a space to think it over again. You’ll wait until he texts you again and comes over to talk about the last problem you both had.
But it never happened. He never comes back. He never talk to you again.
Second Stage: Anger
The numbness wears off, he never texted you, he never came over, he didn’t reply your text. And the painful realization of the loss hits full-force; you will yearn deeply for your lost loved one. You may be angry and be starting to regret the things left unsaid or plans that will never happen. You will start rationalizing things, why you shouldn’t cry over him. You will remember all of his flaws and try to find the reason to put the blame on him. You will remember all the things you don’t like about him. You will find out some reasons, or even making it up in your mind and exaggerate it, just so you have reason to feel angry towards him.
You will start rationalizing things, why you shouldn’t cry over him. You will try to remember all of his flaws and try to make an excuse, just so you can put the blame on him. You will remember all the things you don’t like about him. You will find out some reasons, or even making it up in your mind and exaggerate it, just so you have reasons to feel angry.
You are disappointed. You really mad at him because he didn’t want to do what you want him to do. Because he stops loving you. He shuts down the communication between you two. You need a good reason why you have to forget him and all the things about him.
But you failed. You can’t find a good reason to hate him. That’s why you get into this next stage…
Third Stage: Bargaining
You will try to contact him (again and again). You will ask him to meet you. You’ll do anything to make your world -where there is him in it, back into normal. You promised him that you will change whatever flaws you have. You will do anything he wants you to do. You will bargain when in fact, you have nothing to bargain. You will pathetically beg him to be back into you arms again.
But it’s impossible for you to convince him. His decision is confirmed and non-negotiable. He left the relationship behind and moved on with his life.
So comes the next stage…
Fourth Stage: Depression
The storm of intense emotions of the third stage gives away to a period of heavy sadness and silence. You will withdraw yourself from family and friends. You’d prefer to spend your time alone in your home.
You will crayy crayy craay over those old text messages, sweet emails, your photographs with him, jewelry he gave you, his scent on your pillow, the plans you’ve made with him, that super huge teddy bear he gave you, and all of those little things which reminds you of him.
You will come to those places you both used to hang out together. You will breathe in his scent on your pillow and not want to change the pillow case, just to preserve the marks of his existence around you.
You think that by doing so, you wouldn’t miss him that much anymore, then you’ll find yourself wrong.
You’ll find his stuff in the corner of your house and cry over it. You’ll eat the food you both used to enjoy together and hope it will reduce the feeling of missing him, then again, you’ll find yourself wrong. Hence, you have ben losing your appetite for a long time. You’ll cook his favorite dishes and eat a spoon of the food alone at the pantry whilst think about how happy he used to be when he enjoyed your cooking. How he used to hug you from behind as you cooked.
You’ll watch movies you both used to watch together and thinking about his thoughts and opinions about the movie. You’ll miss his presence on your side. You’ll miss him.
You’ll miss talking about problems you have had at work, you’ll miss gossiping about those gadgets or talking about that news people shared on fark or simply discuss those nifty apps on android with him.
You’ll miss talking about Cedric and Chen with him or about the Smurf. You’ll miss the discussion about current issues with him and or the books you both recently read. You’ll miss him, his scent, his voice, his eyes, his hugs, everything about him.
It is so painful you’ll cry in your sleep. You’ll miss this dearest person who once loved you. This stage can last for a few hours, days, a few weeks, several months, or even many years. It depends on the resilience in you and how much self-worth you have.
Until then… you’ll get tired. You’ll be suffocated by your own sadness. You’ll get bored and want something new.
You’ll start to remember how was your life before you met him. It was alright.
You will open those curtains and let the sunshine in, you will play those lively tunes on your iPod, clean up your room, wash those 3 weeks old dishes, refill that essential oil burner with that lavender vanilla scent. You will throw away those 4 weeks old rubbish. You will wear your favorite dress and go out with your wide open smile on your face.
Therefore, you’are on this last stage…
Fifth Stage: Acceptance
What is grief? | It’s an expression of love. When you grieve, you allow yourself to love again.
You’ll start to feel the positive emotions. You’ll realize that you both weren’t really good to be together. You’ll realize that the relationship simply didn’t work. That is the big bold fact you can’t deny anymore. You’ll realize that you need to move on with your life. You’ll realize that you actually could have met somebody new and nothing wrong with that. You’ll raise your chin up and start a new date with someone new.
Sadness will lessen greatly, and new interests will gradually occupy your thoughts more and more, crowding out the misery and desolation. The final stage is when you pull your life back together. That’s when you realized that you just got locked into a routine — a comfortable routine, a cycle you don’t think will ever break. You’re almost never prepared for it to break when it does. You were just in a state of shock because a part of your daily routine and a big part of your life for the past several years is no longer there. You just have to readjust.
You can start everything all over again. This is not the end of everything. Yes, he was a significant person in your life. But now you and he have to be apart, completely separated. You can not grow anymore in the relationship. There is nothing left in there for you.
At this moment, you’ll realize that everyone is replaceable. Including you and him. You have swallowed the fact that everything will come to an end, period. You will find the whole meaning of ‘nothing last forever’ and you will remember that when you meet someone new and start a new relationship with them.
Yes, someone will come to your life to replace the previous one, eventually. Yes, the feeling might be different, but hey why being sad when you can actually be happy?
And, there is no obligation to jump into a new relationship. You can do what you always wanted to do when you were in a relationship but haven’t got a chance to do it because your ex simply didn’t like it. You can do it now. You have your 24 hours for you and yours alone.
Now you have your feet on the ground and you’ll always keep it that way. Congratulations! Being single is always better than being in a relationship that holding us back from being the best version of ourselves. 🙂