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Weekly Tips & Insights

The Different Types of Grief

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Grief is something we all experience for a variety of reasons in a multitude of ways. Despite its commonness, it remains a fairly taboo subject, which often leaves the grieving to feel isolated and without an outlet to share their pain. Here is a guide explaining the different forms of grief people may experience during their bereavement.

Anticipatory grief

Grief is defined as a feeling of loss, however that feeling can start before that loss officially takes place. For caregivers who are witnessing a loved one’s declining health, this feeling of anticipatory grief may occur before the end of life.

Delayed grief

There are different stages of grief, but they don’t always happen in a particular order. In fact, one may not experience grief until a considerable amount of time after a loss, perhaps due to distractions that don’t allow caregivers to process their emotions.

Masked grief

Often associated with other forms of grief, masked grief can cause the manifestation of out-of-character behavior, or even physical symptoms, due to the suppression of one’s emotions. In these cases, individuals are so disconnected from their emotions, that they may not be able to make the connection between their symptoms/behavior and their grief.

Disenfranchised grief

Grief is hard enough to deal with, but the added burden of not having our pain realized makes it even more challenging to bear. Disenfranchised grief is when people - or even society - does not accept a person’s reason for grieving due to a variety of reasons, including the bereaved person’s connection to the person they’re grieving, or grieving a loss that isn’t explicitly a death.

Complicated grief

Though there is no set period of appropriate grieving time or manner for bereavement, this specific term explains feelings of prolonged or even traumatic grief that impacts one’s ability to function in life. Though all grief is complicated, this type of grief is often characterized as self-destructive behavior, or unhealthy coping mechanisms that treat symptoms of grief, without addressing the root of the emotion behind them.

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