DEATH grieving process:
A reference tool for the approximate process of grieving any loss, big or small, acknowledging that even the loss of identity or expectations can expose one to this process, so conscious awareness is advantageous. (Distraction, Emotions, Apathy, Threat, Honesty)
D: Distraction & Denial and numbness: “I’ll just watch a movie, I guess I’m just tired or bored today, I’m fine though, nothing’s wrong”.
E: Emotional Excitement … Primary reactions fuel your thoughts and actions (Anger, Anxiety, Shame, Guilt etc): “I’m so angry - this is an outrage! Who is to blame?” We may be forced into fight/flight “get away from me! “I’ll make you sorry!” “This stage can be overwhelming, so we adapt according to both our nature and past conditioning to either internalising or externalising, as shown below.
A: Apathy & Aloofness: There is a time for taking space, but dwelling on and internalising emotions may lead to hiding them and feeling helpless, pushing others away and isolating ourselves. Spend too long here and we may give up and surrender to impotence, through guilt and shame. “I’m too sad to do anything. Leave me alone.”
T: Treat or Tranquilize. Strategizing and rationalising a treatment or choosing to numb out via fantasising
by externalising the emotions creates a diagnosis: e.g. “I have depression”; we start to blame something out of our control and try to appease it. We overly focus on how we are not in control. A primary physiological need of humans is a sense of control and certainty - so we do what we can to get it back - either by coercion/instruction: “You/I/this need to stop - you shouldn’t be doing that.” or tranquilising by wishing and fantasising “please, I'm sorry, I wish this would sto!” or appeasing/ bargaining: “I wish I’d done better, please forgive me! I’ promise to be good.” if we allow this to continue we eventually internalise it as shame, at least then we can be certain of the cause, eg. “I am just a horrible person”. This may, in itself be a cathartic and necessary process, but again, mindfulness (awareness) is key to keeping it in check and apologising, rebuilding bridges and forgiveness.
H: Honesty & Healing: Honouring the truth brings acceptance and harmony, but first we need time to heal. But you have to feel to heal and to really feel you have to tell the truth, and develop real awareness, at least for yourself. when we tell the truth, even just to ourselves and we begin to accept it we can move forward. It may be hard to own our feelings and actions, but it is necessary to move on and rebuild connection, eg.“I’m prepared to look at this, process it and find peace with what happened...I forgive myself and ask for others forgiveness...” This brings healing. Healing of an emotional wound means allowing yourself to feel it but also to think clearly and truthfully about it, cleanse it of toxins and rubbish (lies, stories, guilt) and treat it with TLC.
If you notice yourself feeling something negative in relation to a loss have a look at that, because by engaging with the process you will more quickly return to joy, even though the process might be challenging for you. It could be your girlfriend just left and you feel down, it could even be that your day didn’t go as expected and you are down in the evening. Catch it early and you can move on, otherwise catch it a little later this time and you’ll catch it earlier next time. Use the R.A.I.S.E system to Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Soften and Expand through each stage:
Copyright Neil Morbey