Coping with Grief
October 2010

Grief is a natural emotion that we all experience. It can be as a result of the loss of a treasured object, a relationship, a skill, a physical attribute, a person, a pet. It follows a fairly well established course for most people. The stages can include anger, denial, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Depending on the degree of attachment to the lost entity, a person suffering grief will experience at least some of these stages for varying periods. The loss of a close valued relationship through death can take considerable time to recover from and sad feelings will persist for a year or more, and of course the memory of that person and the loss will always be there. This is a natural process and allowing it to happen will assist it.


People can become immersed in one of the stages. For instance, where a deceased person's belongings and room become like a shrine, then the grieving person is probably remaining in a form of denial about the death and may need help to come to terms with it.


A bereaved person may embark on a crusade, perhaps against authorities who did not save the life of their loved one. This anger can be useful in effecting change, but can also have considerable negative impact on family and way of life if it becomes all consuming. Ultimately learning to accept the event will help bring closure.


Depression and loneliness can become debilitating often because the surviving person was dependent on the person departed. This dependency could be around daily life, where the partner was the person who managed all financial issues or all household chores, and/or there may have been an emotional dependency where the couple did everything together. You may be aware of people who cannot write a cheque, or who cease to care for their own well being after losing a spouse. Assistance in improving basic coping skills and forming a social network will be essential to return normality to these people's lives.


Sometimes there is extreme weariness from having been a support person through a prolonged illness, sometimes there had been a secret wish that the person would die soon, and there can be memories of injury, physical illness and/or a difficult departure that linger. These memories become intrusive in your life, arising when you do certain things or as distressing dreams. The impact of intrusive traumatic memories can be substantially lessened by using NLP/hypnosis techniques


Grief can also become problematic when things are not straightforward in the relationship prior to the death. When there are significant regrets or guilt - perhaps the last communication was an angry one, or there might be a sense of responsibility for the death either by omitting to do something or by some perceived harmful action - grief can be prolonged and become difficult to overcome. It is useful to talk through the regrets with a trained counsellor, and defuse the issues, allowing acceptance. The guilt can also be helped by using NLP /hypnosis techniques.


When the grief is caused by rejection by a living partner, ie a relationship breakup, the grief/anger/desire for revenge can become obsessional. The events of the break up are reviewed, wrongs gone over, hurts ruminated about. Powerlessness and repressed anger can fuel depression, and severely impair the sufferer's ability to sleep and to cope with life. The person will constantly come to mind, in hurtful and tender memories. This takes its natural course, and eventually equilibrium is restored. This process can be made much shorter and less consuming by using NLP/hypnosis techniques.


Grief over the loss of status, a limb, a job, stolen possessions are all accompanied by similar emotional processes. The ability to cope with loss is an important factor in longevity. Grief can shorten your life. Make sure you seek counselling if it goes on too long.