The Stages of Grief: Denial & Bargaining

212/365 - Don't cry princess, it was only a dream.

In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross describes the five stages of grief which a person facing death encounters as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

In the ensuing decades, researchers studying the effects of grief to include loss and bereavement expanded this model into an extended grief cycle with the addition of  two additional stages. These additional stages are shock, which precedes denial, and which I have written about extensively from my own grief experience in this blog, and testing, which happens before acceptance.

However, no one who has studied or written about the stages of grief has claimed that these stages are inflexible; rather they represent a theoretical framework for the grief experience.

As human beings are complex individuals who experience and process life events differently, many variables occur in the grief process overall. While some individuals may grieve in the five or seven stages in the exact order in which they are described by Ross or other models of grief, others may experience the stages in different orders or skip some stages entirely.

When I read through my posts from last November, each of them dripping with pain, denial or some type of bargaining, I am overwhelmed by the feeling of relief of being no longer in that mind and soul numbing place of agony.

After the three days of shock, I realized that I had been in shock and knew that I was entering a new phase of  healing from this emotional disaster.

I entered the denial and bargaining stages together around the beginning of November. They went hand in hand, as I tried to make sense of my lover cheating on me. I could not comprehend that he could such a thing to me- especially after our long separation and his outpouring of love and affection to me over the previous two years.

A post about my denial:  (11/30/10~ Gifts from the Stars-2)

I still cannot believe what has happened. Every day, I think, there must be some mistake. He could NOT have lied to me like that. Every day, I think that the worst thing which could happen to me, has happened. I still think there is some mistake, and I want to send it back. This is not in my story. It cannot be that he betrayed me and that I lost him.

A post about my bargaining: ( 11/22/10~ Reflections from the Waterfall: A Return)

If this man chooses to fix the broken parts of himself, which will take hard work on his part, and a very long time, then I could consider a reunion. If he chooses to continue living in darkness and denial about his issues, then I will pray for him.

It’s  wonderful to no longer be dwelling in grief and bargaining. I am relieved, and grateful, not only to others who supported me through this time, but to myself, for being strong and resilient enough to go through that period of absolute misery. It took a lot of patience and time, and it was, without a doubt, the most painful period of my adult life.



3 thoughts on “The Stages of Grief: Denial & Bargaining

  1. Pingback: Page not found « healingbetrayal

  2. Pingback: Bargaining with the Patron Saint of Lost Causes « healingbetrayal

  3. Not many couples ever eecnriexpe what you are going through because either they’ve never had the chance to be together 24/7 so they don’t know what they are missing or they have been together 24/7 and, well, to put it nicely, would rather not Like you guys, Jeff and I have been through it and LOVE it. We’ve had to go our separate ways (workwise) as you may have to soon it’s heartbreaking but as you say, you do it, and you try to find the joy in it and learn what God is ready to teach you through it and hopefully, someday, God willing, you can find your way again to do something together again. My heart goes out to you we are always thinking about you guys and praying for you.Can’t wait to come visit you in Oregon! We are planning a trip for summer of 2010! We wish you health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression Love, The Bauers

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