Types of Grief
To understand what type of grief you’re going through, we’ve listed the different kinds of grief below for you to go through. Understanding grief is a great way to see how grief and relapse can connect themselves and result in a dent in your recovery. Read through to find out which type of grief you relate to the most.
Culmulative grief happens to you when you experience losses in close succession
Cumulative grief is a collection of grievous memories that were never resolved through healthy coping mechanisms. According to Dr. Alejandra Vasquez, a professional grief counselor, cumulative grief usually “happens to you when you experience losses in close succession.”
Some examples of cumulative grief include:
- Multiple deaths of loved ones
- Loss of career
“Complicated grief is when the grief stays heavy, and the weight never seems to get lighter”
Complicated grief is when someone has difficulty transitioning from extreme grief to a lighter feeling of grief. As we know with the five steps of grief, not everyone gets to the point of acceptance with their grief. There are even some individuals that have a hard time passing the first step of grief. These complications are what is known as complicated grief.
For individuals battling addiction, dealing with grief and loss in recovery can contribute to complicated grief. Mayo Clinic describes some of the signs and symptoms of complicated grief as:
- Intense sorrow, pain, and rumination over the loss of your loved one
- Focusing on little else but your loved one’s death
- Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
- Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased
- Problems accepting the death
- Numbness or detachment
- Bitterness about your loss
- Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
- Lack of trust in others
- Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one.
“Anticipatory grief happens when you’re able to prepare for the loss before it takes place.”
Anticipatory grief happens before the actual event resulting in grief takes place. When this type of grief occurs, anyone expectant of that grief knows that it’s coming and tries to prepare for it (ex: someone on their death bed from a long fight with cancer).
For someone with an addiction, watching someone go through hospital treatment due to an overdose or any other addiction complication can attract anticipatory grief. The grief can occur after seeing things such as tubes, cords or even encountering one with the inability to do things such as use the bathroom themselves.
The symptoms of anticipatory grief include:
- Sadness and tearfulness
- Irritability and anger
- A desire to talk
- The intense concern for the person dying
- Rehearsal of the death
- Physical problems
- Fears of loss, compassion, and concern for children
Delayed & Inhibited Grief
“Delayed grief sneaks up on you, sometimes long after the loss has taken place”.
Delayed grief doesn’t activate immediately after losing a loved one, but instead, “…feelings grow stronger with time after having lost someone or something, or they find it harder to cope months later than in the initial aftermath of the event.”
It’s common for individuals to turn to vices that delay the grief as much as they can. Unfortunately, the process of grief and loss in recovery creates conflicting decisions. An individual with an addiction can find themselves at a crossroads between completing comeback or resorting to addiction.
Inhibited grief is similar to delayed grief by proxy of turning towards distractions. Inhibited grief doesn’t have to include an addiction. It can be someone overworking, exercising more than usual, or even going out to specific events all the time in an attempt to escape the possibility of grieving.
“Disenfranchised grief is characterized by isolation and feeling misunderstood.”
Those experiencing disenfranchised grief feel like the people around them don’t understand their grief. They may even fear that others see their grief as minuscule in comparison to their burdens.
Although binge drinking or drug addiction is bad for your overall health, anyone battling addiction may justify their usage under grieving circumstances.
Absent grief is a prolonged denial of losing a loved one. Some people can suppress their grief of losing a loved one for a long time. Eventually, they go through their life with the notion that the loss never happened in the first place. It is truly remarkable how long this grief can take to become present in these types of situations. The loss is essentially pushed back into the mind, not to access for quite some time. This certainly is a self-protecting type of grief.
During exaggerated grief, the griever doesn’t seem to get past the beginning steps of the grieving process, eventually feeling “lost and unable to cope.”