This is a stage that helps a person come out of grief. When a person faces a loss, he/she will go into denial at first. Then follows the bargaining and anger. After this comes the depressive state followed by acceptance. These stages of grief need not follow in this pattern, some stages can be skipped. But whatever stage one is in, one needs to allow that stage to come and go. Otherwise there will be an unexplained state of mind that can be disturbing.
I met two ladies who are undergoing a loss in their lives. One has lost her husband and another is on the verge of losing her relationship. The first lady who has unfortunately lost her husband was in a state of denial. She projected a calm exterior, and reassured her family she is fine. She kept insisting to me she is fine.
During the course of her session, she repeatedly projected a wall where the memories of her husband was stored. She refused to go into that area, and felt any show of pain or sorrow was a sign of weakness. She denied she was in denial and said she had accepted her loss. She felt life has to go on, and she needs to care for her child.
Finally she admitted she was in denial. Unless she faces her denial, unless she allows her grief to run its course, she would not resolve this loss. She could slip into depression, but she is a determined lady. She is also practical and has a good support system. She cannot be ready for any new relationship unless she completes her grieving. She finally understood this and agreed she needed to go into the area that she was consciously avoiding.
Another lady is in denial, bargaining and depressive mood by turns. She is on the verge of losing her relationship. Her husband has asked for a few months of alone time to decide if he can continue in this relationship. She is naturally shattered; she had felt their relationship was strong. There have been upheavals; but she felt they had gained so much in the relationship, they would weather most of the storms. Now she is shaken.
She is in denial their relationship has developed fissures and that repair may not be possible. She feels the thread can be picked up and they can continue as before. She admits there could be some changes, but feels that he will return. She is heavily into praying and also quite depressed.
Her problem is she has invested a lot of herself and her love in her husband. She has little left for her children and her family. She has nothing for self. Any such equation is bound to bring trouble.
One needs to understand that no couple are born in pairs or go on the ultimate journey in pairs. Of course some couples do go in such a fashion. But the general trend is you are born alone and you go alone. So one needs to learn to depend on oneself, love oneself and not lose one’s identity. This lady has to understand that having given the power of her happiness to her husband is what is giving her so much pain now.
She has two choices. She can either suffer this pain, feel desolate and rejected. Or she can pick herself up, discover what it is she as a person wants and try to go down that path. There will be pain, but no sense of desolation and rejection. The latter two feelings will be for a shorter period. The self that has been subjugated for long, it will require some retrieving. She may feel there is no self or there is no need for the self. But reality is there is need. Or one’s personal growth gets stunted.
When she reaches the acceptance stage, she would have realized the existence of her self. The fact is she had never allowed it to come to the fore. Her husband may or may not return. She needs to understand this possibility. Only if she reaches the acceptance stage, when her husband returns, she will not subjugate her love and self again like before. There will be a healthy respect for self and the dynamics of the relationship will subtly shift.