There are various causes of grief, and these may include the loss of a loved one through death, the loss of a relationship such as marriage through divorce, or the shattering of a long-cherished dream. As we will see below, sometimes the grief over these various losses may set in before the losses occur.
For example, a person can grieve a marriage on the rocks and on the way to divorce before the divorce paperwork has even been drawn up or signed. The unfulfilled promise, hopes, and dreams one had for the relationship are all part of what one grieves for.
The different types of grief
Several types of grief can affect a person, and each circumstance may yield a different grief reaction. Apart from what is termed “normal grief,” there are other types of grief as follows below:
Complicated grief: This is when grief is drawn out and incapacitates a person such that they struggle to engage in everyday activities. This type of grief may be combined with other conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Disenfranchised grief: When your grief is over something that others either dismiss or don’t consider significant, one’s grief is considered disenfranchised. This can happen in several ways, such as when the death is considered trivial, or when the person you’ve lost is looked down upon in society, or the loss itself isn’t because of death, or the manner of the person’s death is stigmatized in society.
Losses such as miscarriages, or the death of an ex-spouse, or loss of someone through suicide or a drug overdose, or when you lose someone through prolonged substance abuse or dementia, may be minimized by others and cause your grief to go unrecognized.
Collective grief: This is the grief felt by a group such as a nation or community. It can occur when an event such as the death of an important figure occurs, or a community experiences a natural disaster or traumatic events such as a war or terrorist attack.
Distorted grief: We all react to grief differently, but distorted grief is when a person exhibits significant, intense, and atypical responses to grief that may be destructive toward themselves or others.
Masked grief: A person may be grieving and yet remain unaware that certain behaviors and symptoms they are exhibiting are connected to the loss they are experiencing.
Traumatic grief: Grief may be combined with distress stemming from the fact that how they lost their loved one was traumatic. If you lose a loved one through violence, a natural disaster, or in a manner that is frightening or unexpected, it may induce trauma that can limit a person’s ability to function in their daily life. That is traumatic grief.
Chronic grief: When someone experiences grief over an extended period and their symptoms do not progress or shift over that long period, which may be chronic grief.
Prolonged grief: This is similar to chronic grief, where the person experiences the symptoms and responses of grief over a long period. Because these symptoms do not dimmish, they become debilitating, and the person struggles to adapt to the loss and becomes trapped in dwelling on the loss. Long-term functioning may be impairedbecause of their grief – the things they were able to do before, such as work, take care of themselves may be affected.
Delayed grief: The reality of the loss and the experience of grief may set in much later than the typical timeframe. For whatever reason, the person doesn’t grieve until much later. This can happen in situations where a person loses their spouse, and they avoid grief to remain functional for the sake of their kids.
Anticipatory grief: The grieving process doesn’t always take place when the person is lost. In some cases, such as when you anticipate that someone will die (either because they have a terminal illness or because they may have experienced brain death and they are being kept alive by machines), the grieving process can occur while they are still alive.
The grief anticipates the loss before it occurs, and it may center on whatever hopes and dreams you shared with the person. Anticipatory grief doesn’t numb the grief that occurs after the person’s death, but it can begin to prepare one for the loss.