What You Need To Know About Grief


Know Your Grief

This article will cover and explain many of the terms used in relation to grief. Understanding these will help you accept what you or a person close to you is going through in this process.

Abbreviated Grief is a short-lived grief response in the way that the grieving process seems shorter because the role of the deceased is immediately filled by someone/something else.

Absent Grief is a response when the bereaved shows no signs of grief whatsoever and acts as if nothing has happened.

Anticipatory Grief is the normal mourning a person feels when they are anticipating the death of a loved one.

Chronic Grief is a response that displays as strong grief reactions, which do not subside over a long period of time.

Collective Grief is a response felt by a collective group such as a society, village, community or nation leading to mass causality. 

Complicated Grief is a response that lies outside the norm of grieving in terms of extended periods of grieving or responses that seems out of proportion. ‘Chronic Grief’, ‘Delayed Grief’, and ‘Distorted Grief’ all fall under the umbrella of ‘Complicated Grief’.

Cumulative Grief is a response when a person suffers multiple losses or deaths close together.

Delayed Grief is a response of grief long after someone has died. This can happen as conscious or subconscious avoidance of the reality and pain of the loss.

Developmental Loss is related to maturation and continued development. Developmental losses often carry a gain with them.

Disenfranchised Grief is grief over a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, mourned publicly or supported socially.

Distorted Grief is a response where the grieving person experiences intense, extreme or atypical reaction to the loss such as self-destructive actions or extreme changes in behavior. Hostility and anger towards yourself and others are common.

Exaggerated Grief is a response where the reactions and responses to grief are extreme or excessive.

Inhibited Grief is a response of a griever who does not externally show any signs of grieving for an extended period of time.

Instrumental grieving pattern is where individuals experience grief physically such as in restlessness or excessive cognitive activity. They will find adaptive strategies include being active (wanting to do something) and thinking it through.

Intuitive grieving pattern is where individuals experience and express grief in an affective way. Grieving individuals will find adaptive strategies that are oriented toward the expression of affect (=emotions).

Masked Grief is a response where the reactions to grief impair your normal functioning. You may be unable to realize these symptoms and behaviors yourself as they are often masked as physical symptoms or other abnormal behaviors.

New Normal is the term referring to the person’s experience of self and the surrounding world after a traumatic loss of a loved one. This term is often used among bereaved parents to speak about the experience post loss.

Normal Grief is when the bereaved progresses in a normal way gradually moving towards acceptance of the loss and, as time goes by, are able to reenter life and engage in daily activities.

Pathological Grief is the kind of grief that chronically keeps a person from functioning, a disabling sense of distress and impairment of mind and body that calls for medical treatment.

Physical Loss refers to the loss of something that is no longer present.

Prolonged Grief is a response where the reactions are prolonged and intensified.

Relational Loss is the end of a relationship with someone, not necessarily through death.

Secondary Loss is the loss or losses that follow as a consequence of a primary loss.

Situational Loss is loss that is usually anticipated with anxiety and brings about a change. Examples are physical loss, relational loss and symbolic loss.

Sudden or Traumatic Grief is a response when death happened sudden, without warning and therefore gives no time for preparation.

Traumatic Grief is a normal grief response to the death of your child perceived to be horrifying, unexpected, violent or traumatic.

Untimely death is when death happens out of phase or cycle of life, too early for what would be expected.


Photo Credit: Raven Essences

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