When Grief Seems Extreme


Part III of our series on Understanding Unresolved Grief

In our earlier articles of this series, we discussed several types of complicated grief that could indicate a problem for the bereaved. We made this distinction through observing a lack of the typical grief reactions. While having no reaction, or having a delayed grief reaction is considered abnormal or unhealthy grieving, the opposite is also true.

Distorted Grief is described as an exaggeration (distortion) of the normal grief reactions. Most commonly observed with this type of unresolved grief are extreme anger, and extreme guilt. Depending on the type of death that has been experienced, and the relationship the bereaved had with the deceased, distorted grief could manifest itself in many ways.

The other type of extreme grief is known as Chronic Grief. In chronic grief it is the intense grief reactions that do not cease. It is as though the loss has just happened, continuously. Once again, your relationship with the deceased and the way that they died play a role here as well. For example, when a husband loses his wife, in whom he relied heavily for his daily life. She was the mother, the cook, the maid, the bill-payer, the tax-preparer, the shopper, etc. Upon her death, he becomes reclusive and depressed, hires out the errands and chores that she handled, and never makes any attempt to move beyond this stage in his grief. Years later, the status quo remains.

Read more about unresolved grief and learn about specific case studies in the book by Dr. Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies

Check out the other articles in this series: Understanding Unresolved Grief

Part I: About Delayed Grief
Part II: The Dangers of Inhibited Grief