Overcoming a bereavement: how to understand that you have succeeded

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Louise Hay
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Overcoming a bereavement: how to understand that you have succeeded

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

It is not always easy to understand if one has been able to overcome a bereavement. The psychological reaction to loss may still be unfinished and act like an infected wound, like a camouflaged lesion that fills our lives with conditioning, with limitations. It is therefore necessary to recognize the signs of unresolved grief.



By "mourning" we mean any vital event that involves detachment from something or someone significant to us. It can be the loss of a loved one, an emotional breakup, losing your job or even leaving behind a role that has identified us and made us feel fulfilled. Above all, such an event presupposes the abrupt disappearance of a bond and the extinction of an affective reality that we are forced to reconstruct.

“When the pain is recent, any attempt to distract yourself is only irritating. You have to wait until the pain is digested, at which point the fun will dissipate what is left of it. "

-Samuel Johnson-

When asked what is the best way to overcome bereavement, it can be answered that there is no universal strategy. Each person reacts differently, and this is certainly the biggest difficulty. We cannot recommend a number of "normative" techniques that can serve all of us, because there is nothing so private, messy and chaotic of pain for one perdita.

However, we cannot overlook one detail: the resilience of the human being is immense. While we will never be able to completely fill the void of that loss, we will be able to live with it. We can even allow ourselves to be happy again, although first we need to effectively deal with and overcome our grief personal.



Do not get over a bereavement: signals

Strange as it may seem, there are private and almost invisible grief in our society. They are those griefs that are sometimes unauthorized. An example is that of mothers who have a miscarriage, a traumatic event for which many women undoubtedly require specialized support often absent in hospitals.

Children are also part of this not always understood collective. Many children live their mourning in silence in an environment that still thinks that, due to their age, they do not understand what death is. On the other hand, it should be noted that men are also often part of these unauthorized bereavement.

In many countries the figure of the man continues to have that rational and protective role in which it is expected that he does not openly express his emotional pain. Often this conception hinders the rebuilding process after a loss, sometimes to the point of making chronic the state of helplessness that it is necessary to intuit and, of course, to treat.

Let's see, then, what symptoms can indicate that we have not yet passed a bereavement.

We are not yet able to talk about the person we have lost

A decisive moment must come in every grieving process. That's where we finally open up. It is that moment when we have to talk to someone about the lost relationship, that person or that complex situation that we have left behind. Talking, expressing, remembering, bringing certain memories to the present gives relief and comfort, and also promotes emotional release.


If several months and years have passed and we still can't talk about that person, the grief has not yet been over. If we perceive a wall, a lump in the throat and refuse to return that fact or that significant person to memory, we must seek professional help.


Facts that trigger excessive emotional reactions

The person can apparently lead a normal life. However, sudden emotional reactions can appear in his daily life that no one can understand. Sometimes an object, a song, a specific situation, act as a trigger for the memory.

Unresolved pain suddenly emerges when the door to that past is open where there is the void of loss, still present as an open wound.

Constant lifestyle changes

Another obvious fact that indicates a bereavement could not be overcome is the constant need to make changes. Some people are unable to hold the same job for more than two months. Friends, hobbies and even interests change. Nothing satisfies or relieves and everything ends up boring. The search for new things that make us forget is almost constant.

Mood swings

Not getting over a bereavement often leads the person to alternate moments of euphoria with moments of isolation and great apathy. It oscillates between the need to be surrounded by people and the search for solitude and personal recollection. All of these are obvious signs of disguised bereavement that reduce the person's quality of life.

OK It is worth mentioning that in many of these cases it is common to end up diagnosing subclinical depression. It is a disorder in which there are no clinical criteria for major depression or minor depression or dysthymia, however emotional exhaustion is evident.


How to understand that you have overcome the grief?

So far we have seen all the more or less camouflaged symptoms that would indicate that our loss is still too present. Enough to condition our life, limit it and leave us trapped in a state of chronic suffering. Furthermore, many of these symptoms end up giving rise to psychological disorders that further reduce our ability to progress, to allow us to be happy again.


We must understand that we must give the brain time to adapt to a reality that has changed abruptly and even unfairly.. And for this, in this transition period that can last for months and years, our environment, our attitude and even good professionals will help us to work on the outstanding and particular issues of our grief.

Among the clues that help us understand that a person has managed to overcome a bereavement are:

  • Can speak normally about the lost person. She allows herself to get excited or even cry, but she does it with acceptance.
  • It sets itself new vital goals.
  • Create a space within yourself for the person in question. Far from leaving it behind, he keeps it as a precious asset to be integrated into his own reality, but without depending on it. He remembers her with love and affection, but without letting the pain block her.
  • It opens up to what surrounds it. He says "yes" to the possibility of meeting new people, to expand his own relationships, and let positive emotions embrace her without burdens on conscience or guilt.

The happiness that we allow ourselves to experience today can be a good tribute to the people who are no longer there, but who live well protected in our hearts.

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