Why Do We Grieve?

Published on January 21st, 2019

Updated on January 8th, 2024

Why Do We Grieve?

Grieving can be painful, but it is a natural part of life. We all grieve loss at different times in life and can grieve things other than the death of a loved one. A person may grieve for different reasons, and each grief experience is important to go through in order to come to terms with the loss you are feeling.

Sometimes people may try to fight back or minimize their grief, and sometimes the grieving process is delayed or unlike a person’s previous experiences with grief. Regardless of the object or person of loss, it is important to embrace the grieving process. The following are common reasons why a person may grieve other than the death of a loved one:

The Loss or Ending of a Relationship

Grief can be felt when a person experiences a loss or end of a relationship. Both romantic relationships and friendships are deeply valued by people. When a relationship or friendship ends it can cause a person pain and grief. A person can also grieve when the integrity of such a relationship is compromised.

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Some examples that could cause grief of the loss or end of a relationship include:

The Loss of Financial Security

Financial security is deeply valued by people. Feeling financially secure brings a sense of safety. It also brings a sense of pride and status that people value. When financial security is lost a person can experience grief. This type of grief can cause a person to feel insecure, exposed, and worthless. It can also cause a person to experience trauma, depression, or anxiety in reaction to a loss of security, status, and lifestyle.

Some examples that could cause grief due to the loss of financial security include:

A Decline in Health

A person’s sense of self-sufficiency, safety, and autonomy can be compromised when their health begins to decline. The new struggles that come with a decline in health can lead to a sense of loss of personal freedom and independence. 

A decline in health can cause anxiety and apprehension about the future, which is referred to as anticipatory grief. It can also cause a person to feel like a burden to others, or like a prisoner to their changing health. This is especially the case when a person is rendered immobile or unable to care for themselves on their own as a result of their decline in health.

A person can grieve the decline in the health of a loved one. Watching a loved one’s health decline, whether due to aging or illness, can cause overwhelming grief and sadness. Grief can also occur when a person’s mental health or cognitive functions begin to decline.

Some examples that could cause grief of a decline in health include:

The Loss of An Object of Value or Affection

People can develop deep connections to material objects, celebrities, people of influence who they relate to, places, and animals or pets. The loss of any of these objects of value and affection can result in grief.

This form of grief can be considered disenfranchised grief. Disenfranchised grief is grief that is not easily understood or accepted by social standards. Other people tend to not understand why people are grieving. This causes the grieving person to have their grief invalidated, dismissed, or minimized by others. 

Some examples that could cause grief due to the loss of an object of value or affection include:

Consequences of Unresolved Grief

Whatever has been lost, it is important to embrace the grieving process. Grieving is not always easy, but resisting the grieving experience can cause more mental health consequences. People who are rejecting their grief or are struggling to grieve are at risk for other mental health challenges, including:

Counseling is available for people who are struggling to grieve. Whatever you are grieving, you can seek grief counseling to aid in your recovery. Grief counseling can help you confront and feel your grief in a healthy way. It is possible to resolve grief without counseling, but if you find yourself struggling to resolve your grief or begin your grieving process, there are grief counselors who can help.

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