Is it possible to regress in the grieving process?

Just wondering if anyone out there who is mourning for someone they’ve lost found that they’ve actually been going backwards in the process? As in it is getting harder to deal with? If so, is this normal and does anyone know what this means? Does it depend on how close you were to the person? Does it depend on how much you’ve been able to talk to others about it and get it off your chest? Any info would help, 10 points for best answer


  1. <3 says:

    Last year I lost my grandfather (whom was close to me) and 3 weeks later I lost my uncle (who was also close to me) It was very hard for me and I can see where your coming from. If it gets too much worse i would recommend seeing your doctor about it. But I went backwards at times as well but I moved forward again. You didn’t mention if you had lost anyone. If you have i’m very sorry for your loss. And I hope you can make it through this time. Talking to friends helps a lot too. Or family members like sisters or aunts or brothers or cousins or someone like that.

  2. Jerry says:

    Apparent regression may occur. For example; from denial to depression. View the post on grief, at some of which follows:

    Understand that there are often several stages of grief. Those stages are: Denial: The initial stage: “It can’t be happening.” Anger: “Why ME? It’s not fair?!” (either referring to oneself, anybody, or anything perceived, rightly or wrongly, as “responsible”) Bargaining: “Just let me live to see my son graduate.” Depression: “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” Acceptance: “It’s going to be alright. Growth: Grief is a chance for personal growth. For many people, it may eventually lead to renewed energy to invest in new activities and new relationships. Some people seek meaning in their loss and get involved in causes or projects that help others. They may find a new compassion in themselves as a result of the pain they have suffered. They may become more sensitive to others, thus enabling richer relationships. Others find new strength and independence they never knew they had. After the loss, they find new emotional resources that had not been apparent before.

    Kübler-Ross originally applied these stages to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This also includes the death of a loved one and divorce. Kübler-Ross also claimed these steps do not necessarily come in order, nor are they all experienced by all patients, though she stated a person will always experience at least two. See for books on the various stages. Professional advice is to set aside 5 – 10 mns daily, and during that time, focus on all the memories and feelings involved. If you are sad; cry. If you are angry; punch a pillow. At the end of that time, go on with other things, and if such thoughts or memories come to mind, just write them down in a notebook for the next day’s session. This may well accelerate the grieving process. After a while, consider making a photoalbum/scrapbook and/or a shrine, in remembrance, and set aside; say; one day every month, perhaps on a significant date, (for example; the 17th, or the second thursday) on which to reflect.

  3. atoms says:

    Ya I work in health and we are thought that the stages of the grieving process DABDA Denial Anger Bargaining and Disbelief and Acceptance dont need to come one after the other but I dont know maybe if you regress maybe that is fine too Im not sure but it may also be unhelthy grieving proces. it would only be unhealth if you had been through that stage but I think its fine I think you can .
    I actually thought again about this question and realized that sometimes I actually regress in the grieving process and go back to actually feeling worse in the odd fleeting moment when I think about a person in my family who died 2 years ago. It is not something that i regard as wrong so ya Im sure its something the is very much there this regression for most if not all persons who have lost someone and grieve .

  4. Betty M says:

    ..There is no one way to grieve. Everyone does it differently, in their own time, and when they need to. There is no going backwards although it may feel like this at times, because inside healing is actually taking place….The five stages of grief are only an example of what we “may” go through..We can experience one stage for a long time or all stages in one day…It may appear that it gets harder to deal with when in fact it’s just that something new has come up for us that we now have to deal with..Regression and suppression are both a part of grief, how can they not be..Some people can appear okay for years, only to find that one day they become overwhelmed once again with grief, and especially for those who have lost a child…People will only move forward when they feel ready to and although one may believe they have went through a certain stage, it can always come back for us again and again, until we have closure in this particular area of it..Personal Grief keeps us close to our loved one. This is our time and no one elses…..However, the one negative and unhealthy thing that can and often does happen is when we try to replace or forget about our pain, therefore getting stuck in one of the 5 stages, usually denial. This is done when people believe that alcohol, or drugs, or some other vice can take their pain away, and instead of dealing and healing with their loss, we then become stuck. This stops the healing and natural recovery processes, and for some people, for many years, only to find when they do get clan or sober, everything is right there in front of them, waiting to be dealt with….I’ve also seen a few people go into denial and stay there until they themselves have died because it was just to painful for them for some reason, to face the reality of death…When my son died I immediately went into shock and denial. I began to care-take for everyone else, started drinking & gambling to cover the pain. Later when I went into treatment, I found myself right back to where it all began and then had to begin to deal and heal. There are times when the grief is just to much to bare and other times when I can get through a day without breaking down..I stayed in this place for a few years, until I felt I was ready to move past this place in my life..No death is ever easy to deal with, for anyone. We learn eventually when the time is right for us to continue on with certain areas of our life, but we are never again the same and we will always carry with us a hole in our hearts, that no one and nothing can ever fully mend….I hope this has helped and if you are grieving, my sympathies are with you..Take all the time you need, be patient with you but take care of you as best you can…..Just a little piece of advice.. Do not allow any one to tell you how to grieve or how long you should be grieving. This is your time to do with as you alone see fit…There is a great deal of very good and reputable information (books) available regarding this topic..Informing your self will help you to not only make your own decisions but to be very okay with them.There are also some very good grief counsellors and support groups that can help as well. If you want or need to talk again, feel free to email me.&..I do apologize for this being so long..Do take care..

  5. Diverging Point says:

    I lost a very good friend recently. He was hit by a car while riding his bike back from a party – he was killed pretty much instantly. It actually happened on February 19, but I didn’t find out about it until several weeks later, on March 12. His name was Tom. I didn’t know him for that long, about 5 months, but we were very close friends. In fact, I was amazed at how close we became in such a short time. He was like my little brother. He was only 19 years old when he died.

    I’ve known Tom has been gone for almost a month now. It’s been really hard to deal with it. Sometimes I’m okay and I think I can get through it, but there are other times when I just see him in my mind and I remember all the times we had and I start crying again. I just miss him so much. I only have a very few close friends, and Tom was one of them. We probably would have been friends for life if we had the chance.

    I’ve found that the grieving “stages” are bunk. It doesn’t really work like that. At least not with what I’m feeling right now. It’s not like you just progress in one direction from one stage to the next. It’s probably true that it does get easier as time passes. But you’ll have ups and downs. I still miss my friend and I think about him all the time. But now I can sometimes talk about him without crying. I miss him and I’d give anything to be able to see him again and hang out with him again, but I’ve slowly been able to get back to my normal routine and back to doing the things I like doing.

    Right now, what I’m trying to learn is how to move forward with my life…but without trying to pretend as if I can just go back to the way things used to be. I can’t. I can’t pretend as if my friend never existed or try to go back to how my life was before we became friends. Tom was my friend, he was a part of my life, and he will always be a part of my life. He made a permanent impression on me. So I have to learn how to continue living, and yet while still remembering my friend.

    This is my friend Tom, by the way…

    One thing too is don’t try to hide the person. Feel free to tell everyone about them and how special they were to you. Just because they’re no longer in this world, that doesn’t mean you have to try to forget about them. You should be PROUD that you knew and loved them. If you can handle it, hang up a picture you have of them, maybe with some kind of caption or note that reminds you about them. It might actually help to inspire you.

    I put a picture of my friend Tom up on my wall. I’m PROUD he was my friend and I tell everyone about him now. He had a rough life, but he never let it get to him. He always tried to be happy and positive. He just wanted to be himself and have fun. So I have a picture of him hanging up on my wall, with a caption that says “No Matter How Bad Things May Be, Always Be Yourself and Try To Have Fun.” That was what Tom taught me. So now, if I ever feel frustrated or depressed about something happening in my life, I will look at that picture and I will remember how Tom lived and what he taught me.

  6. Sasuke says:

    Depends on how much time it’s been.

    You have to learn to move on and that they are gone, and always will be no matter how much you loved them.

    My Grandfather was my everything, my mother, father, and whole family to me. Almost like Jesus. And he killed himself about 7 years ago.

    I still haven’t gotten over it, and I GUARENTEE you I got worse before I got better.

    It depends on time.
    And meeting new people, loving again to replace who you have lost.
    Experiencing more.

    You miss them, they are gone. It’s only stretching on longer and longer that’s why it’s worse.
    You need to be at peace.

    When my grandfather killed himself we didn’t even have a funeral.
    He has no tombstone.
    Just ashes.

    And I don’t know where they are.

    Believe me, you can get through anything.
    The human body and mind is amazing.

    I think you need to be with someone else that also misses them, and find comfort in each other.
    And I think it has a lot to do with FACING it.

    Even if that makes no sense.

    You have to face what has happened, and live past their death.

    All of this will help.

  7. Jared T says:

    God is always going to be there for you if you let him. Follow the rightous ways of the Holy Bible. Jesus is the way. If it’s ok with you, could i speak with you one on one about your problems. Just click on my name and email me.

  8. Pamela says:

    It most certainly is possible, and the slightest trigger can cause that regression. I was sitting in the car last week humming a tune and broke out crying because I realized my sister had made up the words to this silly childhood tune. She committed suicide 2 1/2 years ago. My Mom died 2 days later, in shock, blaming herself. I was in shock for about a year, with just little bits of weeping, then the anger toward my sister started. I’ve been stuck in place for 1 1/2 years on my sister, less so for my Mom. I’ve been in bereavement counseling and a support group for those who have lost a loved one by suicide (I also lost a cousin to suicide in 2007 and my father to suicide when I was 17). Suicide grief is like “regular” grief but more intense, with lots of anger and guilt, and a lot of “If onlys….”

    There are no neat stages to grief. You can get pissed and decide to ignore the person that day, or feel sad for two weeks, or angry, or feel abandoned. It’s all jumbled up. The best thing you can do is talk about it and talk it out. It doesn’t necessarily have that much to do with how close you were, but more about your feelings for them, or a special connection. They may have been a symbol for you (I cried for days when Princess Diana was killed), a mentor, or a close family member. Just learn to expect the unexpected.

    This person was very close to you in some way. Avoid the “If onlys” because they look backward to a place you cannot change, and in which you had no idea this person was going to die. They will only tear you up.

    I have yet to reach the hard stages of my grief. I have been diagnosed with “complicated” grief and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I wouldn’t worry about the “hard” grief. It is cleansing. May yours only last a very short time.

  9. Janjuc says:

    Hi, everyone grieves in a different way, there is no set formula as to ‘how to grieve’ or as to ‘how long to grieve’. We are all individuals and everyone reacts differently to this, some get over the loss of a loved one quickly, others may take many months, even years.
    Things like your relationship to the person, your past experience in dealing with loss, how you are ‘taught to feel about situations’ in your culture, all effect the individual.
    Try to talk to a family member or friend about your feelings, and if this does not help perhaps see a member of the clergy or a Grief Counsellor to talk about where your feelings are at, and perhaps they may be of assistance to help in this process.


  10. prettyparadoxal 1 says:

    i think (my opinion) is that everyone has ups and downs of all the emotins. its easy to say that this is where the process starts and this is where it ends is it. this is crap. every human is different and their emotions can go a little forard and then back and then jump to 3 and then to 8 and the to 6, but eventually however the process goes it doesnt matter the matter is that in the end love and acceptance happens and that is where peace is. if there is a stunt of growth just let it be for a while and see if in the next ten minutes you havent totally gotten distracted and thought about something else and then went back to the thoughts that are plagueing you.
    watch your emotions (they are in the body not the mind) if you can feel how your middle section from your hear to your tummy feels ( happy – content- sad- grief- despair) is and literally stay AWARE of it then you will also find that amotions are as fast as thoughts are and well they go throgh all kinds of changes. and same with the mind.
    so to say that this is the one way and if i am not out of the text book i must be weird or abnormal is really just self punishing yourself even more. i hope that you can continue to care and yet still find freedom of suffering with this soon:)

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