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Stages of Grief

Updated: 1 day ago


The five stages of grief model was developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and became famous after she published her book On Death and Dying in 1969. Kübler-Ross developed her model to describe people with terminal illness facing their own death. But it was soon adapted as a way of thinking about grief in general. It is also described in Parental Alienation where the Deliberate Eradication of a Safe, Loving, Affectionately - Available Father and or Mother from their own child's life.

We at TTI describe it as grieving over a child who is still alive where being driven into emotional vortex and where many never recover from the inexplicable and sometimes irrevocable loss of their children.


If you or a loved one is dealing with loss, it can be helpful to learn more about the grieving process. Here we share the 5 Stages of Grief, along with a few ways to help someone who is grieving after a death or breakup.

It's important to remember that the grieving process can be complex, and it isn't the same for everyone. These steps may not be followed exactly, or other feelings may surface after you thought you were through the stages of grieving.

Allowing room to experience grief in your own way can help you heal after loss.

Do the five stages happen in order?

The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – are often talked about as if they happen in order, moving from one stage to the other. You might hear people say things like ‘Oh I’ve moved on from denial and now I think I’m entering the angry stage’. But this isn’t often the case.

In fact Kübler-Ross, in her writing, makes it clear that the stages are non-linear – people can experience these aspects of grief at different times and they do not happen in one particular order. You might not experience all of the stages, and you might find feelings are quite different with different bereavements.

What are the five stages of grief?


Feeling numb is common in the early days after a bereavement. Some people at first carry on as if nothing has happened. Even if we know with our heads that someone has died it can be hard to believe that someone important is not coming back. It’s also very common to feel the presence of someone who has died, hear their voice or even see them. 


  • refusing to accept or acknowledge the death

  • refusing or avoiding the topic in conversation

  • stating the loss is not true, or that the source of the news is unreliable.


Anger is a completely natural emotion, and very natural after someone dies. Death can seem cruel and unfair, especially when you feel someone has died before their time or you had plans for the future together. It’s also common to feel angry towards the person who has died, or angry at ourselves for things we did or didn’t do before their death.


  • blaming a medical doctor for not preventing an illness

  • blaming family members for a lack of care or support

  • feeling anger toward God or a higher spiritual power

  • feeling angry with oneself or blaming oneself for the death

  • experiencing a short temper or loss of patience.


When we are in pain, it’s sometimes hard to accept that there’s nothing we can do to change things. Bargaining is when we start to make deals with ourselves, or perhaps with God if we’re religious. We want to believe that if we act in particular ways we will feel better. It’s also common to find ourselves going over and over things that happened in the past and asking a lot of ‘what if’ questions, wishing we could go back and change things in the hope things could have turned out differently.


  • "If only I had brought her to the doctor sooner, this would have been cured."

  • "If only I had been around more, I would have noticed something was wrong."

  • "God, if you bring him back, I promise I will never lie again."


Sadness and longing are what we think of most often when we think about grief. This pain can be very intense and come in waves over many months or years. Life can feel like it no longer holds any meaning which can be very scary.


  • feelings of sadness

  • loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy

  • changes in sleep

  • significant changes in weight

  • lack of energy

  • feeling agitated or restless

  • feeling worthless or guilty

  • decreased concentration.


Grief comes in waves and it can feel like nothing will ever be right again. But gradually most people find that the pain eases, and it is possible to accept what has happened. We may never ‘get over’ the death of someone precious, but we can learn to live again, while keeping the memories of those we have lost close to us. Considered the fifth and last of Kübler-Ross's stages, acceptance refers to the period of grief when we finally come to terms with accepting the reality of our loss. When we have reached this stage of acceptance, we no longer deny or struggle against our grief. During this time, we work to focus our energy on celebrating the life of our loved one, cherish the memories that were shared, and make plans for moving forward.

Finding Support:

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your grief or are in immediate crisis, there are grief crisis hotlines you can contact 24/7 to receive help and resources on Contact Us Page

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