Dismissing/avoidant people, in particular, are likely to report less post-traumatic growth after the death of a loved one. They tend to suppress their negative feelings and to convert those negative (disowned) emotions into physical symptoms like headaches or abdominal distress Those with avoidant/dismissing styles may appear to cope better with grief after a loss, but this really depends on how you define "better" coping. Yes, they are likely to acknowledge less distress and are less likely to admit negative feelings to others. They are likely to suppress their unwanted feelings and externally appear fine.
In contrast, those with preoccupied styles almost never suppress their emotions and experience more intense prolonged grief. Based on this body of research and the theory describing each of the styles, we should expect that those who have anxious/preoccupied styles will be heavily impacted by loss and that the associated negative feelings will last longer. They also may experience more intense and lasting anger over the situation and perhaps even at the lost loved one.
Those with disorganized/fearful styles may literally become emotionally and behaviorally disorganized after a loss. This is because the new loss event may trigger feelings and thoughts related to other unresolved losses from the past. This would be similar to having an emotional flashback in the case of PTSD. .....
Which attachment style struggles with grief the most?
People with an anxious-ambivalent attachment style in childhood have the greatest tendency to struggle long-term following bereavement.
Because what attachment is really about is building what Bowlby called a 'lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.' A bond that ensures across time and space, that exists within oneself as well as outside oneself.
Poem: “Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.”
If we are able to hold that sentiment inside, we may still be utterly bereft and heartbroken, but we will have less of a sense of utter disconnection and frightening absence. We miss our loved one dearly, but we can also tap into what it felt to be with them. The things they might say to us. The reliable, warm sense of their presence.
We carry them with us.
And carrying a lost loved one is a lot easier to do if we have a secure attachment style because this speaks directly to our capacity to form and hold an internal representation of people. If we tend towards avoidant attachment, we’re dismissive of needing others at all – which holds its own set of painful struggles, but tends to buffer us somewhat against their immediate absence. But if we’re more on the anxious-ambivalent end of the scale, we’re lacking something that takes the sharp edge off of grief.
That doesn’t mean we can’t create it through therapeutic work though. If you know you’ve got an anxious-ambivalent attachment style, you can actively work towards creating a sense of your lost loved one inside yourself. Imagine what they might say to you if they were sitting right beside you. Allow yourself to remember the things you loved best about them and the unique things that made them who they were. Really call to mind their presence. It will hurt, of course, but the only way through grief is to feel those feelings. You won’t drown in them, even though it may feel like wave after wave hits you and you’re afraid of being overwhelmed.
Allow what you have lost to live on in you, and it will help you
Are you walking around with old grief in the body? Many of us have taught us to be strong, not to cry. No one should see our feelings, we must be strong for others and we put ourselves together and we tuffen up.
Old grief in the body may be from the loss of a dear person in the family, a friend ect.
Grief in the body may have other causes: A divorce can be sad and experienced as a loss. If we have lost a job or home, it can be a big loss. Having felt unwanted by parents If you are a healer, you may have taken on someone else's grief. There may be things that didn't stay the way you wanted.
How to recognize grief in the body: Don't be surprised if there is heaviness, sadness, melancholy, sense of loneliness, Physical pain, sinus problems, overweight are all about old grief you haven't processed and released.
Grief can sit in many places in the body. Primary symptoms of Grief can be a tense chest, overwhelmed, aching upper arm muscles as well as Tightened thighs. There may be locks on the spine. Behind all the anger or fear we are walking around with, there is usually a sadness behind. When grief has not been redeemed, it is stored in our body and in our cells. We release grief through tears and crying. Have you seen someone crying, you may have noticed that it seems to come deep down from the body, and it makes sense, because grief is associated with the lungs giving us life. The deep cavities helps the body to release the grief. But many have never learned or allowed themselves to mourn.
Mourning the loss of a loved one isn’t efficient, compact or logical, and it changes
Grief has many colors - understood in the sense that sometimes it feels empty and sad and other times with joy and warmth.
It does something to our system and our body when we lose someone we love and are closely associated with.
Grief can be a big trauma and someone can die of grief.
I even feel the grief showing its different colors after I lost my dear brother 3 months ago. I do not try to control my colors, but let them come and give them space. Sometimes it feels very vulnerable, but when I do nothing but be with what I feel, it passes quickly and I can feel the joy of life again
I do the same when it's the bright and happy colors I feel - then I sing along to his songs and maybe dance and am just grateful that I can still listen to his lovely voice and remember all the times I was allowed to hear him sing, laugh and just be present.
With these words, I would like to point out that if you listen to your body, it will help you in a very caring and loving way.