What is inhibited Grief and how to start healing? Whenever we experience loss, we experience the complex process of grief. Grieving is a unique experience for each person. Many people can speak openly about their emotions while they grieve. Many other people keep their feelings private. If we put the grieving process on hold, regardless of whether it’s intentional, it will eventually play out, just more slowly. 

A loss, especially if sudden, or any traumatic experience can come along with what we cal inhibited grief. The person experiencing the loss blocks this grief. It could be conscious or unconscious, and these blockages often manifest in the body as physical symptoms. These physical symptoms can include gastrointestinal issues, soreness, and migraines. 

Inhibited Grief: What is it and why does it happen?

Grief becomes inhibited if someone is incapable of facing a loss immediately after it happens. When these emotions are pushed to the sidelines, grief manifests in the physical body. The grieving process has to happen, so it eventually resurfaces, bringing the sidelined emotions along with it. There are a few reasons that we might inhibit our grief. Again, this might be a conscious pause or an unconscious one. Some of these reasons are:

You’re the anchor

If you’re experiencing a loss alongside other friends and family members, you may assume the role of an anchor. This usually involves becoming stoic and creating a barrier around your emotions to protect those around you. This can also stem from a worry about judgment or being afraid that others can’t handle your feelings. 

You’re afraid

The feelings that come along with the grieving process are incredibly strong. These intense emotions can feel overwhelming. You may be afraid that you’ll become consumed by your grief and unable to control how you react. Fear of crying all the time or being unable to “hold it together” can cause you to bottle up your grief. 

You’re self-medicating

Many people turn to alcohol and drug abuse to numb themselves. This might make it look easier to feel relaxed or forget about your emotions. The truth is, grief doesn’t just go away, and self-medicating simply puts off the inevitable. The escape from reality is temporary. You become emotionally detached, and your self-awareness becomes impaired. 

You’re floating

It’s common for losses to leave us feeling disconnected from reality. Things might feel fuzzy or hazy. The loss may not even feel real yet. You may go about your day as if nothing has changed, skip the funeral, or neglect the official paperwork related to the loss. 

How To Heal Inhibited Grief

Grief is a complicated process. Healing from loss and hardship takes time and compassion. Here are some things to keep in mind while you go on your journey: 

  • Find Support Systems: A support system can take many forms. If you’re going through grief with family and friends, they might be able to offer a support system for you. There are also specialized support groups, often led by a counselor, that can help you process your grief. 
  • Ask When You Need Help: It’s tempting to close ourselves off from others while we grieve. The people who love you want to help you, but they don’t know what you need unless you ask. Make sure you’re communicating with others about how you’re feeling. 
  • Talk To A Therapist: Professional therapists, especially those who specialize in grief counseling, train to help people through this rollercoaster. You can talk through treatment options, including medication and psychotherapy. It’s especially important to seek professional help if you start having thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Grief takes time to heal, but recovering is worth it. 

You are worthy of support as you move through your grief. Please read more about grief treatment and contact us.  We are here to help.