Featured May. 27, 2013 11:13PM EST
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There is a false believe that true, intense grief is only experienced during the loss of a loved one to death. However, more and more we're realizing that any kind of loss can be grieved, even if it's just a breakup, Grief in all its stages, is experienced is whenever a person faces a life changing loss from intimate relationships, losing a job, a house to a fire, having to relocate, you name it. However there is still one major difference between death and breakups that make breakups even more painful.
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Depression From Loneliness
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Psychological studies have spent a long time trying to understand the pain receptors that are activated during grief. They found that the loss of a loved one has specific depression symptoms, primarily loneliness, which then leads to other depressive symptoms.
In both kinds of losses (death or breakups), the grieving person has to relearn how to be in the absence of someone they shared a bond with and gave a lot of time to. Not being able to see them anymore, whether by circumstance or choice, can feel really isolating and lonely.
Constant Triggers In Routines
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One of the hardest changes experienced in these losses is having to readapt to a whole new lifestyle. The longer the relationships before the losses, the harder it is to accustom to a daily life alone. A routine that was once taken for granted, or even mundane stops making sense, leaving the griever with a shattered sense of self.
Sometimes it's the smallest reminders that cause the greatest pains like having to go to the grocery store alone or walking past the favorite restaurant of a lost loved one. It's quite difficult to build a life from scratch.
Both Kinds Of Grief Impact The Physical Body
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Both breakups and death can take a toll on the physical body. A grieving person will often experience trouble eating, trouble sleeping, low energy, and even panic attacks. Not to mention that each one of those systems will lead to its own effect like trouble sleeping will lead to headaches, nausea, and an ability to concentrate. These symptoms create a vicious cycle of pain.
The feeling of loss is not just emotional but also physical, which makes sense when thinking that the person we lost is no longer physically there. The creates a longing for their physical body to be able to hug it or feel its warmth once again.
A Loss Of The Future
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One thing that breakups and death have in common is that no one really plans for them or can predict when they happen. No one enters a relationship thinking that it's just going to end. Usually, long-term plans are made together and when the person we made them with is gone, so is the hope we had of the future we had. Not only do we grieve the loss of that person but the loss of the future as well.
it becomes hard to live for tomorrow having no idea where it now leads ad it. Grief then creates a void and the grieving person feels like it's walking aimlessly, now lost in the vastity of the world. It takes time to then find hope in a new future.
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The Major Difference Between Death And Breakups: Ambiguous Grief
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We have no choice when it comes to death. It's the inevitable part of our existence and we have no control over its timing. When we lose someone to death we have no choice but to say goodbye and continue knowing that they no longer are a part of our world. However, a breakup is a choice. This is a lot harder to express because even when we say goodbye, we then have to continue living knowing that the person we lost still walks among us, but that we no longer have the privilege of sharing life with them. The grief of a breakup is not only in having to say goodbye to a relationship that's now over and a person that's gone, but also in having to watch that very same person live on with us.
Grieving someone that is still alive in that way is known as ambiguous grief. It means that we're experiencing a loss because someone has changed or disappeared and are stuck in limbo between hoping that everything will return to normal and trying to grasp that life as we know it is also fading away.
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Experiencing grief can come with a complicated set of abandonment issues. Suddenly this person we had trusted to always be with us is gone, leaving us to figure life out alone. However, the abonnement is scarring when it is experienced through rejection. A breakup can actually feel traumatic and tap into insecurities and anxieties that date all the way back to childhood.
Suddenly we start expecting everyone who loves us to then also change their mind and leave us. In an attempt to protect ourselves from feeling that loss again, we can never attach fully again, and simply feel incomplete for a long time.
A Breakup Feels Like A Threat To Survival
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Another reason that grief from a breakup is worse is that the brain processes the loss of a partner as a threat to survival This triggers biological changes because it gets the body ready for self-defense. In a state of emergency, It increases heart rate and blood pressure, decreases appetite, and increases oxygen to the brain to put the body on high alert.
It can even start over-analyzing experiences from the past to learn and prepare for the new perceived danger. This all makes the person feel like they have become obsessed with their ex, and that the only way they'll survive and feel better is if they can go back to the source of their attachment, and get their ex back. When they fail to, it worsens their abandonment anxiety.
Leads To Revenge Or Planning To Get Them Back Are
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We as human beings are wired to connect. From the moment we're born we develop a deep need for attachment. As we get older we find people we connect with and attach ourselves to them. The attachment is even stronger when part of an intimate relationship as it becomes a primary attachment. When it's suddenly cut off, all the energy that was invested with it has no place to go and completely disrupt the biology of the brain.
To cope with this kind of grief, people resort to one of two methods before reaching acceptance. Either they try to execute revenge, which is just another way to keep holding on to the attachment while projecting their pain. Or, they desperately obsess over trying to get their ex back. Thankfully, the healing process and the stages of grief eventually all lead to acceptance.
It's Okay To Feel Pain, Because There's An End in Sight
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We don't blame you for being frustrated with the pain that relationships bring and wanting to stick with what's comfortable but if you're longing to break the cycle click here to find out how. if you're looking for more information on how grief takes its toll on you specifically, then you'll need your own zodiac reading.
We're each on our own unique path and what some struggle with might not be applicable to you too.
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