In inhibited grief there is some evidence that a person is grieving, but there are less than expected signs of outward mourning.
The dictionary defines the word inhibited to mean “to consciously or unconsciously suppress or restrain”.
Basically this means the idea that something is held back or prevented.
So for inhibited grief this means that we don’t see the “normal behaviors” we expect to see in someone who is mourning. They don’t seem to be touched by the death.
They might be going about their daily tasks appearing to be affected very little. It’s also possible they might only be mourning a specific characteristic of the deceased.
Because of this the bereaved person’s grief tends to manifest itself in the physical body instead.
They become sick in some form or another. It can begin to exhibit itself in the form of migraines, stomach problems and other physical symptoms.
They could also start to display depression or other mental health issues. There is a danger if the doctor is unaware of the bereavement. They may not recognize the connection or identify what the patient is truly dealing with. This could lead to an incorrect diagnosis and improper treatment.
The expression of sorrow may also be stifled because of the unbearable strength of feelings toward deceased or how they were lost.
In some families a show of feelings (other than anger) has been considered a sign of weakness. If a person grew up in a household like this they may be more prone to deny any feelings. These people will find it hard to allow any intense feelings such as anguish and sorrow to come to the surface.
If there were unresolved issues between the bereaved and the deceased, there can be guilt and other negative emotions that have not been dealt with. At this point in time the person might feel that it would be inappropriate to talk about those things.
They hesitate to speak of them now that they’re gone. “What good would it do?”
Also if there was a traumatic death the bereaved may fear that others can’t bear the intensity of their feelings and emotions.
If the death was because murder or suicide the bereaved may feel that others can’t handle how strong their reaction is. Therefore are afraid to “let go” and let others share in their pain.
This may tend to cause them to withdraw emotionally and suffer inhibited grief.
We must have the courage to do the grief work; we must walk the path in order to fully heal.
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