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The following discussion is a reflection on the five stages of a breakup of a relationship. It discusses five stages that include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, which have a logical flow and interdependence. The paper analyzes the diversity of feelings and emotions felt by an individual in the period of a loss. The loss is always a difficult period in life, which may require professional help to handle. The discussion involves the collection of theoretical aspects aimed at revealing the essence of each stage. It also includes personal observations of every stage, which took place in my life. The discussion is extremely important as it allows seeing the essence of the topic through the prism of personal experience and theoretical framework introduced by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. The following discussion should be helpful for a further investigation in the same sphere with a poor understanding of the topic based on the combination of one's own observations and theory.
Stage 1: Denial
Denial is unconscious or conscious refusal to accept the facts that are extremely disappointing or unexpected for the individual (Murphy, 2011). It is a natural mechanism of a psychological defense, which helps people protect themselves from undesired information. A lot of individuals cannot go quickly through the stage of denial, which means that a traumatic change has occurred (Smaldone & Uzzo, 2013). A breakup and death are common examples of a deep stage of denial, which can be hardly accepted by the individual. It is a fateful traumatic event that can hardly make an individual believe in the current situation.
Denial can take numerous forms including denial of responsibility, denial of the cycle, denial of impact, denial of awareness, and denial of denial. All these forms focus on a single idea that does not allow an individual to accept the undesired fact and continue leading a normal lifestyle. Denial of facts is a common reaction, which includes lying and using false facts to avoid the truth. Denial of responsibility includes blaming, justifying, and minimizing the facts (Park, Sanchez, & Brynildsen, 2011).
Denials of impact and cycle imply that an individual tries to avoid their influence on the situation and its background. Denial of awareness means that the person refuses to accept the situation in any form. Finally, denial of denial is the biggest barrier, which means that an individual does not want to change anything in their behavior.
The first stage of denial is a common situation for individuals willing to escape the bitter truth about a diagnosis, death, or breakup. It is the most shocking stage, which does not allow the individual to accommodate the situation without pain.
Own Observations of Denial
Denial is the first common stage faced in daily life. The first breakup after a seven-year relationship became a shocking moment. It became the moment when thinking about anything else was impossible. It was difficult to believe that the relationship was over and nothing could be done. Before the breakup, it was difficult to see the problems and to admit them. It was denial that hid the truth. As a result, such blindness led to the breakup.
Another example of denial refers to the fact that the relationship was over. In my personal experience, the seven-year relationship brought too much shock and pain, which did not allow me to face the situation realistically. It became impossible to do common things without retrospection of the events and thoughts about possible options that could help to fix the problem. The denial stage also did not allow thinking that the relationship was over, there was a continuous feeling that soon things would change. However, nothing happened and the breakup remained actual and realistic.
In the combination with deep sadness, there was much hope after the breakup, which helped me think that the breakup was temporary. Full denial of facts resulted in continuous lies to friends when they wanted to know the truth. It was easy to lie that everything was fine as it should have been like that. Nevertheless, denial of facts transformed into denial of awareness, when nobody could convince that the relationship was over. From this point, it became easy to pass to another stage involving anger.
Stage 2: Anger
Anger is another stage that takes place in the victim of a difficult situation. It is a natural expression that occurs when the individual faces facts in a disappointing situation. It is a manifestation of the inability to change or influence the situation. Anger starts overwhelming the individual who can hardly control the myriad of emotions (Murphy, 2011). As a result, relatives and friends suffer from the abusive behavior of the victim. Close people should learn how to remain non-judgmental and patient in order not to worsen the situation.
Anger is a specific form of understanding and accepting that the denial stage cannot continue. It is an intense emotional response to the external situation that does not satisfy the individual. The second stage means that the individual faces the unfairness of the situation and does not understand why everything happened in the way it did (Smaldone & Uzzo, 2013). Anger helps to express a range of thoughts based on an unstable emotional background, which is full of irritation and misery (Park, Sanchez, & Brynildsen, 2011). In this way, the individual is looking for someone to blame. Finally, anger is an emotional option aimed to handle difficult situations.
Frequent acts of aggression in the public supported by physiological responses, facial expressions, and body language are common characteristics of the second stage of the model. It is a natural and mature emotion, which helps an individual hide the pain received from a disappointing situation. Uncontrolled cases of anger can have a negative influence on the sustainability of the nerve cells of the individuals (Samios, Henson, & Simpson, 2014). It affects social well-being and brain function, which becomes dependent on the emotional background. Anger leads to the loss of the self-monitoring option, which prevents people from adequately estimating the situation.
Own Observations of Anger
Anger started growing after the inability to understand the reasons for the breakup and the painful choice of the partner. It became so fierce that I had to ask friends to look for children, being afraid of my uncontrolled anger. It was impossible to handle emotions, which were bursting out on everyone next to me. There was no chance to recover the relationship and the main question was how that could happen to me. As a result, anger became overwhelming.
My friend also faced the breakup of the relationship, which brought too much pain to her. She could not work or do daily duties without yelling at someone. It became a mixture of misery and anger, which started from yelling and finished by crying. Anger took various forms including severe irritation, which led to pushing objects and trying to hurt someone. The realization of the threatening harm to the dearest ones helped my friend to see herself from the side and realize that her anger was not the key to the problem.
In my personal story, it was difficult to understand how could my beloved one do something like that to me. This question was the center of anger, which could not explain any background and my partner's painful decision. The attempted suicide was also the result of anger. I was trying to make my ex-partner feel guilty and miserable because of my death. It was the highest point of anger, which was successfully eliminated by the mother of my ex-boyfriend. The thought about children also stopped me from committing suicide and depriving my little children of their mother.
Stage 3: Bargaining
The bargaining stage can be different for people facing different types of losses. Stress and tension have various effects in case of death and breakup. In case of death, the individual may be focusing on God and consider whatever options to cease the pain. In the case of a breakup, an individual will do everything to save the relationship (Murphy, 2011). It may vary from asking to remain friends or begging to save the relationship. The bargaining stage is the middle of the way towards the recovery from a difficult situation.
The third stage is a specific period, which focuses on the idea that the individual can find a way to avoid grief, sadness, and misery. It is an encouraging stage, which calls the individual to act to try to fix the difficult situation (Park, Sanchez, & Brynildsen, 2011). Seeking for a compromise or asking God to extend the life of the lost relative in return to change personal lifestyle are common examples of the bargaining stage (Yu et al., 2012). In general, it is the beginning of the realization of the fact that the situation cannot be changed.
The bargaining stage is not lengthy and it quickly transforms into the fourth stage. It is based on several attempts to fix the situation due to the inability to succeed during the stage of anger. The individual understands that anger was not effective, which means that it is important to seek patient ways of fixing the disappointing situation (Samios, Henson, & Simpson, 2014). Nevertheless, the stage cannot continue for too long because the person is still unable to change the events of the past (Yu et al., 2012). The majority of people who face a breakup or death cannot solve the plight during this stage.
Own Observations of Bargaining
Bargaining also took place in my personal experience, when I tried to convince the boyfriend not to break up the relationship. Now it seems ridiculous to try to look for options and negotiations that could save the relationship. However, a year ago it seemed to be the only solution. I was begging to stay for the sake of the relationship and love. I even offered him to sleep with other women and date them. This idea did not seem ludicrous or crazy at that moment. Nothing happened and nothing changed the situation with the breakup as long as nothing could convince my ex-boyfriend to stay.
Another example of the bargaining stage was the useless attempts to make the boyfriend stay. I started praying and asking God to bring the relationship back in return for my improved daily behavior. It was the moment when praying was so intense that it almost made me believe that it would work. Mindful conversations with the Lord seemed to be the key to the goal of fixing the relationship. However, nothing helped as it was fate, which decided whether to bring us together or not.
Finally, the most ridiculous characteristic of the bargaining stage was the use of tarot cards, which could bring some sense in the desire to return the lost relationship. Now it seems to be one of the most useless and mindless options for addressing the problem. However, in the moment of misery, sadness, and frustration, it seemed to be the only option for saving the relationship. The colorful pictures of the past also penetrated my mind and did not allow me to let the relationship go, which once brought happiness and peace.
Stage 4: Depression
Depression is a pre-stage of grieving, which focuses on the dependence of the one who suffers from the loss of a dear person. A depressive mood continues to overwhelm the individual and influence routine activities. It is an emotional attachment that helps to accept the situation. Sadness and grieving have a deep connection, which formulates the pre-stage of acceptance (Murphy, 2011). The individual starts getting sober from panic and shock, which results in the inability to change anything. As long as nothing helps to change the situation, the individual starts transitioning into a depressive mood, which is the result of futile attempts to return the person.
Depression may be one of the longest stages, which means that the individual loses any desire to continue living in the same way. It becomes difficult to work, study, or do routine things. The problem is that the person cannot see the point in doing anything. As a result, it becomes impossible to motivate and encourage the victim of the tragedy or the one who lost a partner in the relationship (Samios, Henson, & Simpson, 2014). Solitude and misery are the common characteristic features of the depression stage.
Depression is a continuous state of gloomy mood, which transforms the behavior and thoughts of the individual. A depressed state of mind means being hopeless, irritable, sad, restless, ashamed, and anxious (Smaldone & Uzzo, 2013). In this mixture of emotions, it becomes impossible to manage daily tasks and responsibilities in a normal way (Samios, Henson, & Simpson, 2014). As a result, the individual loses the energy to remain active and take care of the family (Samios, Henson, & Simpson, 2014). It is difficult to handle a depressive state of mind without professional help. A well-designed therapy course should be adopted according to the case of the patient and the peculiarities of the situation.
Own Observations of Depression
Depression became one of the most intense stages of my life, which also followed the bargaining stage in the breakup with the partner after a seven-year relationship. As long as nothing was helpful and nothing could eliminate the pain, a deep depressive state of mind started being overwhelming. It became impossible to work, sleep, cook, eat, or do any other everyday activities. It became difficult to breathe and to think about the future, which seemed to be pointless. Continuous crying and endless thoughts about the past did not allow moving on.
Another form of depression also took place after the breakup as I could not do anything rather than lying in my bed. Even when someone came to see me, I did not listen or speak about anything. It also seemed to be meaningless since there were hundreds of questions in my head that prevented me from thinking about something else. As a result, depression started ruining health by influencing the skin color, the eyes, and the mind. The mind suffered the most, which meant that anxiety became the core of impatient thinking about the relationship.
Hopelessness also became the main feature in the process of attempting to reach consensus in the breakup. Nothing seemed to be worth living for and nothing could motivate or encourage me to walk out from home. It became the biggest problem, which blocked any idea about the future. However, the depression started to be so devastating that it became obvious that it would be impossible to handle the depressive state of mind without professional help. It became the transitioning element to another stage, which led to acceptance.
Stage 5: Acceptance
The fifth stage does not have a clear definition as it differs among patients. It is difficult to claim that this stage is the shortest one. It is a complex process, which requires additional attention to transform the person from a depressed state of mind to normal performance (Park, Sanchez, & Brynildsen, 2011). In fact, the stage considers the sort of emotional detachment and objective perception of the surrounding environment. Acceptance means that the individual has become ready to deal with the tragedy and is ready to continue moving towards a normal way of living.
Acceptance has a stable flow of emotions, which does not prevent an individual from normal performance. During the final stage, the victim learns the lesson of the breakup or accepts the fact of the tragedy that cannot be changed. It is an agreement to understand the situation, see personal behavior from a different point of view, and continue to move forward (Samios, Henson, & Simpson, 2014). In fact, the characteristic feature of the final stage is a retrospective overview of the events, which helps to accept the events of the past and analyze them.
Acceptance can be both a curse and a blessing. It is a complex stage, which finishes previous stages and summarizes the lessons from every stage. In this way, the individual continues to fight against the problems or accepts the inevitability of the future. In both cases, it is a struggle, which means that the individual managed to accept the fact that it is impossible to make life the same again (Samios, Henson, & Simpson, 2014). Nevertheless, the stage requires additional professional help, which should support an individual and help them improve life activities free from stress and irritated mind.
Own Observations of Acceptance
Acceptance became the key to my personal rescue of the mind and body by attending a psychological support center. It became the light in the world of darkness that filled my mind after the breakup of the relationship. Every therapy session brought a piece of sense to the mind and opened the world of patience.
The stage of acceptance in my personal experience had a deep connection to the religious worldview. The church helped to clear the mind from the negative thoughts and learn how to combat the difficulties and the consequences of the painful breakup. A spiritual side of acceptance fills the soul with hope for a better future.
The main stage of acceptance in the story of a seven-year relationship became complete forgiveness for the past. I called my ex-boyfriend and said that I forgive everything that happened to us in the past. The most important point was to let go of the negative energy of the unsuccessful relationship. The focus of life started including children and their future, which fully depends on their mother.
It is important to mention that the paper allowed analyzing personal behavior based on the theoretical approach to the explanation of the stages involving the breakup. Every stage revealed the essence of the situation and its roots, which form specific behavioral patterns. The interdependence between every stage helped to see the essence of the problem, which happened a year ago. A personal experience and my own observations of every stage became helpful in the complicated process of grief after the breakup.
The research explained every activity and behavior that characterize every stage. The most useful information covered the stage of acceptance, which unveiled the truth about learning how to continue living without pain and sorrow felt after the breakup. In general, a detailed evaluation of the situation allowed accepting the breakup differently. Now it is understandable and obvious why the process of recovery took much time to help me return to a normal way of life.