Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday's Therapy - 25 Major Psychological Reactions After Your Child's Traumatic Death ~Therese A. Rando, Complicated Mourning, Part Three

Thursday's Therapy

Complicated Mourning

~Therese A. Rando, Ph.D.

Part Three

25 Major Psychological Reactions

After Your Child's Traumatic Death

A reminder: TRAUMATIC BEREAVEMENT in Child-Loss is when grief + mourning over the death of your child is OVERPOWERED by the TRAUMATIC CIRCUMSTANCES of your child's death.

Complicated Mourning would be a condition considered pathological in dealing with most losses, but for THE most severe loss, that of Child-Loss, Complicated Mourning is not to be considered a pathological condition! In THE most severe loss to the human condition, that of CHILD-LOSS,

  • Complicated Mourning is the NORM of such grief,
  • Complicated Mourning is to be EXPECTED in such severe grief, and
  • Complicated Mourning is NOT TO BE CONSIDERED PATHOLOGICAL in the severe grief of CHILD-LOSS.

How then does Sudden and Traumatic Death Impact Your Grief?

  • It disables your ability to cope.
  • It impairs your functioning.
  • It compromises your ability to adapt.
  • It adds to your mourning, further distress.
  • It complicates your mourning.

What are Some of the Major Reactions we might Expect After the Traumatic Distress of our Child-Loss?

Over the coming weeks, we will walk through many of the myriad ways that Child-Loss grief and mourning may be impacting you. Since we are multi-dimensional people, grief and trauma will impact us multi-dimensionally! As you probably have observed by now, grief is not the one-dimensional creature we thought it was before we began going through child-loss. Unfortunately, those around you still think your grief should be one-dimensional and therefore fairly easily worked through. So when the expectations around you begin to feel "crazy-making" to you, perhaps you can pull out these lists to remind yourself why this grief is so complicated and therefore so long-term!

The dimensions we will cover are as follows (Five of these are covered by Dr. Rando's research, the sixth will be covered by that which Tommy and I have observed.):

  • Psychological
  • Cognitive/Mental
  • Behavioral
  • Social
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

Since each of these Dimensions of our Grief entails myriad symptoms, we will address one dimension of Child-Loss Grief on each upcoming week. Tonight, we will cover the Psychological Dimension of Child-Loss Grief due to our coping with both Trauma and Loss.

Major Reactions Psychologically After Your Child's Traumatic Death:

  1. Anxiety, apprehension, fear, anguish, and panic
  2. Sorrow, separation pain, yearning, pining, longing, and searching
  3. Avoidance, emotional numbing, and forgetting
  4. Dissociation
  5. Re-experiencing the trauma
  6. Feeling overwhelmed, flooded with emotions
  7. Helplessness, powerlessness, feeling out-of-control
  8. Frustration, intolerance, impatience
  9. Fear of going crazy
  10. Loneliness, abandonment, feeling detached or estranged from others, or from life in general
  11. Anger and hostility
  12. Ambivalence
  13. Relief
  14. Disorganization, depression, and despair
  15. Diminished self-concern
  16. Guilt, self-reproach, regret, and shame
  17. "Losing it"
  18. Deprivation, mutilation, feeling empty, violation
  19. Vulnerability, insecurity, inability to feel safe
  20. Inability to feel happy; loss of pleasure or enjoyment in formerly significant activities
  21. Restricted range of feelings, lack of interest or caring
  22. Distress when exposed to reminders of the loved one, the death events associated with the loved one, and or reactions to the loss of the loved one
  23. Holding on to the loved one
  24. Grief and grief spasms
  25. Searching for death-related information

~Rando, 2011, In Press

Picture: Dr. Therese A. Rando ~mine
Research: from Rando's new book now in-press, to be coming out in 2011


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