Even though we all experience grief in different and unique ways, the grieving process is generally structured into five main phases. The grief process was first identified by a woman named Elisabeth Kubler Ross in 1969 and has allowed people to understand their emotions and feelings as they go through something very overwhelming.
These phases may arise in different ways depending on the person and occur in a different order. Before discussing one of the phases, it is important to understand that everyone grieves for different periods of time and that there is no process that is set in stone.
What is Bargaining?
The third phase of the grieving process is known as bargaining. When you are experiencing some form of loss, you may feel as if you would do anything in the world to change the situation or get rid of the pain. You are hoping to reverse the outcome of the situation and make things back to the way they were and are willing to lose anything.
When you feel lost and uncertain, the bargaining stage comes into play and you may try to promise or request something from a higher power. This stage is unique from person to person because it deals with one’s spiritual connection and religious values. This is because you feel hopeless and want to influence and be in control of the situation.
Bargaining with a Higher Power
Bargaining usually involves some form of regret or self-reflection that is then turned into a promise for the future should the situation be reversed. For example, you may make a promise to God that if the outcome changes in some way or if your pain goes away, you will never act a certain way or make someone angry.
Another example is promising to change your future and improve yourself if the person in your life gets healed from whatever they are going through. Bargaining is a very common form of grief because we often look to a higher power when we feel out of options or overwhelmed. We hope that by connecting with this higher power and proving something of ourselves, that we will no longer have to go through the pain.
What-If and If-Only Statements
Along with speaking to a higher power in hopes to change your situation, this is also the stage where you are constantly questioning and reflecting on times with that person or the times when things were different. You may figure out ways that you could have controlled the situation or reversed it or may reflect on times where you could have been a better person.
Guilt goes hand-in-hand with bargaining. You question the past constantly in search for ways that things could be different in an effort to hold onto times when everything was more normal. This is a form of negotiation that is very common throughout the grieving process because you are left full of uncertainty and are in a state of shock.
It is important to understand that bargaining is an inevitable part of the grieving process, especially for those who are deeply connected to a higher power or some form of religion. You may feel that if you change a certain aspect of your life or if things could have been different the situation would be reversed. However, it is important to focus on coping in the present instead of playing out past situations. By focusing on moving forward, you will eventually be able to let go of the past and the regrets or experiences that are out of your control.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.