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The Long-Term Effects of Unresolved Grief: Why Seeking Help Is Important

Unresolved Grief

Grief is a natural and integral aspect of being human. We all experience tremendous pain and loss at some point in our lives, whether it be the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or any major life transition. Some people, however, never get over this stage of extreme sadness that continues to haunt them, affect them emotionally and physically, and remain resolved, keeping the mind perplexed.

This piece will help you understand why our mind is unable to resolve grief and how you try to deal with unresolved grief.

What is Unresolved Grief: Navigating the Maze

Unresolved grief, often called complicated grief, is distinct from the standard stages of loss and mourning. Those unable to go beyond their first stages of grief—sadness and numbness—end up stuck in this suffering. It hinders people from moving on with their lives. Everyone feels the pain of loss and bereavement at some point in their lives. Grief is a universal human experience, but the specifics of how each person copes with loss are unique to them. However, when grieving is prolonged and unresolved, it may be damaging to an extreme level.

It's not that easy for anybody to come up with an exact unresolved grief definition as there are so many subtleties and nuances involved that you would find it correlating with other forms of grief. 


Everyone reacts to loss in their unique way, and that includes their level of grief. However, complex grief may develop when grief is not addressed or when it persists for an extended period. This disorder may have serious consequences for a person's psychological, physiological, and social health. Let's one by one check these unresolved grief symptoms:

  • Extreme Sorrow and Self-Reflection: People who haven't worked over their grief typically suffer from extreme sadness and can't stop thinking about the person they lost. The weight of this loss might prevent you from focusing on anything else.
  • A Fixation on the Past: Either an unhealthy preoccupation with or avoidance of anything that can bring up memories of the lost person is possible.
  • Continual Yearning: It's typical to feel an intense and enduring ache for a loved one who has passed away. The inability to go on in one's life may be a direct result of such yearning.
  • Struggle to Come to Terms with Death: The acceptance of the loss is a major step in the healing process. Those experiencing more complex grief may struggle to accept the permanence of their sorrow.
  • Lack of Feeling: The inability to feel happiness or connect with others may leave some people feeling emotionally distant or numb.
  • Bitterness: The loss might bring on intense feelings of resentment or wrath. This may put a strain on connections and slow the healing process.
  • Devoid of Meaning: Sometimes it's hard to see the point in living. It may be difficult for people to maintain drive and hope after the death of a loved one.
  • Disappointments in Trust: The inability to trust others might cause people to retreat from society.
  • Trouble finding happiness in life: The person may have trouble finding happiness in life or remembering the good times they had with the departed.
  • Disabilities in Functioning: The struggles of daily life are real. This includes activities such as consuming food, sleeping, and working.
  • Isolation: The person may withdraw from society and refuse to participate in group activities.
  • Regrets and Shame: There may be a nagging sense of guilt or regret that they could have done more to prevent their loved one's death.
  • Delusions of Suicide: In extreme circumstances, a person may wish they had died with their loved one because they believe life isn't worth living without them.

If these signs and symptoms of grief linger for more than a year following the loss, it is critical to get treatment. Counseling and early intervention may help people get through this tough time by giving them the emotional support and coping mechanisms they need. 

These signs may mirror those of clinical depression, but they are grief's unique expressions. Therapy and support may be helpful, but it's not always feasible to avoid difficult sorrow. It may be helpful to talk about one's feelings of loss and sorrow, to allow oneself to grieve, to reach out for assistance from loved ones, and to participate in to bereavement support groups. Bereavement therapy may also be a safe place to talk about feelings and experiment with new ways of handling difficult situations.

Causes of Unresolved Grief

Unresolved grief can occur when an individual has difficulty processing and moving through the normal grieving process after a significant loss. There can be various factors and circumstances that contribute to this difficulty, including


Sudden or Traumatic Loss: Grief can be particularly challenging when the loss is sudden, unexpected, or traumatic, such as the sudden death of a loved one due to an accident, suicide, or violence. The shock and emotional intensity of such events can hinder the grieving process.

Complicated Relationships: When there are unresolved issues, conflicts, or strained relationships with the deceased, it can complicate the grieving process. Feelings of guilt, regret, or anger may linger, making it harder to find closure.

Multiple Losses: Experiencing multiple losses within a short timeframe can overwhelm a person's ability to grieve each loss fully. Unresolved grief may occur when someone is dealing with multiple losses simultaneously or in succession.

Lack of Social Support: Adequate social support is crucial during the grieving process. If an individual lacks a supportive network of friends and family or feels isolated in their grief, it can make it more challenging to process their feelings and find healing.

Avoidance Coping: Some people may use avoidance as a coping mechanism, attempting to avoid or suppress their grief rather than facing it head-on. This can lead to unresolved grief as the emotions remain unprocessed.

Cultural and Societal Factors: Cultural and societal norms and expectations around grief can influence how individuals cope with loss. Some cultures may encourage stoicism or discourage open expressions of grief, which can hinder the grieving process.

Dealing with Unresolved Grief: Learn the Art of Managing It

Unresolved grief is best dealt with by striking the right cord of professional help, inner strength, and time. Unresolved grief can cause or has the potential to permeate every area of a person's life. Learn how to identify and manage your unresolved grief with this guide.

  • Consider Professional Help: If your grief feels overwhelming or has persisted for an extended period, consider seeking help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and techniques to address unresolved grief.
  • Join Support Groups: Consider joining a grief support group where you can connect with others who have experienced similar losses. Sharing your experiences and hearing from others can be reassuring and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Create a Ritual: Some people find comfort in creating rituals or ceremonies to honor and remember their loved ones. This can provide a sense of closure and allow you to express your feelings.
  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal can be a helpful way to process your grief. It allows you to explore your emotions and gain insights into your grief journey.
  • Give Yourself Space: Allow yourself to fully experience your feelings. Don't judge how you're grieving based on how someone else is. Self-care is must!
  • Seek Help: You should share your emotions with someone you can trust, such as a close friend, family member, or therapist.
  • Don't keep your feelings bottled up: Having an outlet for your emotions is crucial at this time of loss.
  • Mind your body and live a healthy life: Both physical and mental well-being are interdependent. Take care of your body by maintaining a healthy routine of eating, exercising, and resting.
  • Don't drink or use drugs: These may provide short-term relief, but they often bring up far more issues in the end.


unresolved grief is a complex and challenging emotional experience that can have a significant impact on our lives. It's important to recognize that grieving is a natural response to loss, and there is no one-size-fits-all timeline for healing. Each person's grief journey is unique, and the process may take longer for some than for others.

Acknowledging unresolved grief and taking steps to address it is crucial for your emotional well-being. Seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can provide a safe space to express your feelings and work through your grief. Remember that it's okay to seek help, and you don't have to go through this journey alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

It's exhausting to carry around the weight of unresolved grief. Sadness is more than simply a condition of feeling down for a long time; it prevents you from making any progress toward your goals. A personal crisis may result, with the sufferer blaming themself or someone else for the tragedy.

The emptiness of life and the prevalence of feelings of isolation are both magnified. From religious tenets to professional goals, anything may be called into doubt.

Unresolved grief is a prolonged state condition that isn't good for your health in any way. If you don't treat it, you may end up increasing your unresolved grief symptoms.

The dangers of unresolved grief can be quite long-term in nature, right from anxiety to PTSD. It can affect your both mental and physical health negatively, making your daily life tasks quite struggling.

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