Here's brief detail on each of the symptoms above:
"forever" sad, angry, or depressed, or often feeling
numb or "nothing"
general, or about a loss (broken bond). People who always seem very intellectual,
unemotional ("flat") may be
grievers - or they may be unable to bond.
Signs include repeated:
cynicism / pessimism
insomnia or excessive sleep
waking up tired
sadistic or sarcastic humor
overcontrolled monotone voice
clenched jaws ("TMJ") and/or teeth grinding
muscle spasms, tics, or twitches
Some of these may have
medical causes. Our mind-body connection is a relevant mystery (i.e. which causes
3) Minimizings and/or
denials. Consistently downplaying...
a loss itself ("Oh
wasn't that important to me") and/or...
feelings about the loss and
it's impacts ("No,
I'm not sad - just tired is all.")
The ultimate denial is of one's own denial.
is a common symptom of
depression, or apathy. It takes a lot of personal energy to repress
frightening emotions and awarenesses. Recovery pioneer John Bradshaw likens this to trying
to swim while holding a big beach ball under water. Therapist Virginia Satir suggested
it's like constantly holding a swinging kitchen door closed against a pack of starving dogs ...
to one or more of these:
- e.g. work; hobbies or sports; worship; committees;
socializing, TV, or personal computers; fitness and health; sex; cleaning and
organizing; shopping or gambling; hoarding; reading or "endless" education;
e.g. nicotine, caffeine, fats and/or sugars,
ethyl alcohol or other drugs or medications;
- e.g. save the world's environment, hungry, homeless,
states) - e.g. rage, conflicts, risks, religious ecstasy, or
sexual arousal; and/or addiction to...
(codependence) that consistently promote significant shame,
guilts, fears, anger, hurt, frustration, anxiety, and/or frustration.
addicts use one or more of these to temporarily numb or distract
from (medicate) relentless
They (their well-meaning
deny, minimize, or rationalize their
toxic compulsions until hitting true
and committing to personal addiction recovery.
Stable addiction "sobriety" is a requisite for
psychological-wound reduction. Some addicts
are never able to gain or keep sobriety because of their unawareness +
psychological wounds + a low-nurturance environment.
All addictions are a
clear symptom of major
not just a personal problem. Their members often have trouble
More common symptoms of incomplete mourning...
6) Repeated avoidances.
These can be verbal, mental, and/or physical. If the loss (or something associated or
similar) comes under discussion, a blocked mourner will often become silent or irritable,
tune out, try to change the subject, "get real tired," and/or leave.
They may also reflexively shun certain ...
remind them of what they've lost; and/or...
places (like former dwellings, neighborhoods,
cemeteries, churches, ...); and/or...
people (who remind the loser of what's gone,
how it got gone); and/or...
activities or rituals (holidays, vacations,
births, deaths, graduations,...); and/or...
mementos (photo albums, movies, music,
old letters, holiday ornaments, special clothing,...) that remind them of their
will often protectively deny, rationalize (intellectually explain
or minimize such avoidances. Typical
families and stepfamilies abound with such painful reminders. Are there any such mementos in your life now?
Your kids' lives?
7) (Some) chronic pain or
illness - specially ones without clear biological cause. A growing number of
professional healers feel that recurrent asthma, migraine or other headaches, digestive or
colon problems, back pain, shoulder and neck stiffness or soreness, breathing or
swallowing troubles, panic attacks, nightmares, allergies, etc. are bodily signals
that vital emotions are being repressed. Unconsciously-fearful mourners will often
scoff at this or get angry (i.e. scared) if it's proposed.
Obesity is defined by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) as
weighing 30% more than appropriate weight for a person's body type per
credible charts like
Morbid obesity is weighing 50% or 100 lbs more than appropriate
Morbid implies this condition can be lethal. It's been said of
overweight people that "every fat cell is an unshed
tear." Adults or kids can numb the pain of unresolved loss (and other
things) by compulsive
overeating - specially of "comfort foods" - fats, sugars, and some
carbohydrates. Others are metabolically unbalanced. Griefwork can be far more helpful for
the former than endless dieting/regaining cycles, which can promote
shame, guilt, and eventual depression and despair.
problems like anorexia (compulsive self-starvation) or bulimia (compulsive binge-purge cycles) may
signal blocked mourning and deep shame.
Obesity may be a symptom
of childhood sexual abuse. This
shattering personal violation forces the massive
of innocence, trust, security, and Self respect in a child too young and
understand and protect themselves.
More common symptoms of unfinished grief...
Major apathy, sadness, sluggishness, sickness, sleep disorders,
irritability, or feeling gloomy "for no reason" may recur annually
around the time a major loss happened. This can appear to be (or be increased by) "seasonal
affective disorder" (SAD), where people rationalize recurring depression by missing sunlight "too much."
Some digestive and/or bowel problems. Many different organic factors
can cause such problems. Repressed grief may contribute to them
by affecting body chemistry in subtle ways. This merits a doctor's
opinion, tho many medical professionals may not be aware of the bodily
effects of incomplete mourning.
or purging mementos. People who obsessively display, revere, discuss, or protect, special reminders long after an agonizing ending can be blocked mourners. Such mementos
can include foods, music, clothes, pictures, rituals, furniture, letters, jewelry,
perfume, gardens, letters, and many more. Revering or
reacting to such reminders to perpetual excess is the key symptom
opposite may also signal blocked grief. People who compulsively throw away
of the lost person or thing can be avoiding the intolerable pain of
admitting and accepting the precious broken
bond. They may or may not be aware they're doing this.
having exaggerated emotional
reactions to the losses or traumas of strangers,
acquaintances, animals, or fictional characters. Such reactions include uncontrollable sobbing, lasting
depression, intense rages, insomnia, obsessions, bodily reactions, and over-identifications
("becoming" the hurt one).
Add your own symptoms of