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The Bargaining Stage of Grief

During the bargaining stage of grief, the grieving person starts making bargains, and usually with God - If I do this, will you take away the loss?. It is often a need to regain control over the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability. Thoughts like, if only we had sought medical help sooner or got a second opinion from another doctor. Secretly, we look upon God as a higher power, capable of taking care of everything. We make a deal with God in an attempt to push back the unavoidable. This is a weaker line of cover to protect us from the painful loss and grief of losing someone.

While before the loss, one is willing to do anything to have your loved one live and become lost in a maze of “If only” or “What if” statements. But after the loss, the bargaining stage of grief starts as a form of a temporary truce. We want our life to go back to what it was. We want our loved one back and things to go on just as before. We want to go back in time, find the cause of illness sooner and eliminate the cause of the loss from happening.

Guilt is often a companion in bargaining stage of grief. We tend to find fault in ourselves and what we could have done differently. We even try to negotiate with the pain. We will do anything to not to feel the pain of losing some one we loved. Trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt in the bargaining stage of grief, we remain in the past.

People often think that the bargaining stage may last for weeks or months. But they should remember that these stages of grief are the responses to our feelings and grief. There is no set pattern to slip in or out of any stage. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one of these different stages of grief.

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