Unhealthy Types of Grief

Last time I wrote about the healthy stages of grief, today is the flip side, the unhealthy types of grief. If we remain in unhealthy grief, we will not be set free and continue on the journey from mourning to joy as God intends.

So, What are Unhealthy Types of Grief?

Chronic Grief: This is an unresolved, deep sorrow experienced over a long period of time due to not accepting or not experiencing closure over a significant loss. The personal pain is buried so deeply the ability to experience real grief and let go of the loss is blocked. Chronic grief can be resolved by facing the loss and grieving it.

Repressed Grief: This is an unidentified, unexpressed, unresolved grief exhibited in unexplainable negative lifestyle patterns. Repressed grief can be overcome by taking this following “Time Line Test” (from June Hunt):

  • Draw a line representing your life.
  • Divide the line into sections: childhood, adolescence, adulthood.
  • Denote on the page the major events of each time period.
  • Determine unresolved hurts and losses that occurred in those stages.
  • Define the painful events you need to grieve: “I felt abandoned when…”
  • Decide to genuinely grieve your losses.
  • Defuse the power of these losses by sharing them with others.
  • Deepen your dependence on the Lord to set you emotionally free.

“In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.” (Psalm 118:5)

Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Grief Recovery: Living at Peace with Loss. Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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