When something serious is happening or has happened that I desperately wish was NOT the case, I usually find myself first in “denial” pretending “this is not happening to me” or that “I am just fine” even though I am not. Next often comes “anger” and feelings like “Why me?” and “This is not fair”. As anger subsides frequently I begin “bargaining” with myself or God with thoughts similar to “if only you’ll do this, I promise to do that”. It rarely works so I move on to “depression” with ideas like “why bother” and “I’m so sad I don’t care anymore”. In time sadness is most often replaced with the belief “everything is going to be OK” as I find “acceptance” for what is happening or has happened. “Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance” are the five steps Elisabeth Kubler-Ross called “The Five Stages of Grief” in her book of the same name. Her conclusions were based on studying terminally ill patients, but I have discovered recovery from codependence involves many “little deaths” as old ways and unhealthy thinking pass away to make room for new and better ones. In each small dying comes rebirth and recovery.
Grief does not change you… It reveals you.