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How Can I Overcome Ambiguous Grief?

Grief is not always isolated to the death of a loved one. Feelings of grief can occur in various situations with different people. One type of grief is known as ambiguous grief, which refers to loss without closure.

When someone struggles with ambiguous grief, the resolution is unclear, which can make overcoming this type of grief a challenge. However, there are tools individuals can use to help themselves overcome ambiguous grief.

The Types of Ambiguous Grief

There are two types of ambiguous grief.

Type-One Ambiguous Grief

This type of ambiguous grief deals with physical loss. Someone struggling with this type of grief may be unsure whether or not a loved one has died or what has happened to them. According to the article “What Ambiguous Loss Is and How to Deal With It,” published on the Cleveland Clinic’s website, type-one ambiguous grief is a “physical absence with a psychological presence.”

Examples of this type of ambiguous grief include loss as a result of:

  • Unexplained disappearances, such as kidnapping
  • War and acts of terrorism
  • Deportation and genocide
  • Natural disasters

Type-one ambiguous grief can also occur from a lack of contact, even when an individual knows what has happened to the other person. This can include circumstances such as:

  • Divorce
  • Adoption
  • Estrangement
  • Incarceration

Type-Two Ambiguous Grief

This type of ambiguous grief occurs when an individual goes through a psychological loss, including a mental or emotional disappearance. According to the Cleveland Clinic article quoted above, type-two ambiguous grief is described as “psychological absence with physical presence.”

Someone may experience this type of grief when a loved one goes through changes caused by:

  • Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Depression or other mental health disorders

Coping With Ambiguous Grief

Dealing with ambiguous grief can be challenging to overcome. Part of overcoming grief is having closure surrounding what has happened to a loved one. However, with ambiguous grief, this closure is non-existent. Luckily, there are ways individuals can still cope with ambiguous grief.

Name What Is Happening

It can be challenging to recognize ambiguous grief. However, sometimes just being able to put a name to what is happening can help individuals experience healing.

Work Toward Acceptance

Acceptance is not the same as closure. However, making peace with the situation at hand can help individuals move towards a place of overcoming ambiguous grief.

Seek Support

Coping with ambiguous grief can be challenging, especially if other people do not understand what the individual is going through. Mental health professionals, especially therapists trained in grief, can help individuals cope with their loss. Being honest with family and friends about the situation can also help individuals feel less alone in their grief.

Ambiguous grief can be challenging to overcome. When there is no closure to the loss of a loved one, it can leave you feeling alone. At The Guest House, we specialize in treating mental health disorders caused by trauma. Our unparalleled, premier-quality treatment can help you find the tools you need to heal from ambiguous grief. Located in Silver Springs, Florida, The Guest House is prepared to help you heal. Call us today for more information on how we can help you overcome ambiguous grief at (855) 483-7800.