Death and loss are natural parts of life, but that does not make them any easier for people to deal with when they occur. Everyone has their own way of grieving but there are often categories that people fall into based on how they grieve. Knowing about these categories or grief personalities can be useful for those who have a family member or other loved one who is facing a death or loss. In this article we would like to provide some information about different grief personalities so that family members will be prepared and know what to expect in the event of a personal or family loss.
While grieving, people often experience a wide range of emotions such as anger, depression, denial, confusion, shock, anxiety and loneliness. Not everyone will experience all of these emotions while grieving, but those that do are called nomads. The nomad grief personality is characterized by experiencing a variety of emotions during the grief process and possibly alternating back and forth between the emotions such as being angry and then depressed and then angry again. Nomads most commonly experience anger, depression and confusion while grieving and have a difficult time dealing with the loss and understanding how it will affect them on a personal level. People with this grief personality also tend to experience most or all of the five stages of grief as they deal with their loss.
Those who are consumed with the idea of preserving their loved one’s memory are called memorialists. Memorialists often create memorials or rituals that will keep the memory of their loved one alive. Some people choose to create a foundation, scholarship or building named after their loved one but there are a variety of other ways that family members can keep their loved one’s memory alive that do not cost money. Some low cost or free ways to memorialize loved ones are through art such as painting, music and poetry.
Another grief personality type is normalizers. Normalizers focus on things around them such as family, friends or their community and work to improve their relationships with them. After the loss of a loved one, many normalizers feel that they are drifting away from their family or friends and work to reconnect with them or become more involved in their community. Improving relationships can also help to combat the loneliness that comes from losing a loved one. Normalizers might use their loss as motivation to mend broken relationships with distant relatives or contact old friends. A sudden loss of a loved one can cause normalizers to work on fixing things in their life in case they too die suddenly so that they will not leave anything unfinished in their personal life.
The next personality type is activists. Activists choose to deal with their loss by using it to find meaning in their life. Activists tend to pursue activities or careers that allow them to help others, usually through education so that they can help others who are facing the loss of a loved one like they did. Many activists work to prevent violence or raise awareness for terminal illness. There are several organizations that have been formed by activists who have lost loved ones, some common examples are organizations focused on cancer research or ending drunk driving.
The final grief personality is the seeker. Seekers look beyond themselves for comfort, usually in the form of religious, philosophical or spiritual guidance. Seekers hope to gain some type of understanding of the world and try to find meaning and a sense of belonging in their own life to help them deal with their grief. Seekers who have a religion often start to attend church more often or engage in religious rituals such as praying or reading scripture whereas those who do not have a religion might start to research different religions or look for spiritual or philosophical guidance to heal them.
As mentioned in this article, there are a variety of ways that people grieve and there is no way that is right or wrong. Some people might go through the classic five stages of grief, but others might only experience a few of the stages or jump around in no specific order. Family members should be supportive of their loved ones as they go through the grief process together and should try to remain sensitive to each person’s way of grieving. Not everyone experiences loss in the same way but that does not mean that they are not affected. Those who are having trouble dealing with their grief or have a loved one who is having trouble dealing with their grief can look for a grief support group for added help.
Related articles in our Home Care Services blog:
- How to Deal with the Loss of Your Senior Loved One
- Losing a Loved One: Dealing with Grief
- Tips on How to Help Elderly Loved Ones Fight Depression