50 Grief Myths That Need to Stop

Andrea Davis

3 min read

Grief misconceptions and myths can be frustrating and pervasive. They manifest in various forms, complicating the grieving process for individuals and influencing the expectations of friends and family, because they do not understand these are myths. Sometimes, even we, the ones grieving, can fall victim to these misconceptions. Today, I aim to debunk these myths.

As I began compiling this list, I already had numerous myths in mind, because I have heard them before – whether in tv, movies, friends, family, or co-workers. However, I decided to reach out to social media for additional input. It's important to note that while this list is extensive, it is not exhaustive. It's crucial to acknowledge that many items on this list are considered myths because they are universally untrue, but it doesn’t mean they were never true, though. This distinction is essential to bear in mind as you peruse through the list.

Additionally, for clarity, some myths may share common themes as you will notice.

Now, let's delve into the list of myths!

1. Grief has a timeline with a clear beginning and end.

2. Time heals all wounds.

3. Grief follows a predictable pattern or stages. Let’s be very clear about the 5 Stages of Grief. They are NOT meant for the living. The 5 Stages of Grief according to psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross were developed to describe the process DYING patients go through as they come to terms with their terminal illnesses. Society has, over time, mislead the general public in believing that the 5 Stages were meant for the living who were grieving. Although grievers may feel any of these emotions at any time, just know there is no lock-step fashion of steps, but rather grievers go through waves of emotions that are not linear or predictable.

4. You should "move on" or "get over it" after a certain period.

5. Expressing grief openly is a sign of weakness.

6. Keeping busy helps you avoid grieving.

7. Grief should be kept private and not shared with others.

8. Children don't grieve like adults.

9. Grief is solely an emotional experience, not physical or cognitive.

10. Tears are a sign of weakness.

11. You can replace the loss with something else.

12. Grief only occurs when someone dies.

13. Grieving should only last for a specific amount of time.

14. If you don't cry, you're not grieving.

15. Grief should be resolved quickly to avoid complications.

16. People should grieve alone to avoid burdening others.

17. The pain of grief lessens with time.

18. Grief is the same for everyone.

19. Grief is only felt immediately after the loss.

20. You should be "strong" for others and not show your grief.

21. It's possible to "get over" grief and return to normal.

22. Grief should be suppressed or ignored to move forward.

23. Keeping busy will help you forget about your grief.

24. Grief ends after the funeral or memorial service.

25. Talking about the deceased will prolong your grief.

26. It's better to avoid talking about the loss to prevent sadness.

27. Grief can be resolved through distraction or avoidance.

28. Seeking professional help for grief is unnecessary.

29. Grieving people need to be cheered up.

30. Grief only affects your emotional well-being, not physical health.

31. After a certain amount of time, grief should no longer affect daily life.

32. You should "get back to normal" as soon as possible.

33. You should feel better after a significant amount of time has passed.

34. Grief is a sign of not accepting reality.

35. You can prevent grief by being prepared for loss.

36. Grieving should only occur in private, not in public.

37. Grief only affects older adults, not younger individuals.

38. Grief means you didn't care enough about the person or thing lost.

39. Children are too young to understand or experience grief.

40. Grief is a sign of weakness and vulnerability.

41. Grieving means you're stuck in the past.

42. Grief should be hidden to avoid upsetting others.

43. Grief ends once you've processed all of your emotions.

44. Grief is solely caused by death, not other types of loss.

45. You should be "over it" by now.

46. Grief means you're not coping well with life.

47. Grief will subside if you distract yourself with other activities.

48. People should "snap out of it" and move on with their lives.

49. Grief only affects individuals who were close to the person who died.

50. Grieving is a linear process that moves from sadness to acceptance.