Some would call it a bad relationship, others would refer to it as a death. Much like Elisabeth Kubler Ross five stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, a relationship that is heading for disaster is much the same.
The stages of a disastrous relationship are defined this way…(Debbie’s interpretation)
Denial – one of the partners tries to make the relationship work whether the other is on board or not. There’s nothing wrong with this relationship, we can fix it.
Anger – When that unresponsive parner doesn’t care about you anylonger and makes choices that will only further hurt the pending relationship.
Bargaining – This happens when the partner that is trying begins to feel that maybe there is a chance and bargains with the unresponsive partner.
Depression – Takes place when the parnter giving it her/his all, finally realizes that it’s just not going to happen — the relationship is over.
Acceptance – Then kicks in allowing both parties to move on with their lives.
I spent six years in an environment where dying took place every day; hospice. My nursing days are fondly remembered and the tears that accompanied these stages are in the forefront of my mind. The days were filled with grieving families all trying to figure out why. The dying patient was always wondering “why me?”.
Much like the grieving partner wanting the one thing she/he was promised on that special day, this process is real. So the fact that these two bind well is quite apparent.
I’ve observed many couples that have gone through these same exact 5 stages and feel like they are dying; dying inside.
So, I once again say that Elisabeth Kubler Ross was right on when she came up with those 5 stages. What she didn’t realize (I’m sure) was that they are one in the same when it comes to the death of a relationship.