Many clients who are mourning come to therapy because they wonder if their grief is too intense or lasting too long. Yet some come because they are not having an intense emotional response to their loss. Often those individuals had a complicated attachment to the one who died.
A complicated attachment occurs when the relationship with the one who died wasn’t loving and nurturing. Instead, it was unsafe physically and/or emotionally.
Complicated attachment often yields less sorrow at death. Many clients report feelings of relief that the pain of their difficult relationship is over. However, they also feel guilty they do not feel sadness for the person they lost. When they accept that their low level of grief is because of the complicated attachment, there is a deep sense of release from the guilt and self-criticism of not feeling the typical feelings of grief.
And their sadness can be for the loving relationship that never was.