Family Reaction to Loss


Loss can change the way a family communicates.

In a family, one of the unique aspects of loss is that there are a variety in types of reaction to loss. Because every individual's experience and understanding of grief is different, the reactions are rarely identical. But unlike the reactions to loss within an individual, family reactions to a loss can be unexpected and add a new dimension to family bonds.


Any changes impact the family dynamic, which is how members of the family communicate and relate. Here are the 2 responses to loss on a family level that often lead families to seek help.


  1. Withdrawal: This may have a very significant impact on the family dynamic. Many report feeling uncertain how to react when one or more family members withdraw emotionally and lessen communication.

  2. Anger: One of the stages of grief and also a very common expression of depression, adding anger to family communication can lead to confusion, relationship distancing, walking on eggshells, and less offerings of support to the individual struggling with anger.

In either of these situations, a new way of relating and communicating develops. Often it becomes one of caution, wariness, and distance - which can increase the pain of the loss and reduce the support which is so crucial for coping in a healthy way.


If you are looking for help navigating changing family communication, know that family therapy can make all the difference. Don't suffer one more day, reach out to start healing your family relationships and improve communication.

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©2020 by Honey T. Dahari