Sentimental shock: definition, causes, symptoms and phases

It is said that Queen Victoria of England spent months continually crying and mourning the death of her husband, Prince Albert.. The queen’s grief was such that the palace eventually became her prison and she dressed in mourning for the rest of her life.

Although in Victorian times they did not know it, the Queen suffered what is now called sentimental shock. A state of despair and anguish that the person suffers from after a breakup, or after the loss of a loved one. This state is made up of different phases, with a beginning and an end, which are used by the person to recover from the above-mentioned emotional breakdown.

    What is sentimental shock?

    Sentimental shock occurs after a breakup and is defined as why the person experiences a state of dullness or psychological paralysis which may be accompanied by a feeling of psychological disorientation and emptiness.

    It should be clarified that sentimental shock is not considered as a disorder in itself, but as a natural phenomenon, with a foreseeable evolution of the symptoms, and with well-defined phases and stages for which there is a beginning and an end. end.

    Although each person experiences emotional shock in a different way, it is common for the first seizure or breakup to be experienced in a much more traumatic way, As the person does not yet have the necessary tools or mechanisms to deal with this situation.

    Additionally, another recurring pattern with most people is that the strength of the sentimental shock is directly proportional to the intensity of the commitment the relationship had. The longer you stay with a person and the deeper the commitment, the longer it will take for you to get over the breakup.

    Can emotional trauma be overcome?

    Usually, most people manage to overcome the effects of emotional shock throughout the first year after breaking up. However, it is natural to find people who take a little longer to restore, depending on personal functioning.

    Emotional shock is a normal, even healthy, process that only becomes pathological if the person tries to suppress it. or compensate for it with behaviors of denial or excess. like drug use or alcohol abuse.

    To successfully overcome the breakup, it is necessary to face the pain and move forward with it, to experience the emotional shock, to go through its different phases and to understand each of its peculiarities.

    Failure to recognize and manifest emotional distress can seriously damage a person’s psychological health. The effects of poorly resolved emotional shock, in addition to damaging emotional health, have been shown to have multiple consequences on the body.

    A constant feeling of grief, depression or depression and disappointment can weaken a person’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to physical illnesses.

    So although unpleasant and painful, sentimental shock is a sign of health and the only way to overcome a breakup.


    Although, as mentioned above, emotional shock cannot be considered a psychiatric disorder or illness, if it presents a common symptomatology in most people who suffer from it. Symptoms that can be found include:

    • nausea
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weeping attacks
    • Deep feeling of sadness or depression
    • Insomnia or difficulty falling asleep

    • Memory loss
    • Lack of energy
    • Need to stop
    • Feeling of lack of control over life
    • promiscuity
    • Feeling of emptiness
    • Intensification of feelings
    • Feeling anxious about being left alone

    As the person begins to understand the dynamics of experiencing emotional shock, they gradually acquire skills that will help them control their feelings and fears.

    Likewise, knowing the different stages of the process and that these have both a beginning and an end, has a calming effect on the person.

    The six stages of sentimental shock

    As mentioned above, symptoms of emotional shock develop according to a pre-established six-stage pattern: shock, grief, guilt, resignation, reconstruction and resolution.

    The speed at which a person slides from one stage to another is called the moment of emotional change and varies greatly from person to person. Some people go through the different stages very quickly while others do it very slowly.

    In addition, the intensity of the symptoms will decrease as the person goes through the different stages. Usually, greater affliction is felt in the stages of shock, grief, and guilt judgment.

    Finally, and before moving on to the explanation of the different steps, It should be noted that while there are common patterns, experiencing sentimental shock does not have to be linear.. The person can move forward and backward in the different stages depending on the coping mechanisms at his disposal.

    1. Shock

    In the first stage, called shock, the person experiences an imminent feeling of psychological paralysis, accompanied by disorientation and disbelief.

    In very extreme cases, the person may become unable to perform basic actions such as eating or sleeping, and may even forget what happened during this phase.

    The shock stage serves as an insulator from the impact that causes loss or rupture, and its duration is usually between a day and a month, but rarely extends over time.

    2. Penalty

    During this stage of punishment, the person not only regrets the loss of a person, they also regret all the time they have shared and all the experiences they have had.

    This grief can turn into feelings of anger and irritation. The person may feel cranky or angry, due to the frustration and the perception that no one is able to understand what they are feeling.

    It is common for a person to be at this stage when they feel the need to communicate with the other, to maintain some kind of contact, however unreal it may be. Attempts which, as a rule, are more harmful than beneficial.

    3. Judgment of guilt

    When the feeling of grief is reduced, the person feels the need to know what happened to the relationship. It is therefore urgent to analyze everything that has happened throughout the relationship, in search of the culprits in oneself and in others.

    In addition, it is common to analyze the different situations that the couple has experienced to find out what they would have done to avoid it, or on the contrary to analyze it to blame the other.

    4. Resignation

    Also known as the farewell stepThis is the time when the person is empowered to accept that the other is no longer in his life. It’s time to accept that the relationship is over, to separate yourself completely from the other person, and to regain energy.

    This is the stage where people tend to spend more time, because on the one hand, they feel relieved that they can get over the breakup, but they also experience feelings of grief about having to leave the relationship altogether.

    5. Reconstruction

    At this point, the person notices that they are going through times that are happier than sadHe manages to regain his concentration and feels that his life belongs to him again.

    He also feels ready to go out and meet other people and begins to focus more on his own needs than on his thoughts about the past.

    To succeed in this step, they will have to rebuild their strength, develop their self-esteem and self-confidence.

    6. Resolution

    With resolution begins the start of a new life cycle. The person has managed to resolve the conflict since the start of the confrontation and his life is moving in a new direction. At this point, the person has the confidence to create their own well-being..

    Leave a Comment