5 Stages of Grief – Debt Edition

It’s likely that you’ve heard of the 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These are often mentioned when thinking about bereavement, but they can also be applied to debt problems too. Dealing with problem debts can be hard and mentally tiring. By understanding the 5 stages you’re likely to go through (you may not go through them in order and you may revisit or skip a stage or two), you’ll be better equipped to cope with the pressures you’re likely to face. The end result – being debt-free – is a huge reward though, so try to keep this as your focus throughout and you should find it much easier.



This is the first phase of your debt-free journey. Although you may not realise it yet, you could have been in this stage for a long time. While you’re in denial, you have no idea about the seriousness of your debts. You may not know exactly how much you owe, and not really wanting to is preventing you from finding out. You’re unlikely to realise or accept the interest you’re paying on debt, and you could be of the mind that debts are a good thing – they help you to build a good credit score, right?



The angry phase often comes once you begin to see the light and come out of denial. This realisation may come when you’re unable to spend any more on your credit card, or even when you begin to realise just how little you’ve got left to live on after you’ve paid your minimum debt commitments. You could be angry at yourself, but it’s likely it will manifest as anger towards the credit companies.

Debt Edition


Human beings are great at side stepping responsibility for something bad that’s happened to them. It’s a natural reaction, and it’s hard to admit when you’ve been in the wrong. Feeling angry in the previous stage can lead to the bargaining phase, where rage gives way to desperation. You’ll want help from somewhere, anywhere. How could this happen to you? You deserve help and you deserve it fast. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out (unless, by some miracle, you win the lottery on the day you begin to realise the extent of your debts) and hard work will be needed to start moving away from your worries.


Once the realisation sets in that you aren’t going to be saved by some lucky break, and that it really was only your actions that got you into trouble, it’s likely that you’re going to feel down. We all deserve a little moment of self-pity every now and again,just make sure you use the feeling to propel you into the next phase.


Accepting your situation and how you got into it is the only way to really move forward with an effective plan of action for getting out of your debts. Once you’ve accepted what is happening to you, you can concentrate your efforts and emotions on making it better again.

This article has been written by Coral Pearce Mariner on behalf of UK Credit LTD. UK Credit are a no fee loans provider in the UK specialising in helping those who have been declined by their bank.

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