What is “Goodbye without Leaving”?

Goodbye without Leaving

Dr. Pauline Boss labeled another type of ambiguous loss as “Goodbye without Leaving”. This is a loss where a person is “physically present” but feels “psychologically absent” because he or she is no longer the same person he or she used to be.


Examples include dementia, drug and alcohol dependence, depression, other mental illnesses, and head injuries. Also, in Fukushima after the Great East Japan Earthquake, there was a phenomenon of “my hometown has changed completely” because of the nuclear accident, which can also be considered to be a type of “goodbye without leaving” (type 2 ambiguous loss).