5 Common Methods of Grief Avoidance

Sad face

Avoidance of unpleasant experiences is part of human nature.

It is a universal response to emotionally charged situations that is most commonly associated with anxiety or fear.

Almost everyone, at some point, avoids the things, people, and places that they don't want to confront or that make them feel uncomfortable.

Grief is no different; instead of seeking grief support, some people turn to various methods of grief avoidance.

The avoidance of grief occurs when a grieving individual may not always feel up to facing their loss, so they do whatever's necessary to avoid those emotions.

For instance, after a loss, bereaved individuals often attempt to manage the strong emotional pain associated with the death of someone they cherish.

This is sometimes done through deliberate suppression of painful thoughts and emotions associated with the loss.

In that case, they might refuse to acknowledge or accept their own feelings.

Through avoidance of places, people, and objects related to the deceased, some use it as a method to cope with loss or grief.

They avoid these to stay away from anything or memory that can trigger their grief.

Other examples of methods of grief avoidance include substance use.

When some people experience grief, they sometimes turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to numb the pain they are feeling.

Learn more details about the 5 methods of grief avoidance below. 

Anxiety Therapists in Colorado

Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Whittney Romero, MA, LPCC

Whittney Romero, MA, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Deb Corbitt, LPC

Deb Corbitt, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Megan Brausam, LPC

Megan Brausam, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Noah Suess, MA, LPC

Noah Suess, MA, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Derek Bonds, LPC

Derek Bonds, LPC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Joel Harms, MA, LPC

Joel Harms, MA, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(720) 710-0919
Susan Taylor, LPCC

Susan Taylor, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424

Substance Use

It's understandable that when dealing with emotional turmoil, a person might find solace in an addictive substance.

Substance abuse and alcohol consumption are one of the methods of grief avoidance for dealing with sorrowful situations.

The desire to forget and ignore painful emotions and experiences can lead to substance abuse.

As a result, reliance on such substances can spiral into addiction.

Also, substance abuse most times indicates that there was a problem even before the loss.

There's no doubt that grief can make the abuse worse.

That could mean relapse for those in recovery or a worsening of an already out-of-control addiction for others.

There are also cases where people who didn't use to abuse substances now find themselves drinking excessively or turning to medication to dull the pain of loss.

Intoxicant abuse has repercussions.

Avoidance Of Anything Or Anyone That Might Cause One's Grief To Emerge

When faced with the alternative of being constantly barraged by painful reminders, it is common for a griever to avoid these triggers at first.

It is natural to withdraw from familiar places or people after the death of a loved one, such as restaurants, stores, close friends, and parks.

Grievers may want to avoid going there as much as possible if being there brings up painful memories of their loss.

To cope with grief, a mother may withdraw from the people and places her son once enjoyed (like his old school or bedroom) or from activities they once shared.

A lot of these people and places are likely to be back in the griever's life at some point, so long as they don't continue to avoid their grief. 

Disengagement From Society: Withdrawal Or Isolation

Loss and isolation are inseparable.

After the loss of someone you love, the temptation to withdraw from society and bury oneself indoors is greater than ever.

When your worldview shifts due to a major loss, you may find yourself feeling more alone than usual.

It's easy to feel isolated, left out, alienated, and misunderstood as you try to readjust to life in the wake of a major life change while those around you carry on as usual.

Furthermore, many people voluntarily isolate themselves as a result of negative emotions such as hostility, despair, helplessness, anxiety, and depression.

If you are someone who tends to withdraw into oneself, paying attention to how you are coping in the weeks and months after a loss is especially important.

Isolation is a real health risk.

If you feel yourself drifting away from others, it's probably a good idea to make an effort to reconnect with them in some small way.

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Heather Comensky, LPC

Heather Comensky, LPC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Laura Hunt, LPC

Laura Hunt, LPC

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Amber Chambless, LPC

Amber Chambless, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Holly Bradbury, LPC

Holly Bradbury, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424

Refusing To Acknowledge Or Accept One's Own Emotions

It's common to deny or refuse to acknowledge things because of the emotional toll they might cause when you're grieving the loss of a loved one.

Some people choose to outrightly deny their feelings.

They pretend like everything is great as a way to avoid how their grief is affecting them.

Some people don't realize that while avoiding unpleasant feelings can feel good at the moment, it offers no long-term benefits.

It's simple to do, and it makes us feel good in the short term, but it doesn't help us grow as people or refresh our spirits for the future.

It's counterproductive to try to push away or ignore the grief.

An emotional explosion could result from the pent-up energy that results.

Keeping Busy

Keeping busy or staying occupied with activities after experiencing a loss is one of the methods of avoiding grief.

In this case, the grieving person focuses all their attention and energy on activities that will keep them occupied, so there's no room to think about what they have lost.

If you're trying to cope with your loss but instead focusing on work or superficial activities, you're negatively affecting your grief journey.

Time alone does not always heal, and neither does "keeping busy."

The hope that you can avoid or speed up the grieving process by forcing yourself to stay active is a myth.

Being sad is never pleasant, so it makes sense to seek some kind of relief.

However, diversions like keeping busy do not equal healing. 

Conclusion

Each person deals with loss in his or her own unique way.

Remember that everyone has the right to grieve and deal with their loss in their own way, regardless of how you feel about it.

However, you can provide grief support if they are struggling to accept their feelings of pain and sorrow after a loss.

Here are some methods of grief avoidance: substance use, avoidance of anything or anyone that might cause one's grief to emerge, disengagement from society: withdrawal or isolation, refusing to acknowledge or accept one's own emotions, and keeping busy.

Resources 

×
Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
June 18th, 2024

overcomers counseling logo

Explore local counseling and psychiatry services to find the tailored support you require. Embark on a journey towards resilience and become an Overcomer with the right professional assistance by your side!

Contact Us

5585 Erindale Dr. Ste 204
Colorado Springs, CO 80918 mailing
(719) 345-2424 office
(719) 888-5022 text
(855) 719-2549 fax

Business Hours (Provider's hours may vary)

 Sunday   Closed
 Monday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Tuesday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Wednesday    8:00am - 5:00pm
 Thursday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Friday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Saturday  Closed