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Stuck in Denial – If your loved one has recently passed away, you could find it challenging to understand and accept the grief. You could occasionally lose track of the person’s absence or the fact that they are no longer present in your life.

Denial has these traits and is a typical phase of the grief process. Not only during the death of a loved one but also after losing other significant things, such as a career, a business, a friendship, or a relationship, you could feel the same sadness and might also be stuck in denial.

This article analyzes the feeling of being stuck in denial as one of the five phases of grieving, examines its traits, and bids some potential coping mechanisms.

Table of Contents

Understanding denial

Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a psychologist, was the first to present the idea of the phases of grieving. In her 1969 book “On Death and Dying,” Dr Kübler-Ross put forth the idea that there are five phases of grief that humans go through:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Anger
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

When you lose someone, especially if it happens suddenly, you could feel like everything is thrown up. Your everyday routine or even your personality may be impacted by the loss. For example, losing a relationship may change your daily schedule, your house, and even how you perceive yourself as a spouse or partner.

Denial is a defensive reflex that lessens the hurt from the loss.

Your brain is trying to shield you from the agony, giving you time to get used to your current situation. Denial usually occurs as your brain attempts to accept a loss right away.

As you process the loss, you might also feel other emotions, including sorrow, rage, guilt, or anxiety.

Reasons people experience denial

A Man Stuck In Denial After Losing His Loved One
Photo by Fernando @cferdophotography on Unsplash

When recognizing and communicating emotions, some individuals find it harder than others, mainly when the thoughts and feelings are distressing. Nevertheless, when emotions are repressed, people lose sight of the real motivations behind their attitudes, acts, and behaviours, and  Denial results in a response. To prevent the suffering that results from these bad feelings, a person may assert that they don’t experience them.

Restricting emotions is not a positive approach to coping with any kind of trauma, both physical and emotional, losing a loved mate or fear of the future. Suppressing feelings can result in a condition of denial, which can later lead to more significant problems. Denial can be sparked by worry, anxiety, and uncertainty.

Signs you are stuck in denial

If a person is stuck in denial, they may avoid or dismiss their actions, resist accepting support or minimize the outcomes.

For instance, someone who frequently skips work because of drug usage but believes their manager doesn’t observe or that they aren’t harming themselves.

Denial can be classified. It may involve untrusting behaviours, such as shifting the subject, or a lack of self-awareness, such as failing to recognize how stuff has damaged you.

For instance, even though you know they have recently experienced a traumatic occurrence, a loved one getting stuck in denial can claim to be trouble-free.

Physical signs of someone struggling to acknowledge an incident or its consequences may also exist. For instance, a parent might continue to decorate her son’s room precisely as it was years after he passed away.

It’s all right to be in denial for a short time

Denial shouldn’t be excessively relied upon as a way of coping in daily life because it might be damaging in the long run. However, denial can be a helpful coping strategy to start the recovery process in the short term.

A perfectly legitimate and typical human reaction to pain is denial. There is no reason to be guilty of it. Being stuck in denial, though, isn’t a sustainable approach to handling issues. The first step toward solving problems is simply admitting they exist. Before getting to this crucial stage, one must go through denial.

Ways to overcome it

It’s not easy to go through denial and get back up again after you lose someone you cherished. But, being stuck in denial will never bring you anywhere. So here are 4 things you can do to help yourself slowly feeling alive again.

1. Give your grief time

Vivien Roggero | Elite Transformation Coach | Photo 1644665681910 E37F427875C3?Ixlib=Rb 1.2
Photo by The Good Funeral Guide on Unsplash

The best method to get over grief is with time. Everyone experiences recovery at their own pace, and some people find it easier to deal with than others. Healing frequently happens gradually over time rather than entirely at once.

2. Begin to consider the future

It can occasionally be challenging to envision what your life would be like after a tragedy. But as soon as you feel prepared, you can discover that you can resume thinking about the future. You might begin by making doable baby steps or objectives.

3. Keep a journal

Starting A Journal Can Help You Get Out Of Stuck In Denial
Photo by Lilartsy on Unsplash

Although some people find a diary beneficial, you should be cautious not to utilize it in a manner that traps you in the past.

4. Seek professional help

If you find it challenging to deal with grief, get a professional’s help. Grief is acceptable as long as it doesn’t lead to prolonged depression or behaviour that is harmful to your health. You can accept and embrace your loss with the assistance of grief counselling.

Also Read: How to Earn Respect at Work?

The takeaway?

The grief of losing somebody you love cannot be forgotten. You will endure suffering for all of your life. But being stuck in denial isn’t an answer to your grief. As time passes, the agony of your grief will lessen, and you’ll gradually feel like you can live again.

Taking steps to accept your loss will be necessary for you to manage your grief effectively. You’ll one day awaken to find that your mood has improved and you are no more submerged in grief.

Manage Your Grief Starting Today With A FREE Discovery Call

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Picture of Vivien Roggero - Elite Transformation and Executive Coach
Vivien Roggero - Elite Transformation and Executive Coach
Vivien Roggero, an Elite Transformation and Executive Coach, specializes in high-performance coaching and personal transformation, guiding professionals to peak success and fulfillment. With decades of experience, Vivien empowers high achievers, executives, and entrepreneurs through mindset shifts and strategic development.
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