Top 10 Coping Methods Used After the Death of a Loved One

coping and managing grief after deathWe all grieve differently when we lose a loved one. Whether we turn inward or seek out the support of our community, we all find different ways to feel our grief and that’s completely acceptable, as any counselor would tell you. Below is a list of 10 of the most common ways that people cope with grief, five are more positive ways to cope and the second five are more negative. While we would say any of these are totally natural, if you or a friend is experiencing prolonged periods of the more negative ways of coping, you might want to consider seeking the help of a counselor or psychiatrist.

  1. Personal growth. Some people may take the death of a loved one as a way to work on bettering themselves. Whether they start taking better care of themselves or start seeking spiritual enlightenment, this is a very positive way of coping with grief.
  2. Problem solving. When faced with tragedy, some people look for problems to solve in order to cope with their grief. These people will be very useful when planning the funeral, cremation and/or memorial service. It will help them put their coping mechanism to good use.
  3. Altruism. Many people feel a great sense of connection to the world around them after the death of a loved one and, as such, they want to express their love of humanity through various ways of showing their love.
  4. Finding benefit. When the family member or loved one of an optimist dies, oftentimes, they’ll try and find the silver lining to the passing. They may say things like, “They’re in a better place now,” in order to cope with the loss of their loved one.
  5. Avoidance. While they may still acknowledge the death of a loved one and the grief that it’s caused them, some people prefer to avoid talking about their feelings or grief rather than to air them to friends and family.
  6. Emotional suppression. This is slightly different from avoidance in that the person coping with grief refuses to acknowledge their emotions tied to the death of a loved one. If this continues for too long, it can lead to some deep emotional scars.
  7. Trivializing. Rather than acknowledge the finality of death and the seriousness of the death of a loved one, some people cope by trivializing their death and making it seem like it’s not a big deal to them.
  8. Displacement. When a loved one dies, any sense of control can feel lost, so some people try to cope by controlling other parts of their life as much as they possibly can and becoming frustrated when they can’t.
  9. Self-harm. This is when coping mechanisms get dangerous and require professional help. Whether a loved one is coping by drinking to extremes or even cutting themselves, you should definitely confront them about your concerns.
  10. Attack. Of course, some people are less likely to harm themselves and may lash out at those around them. While this may only be verbal, sometimes people will lash out physically, which is dangerous to both them and the loved ones around them.

3 Responses to “Top 10 Coping Methods Used After the Death of a Loved One”

  1. From Ben Allen

    I appreciate the tips on how to cope with the death of a loved one. I had not idea that problem solving was a method to cope with such an experience, I think it is great that someone can forget about themselves and focus on others but everyone deals and reacts to it differently. My best friend just had a family member pass away, I will be sure to share this with him.

  2. From Adrienne

    A good resource to help people in their times of grief is the book On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Naturally, everyone will work through the grieving process in their own time, but it can help to read about the process too.

  3. From Vivian

    Some of our clients are uncomfortable working through the grief process because they don’t know what to expect and they worry that they’ll be sad forever. Just knowing what to expect helps a LOT.

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