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Using Defense Mechanisms in Grief

Defense mechanisms refer to behaviors used to protect oneself from unpleasant thoughts and emotions like guilt, anger, shame, and jealousy.  Some people find these yucky emotions so unacceptable that they will unconsciously employ defense mechanisms to prevent themselves from ever having to acknowledge or experience them. Sigmund Freud first proposed the concept of ‘defense mechanisms’ as …

Valentine’s Day grief, in six words

We asked and you answered (as you always do!). We challenged you to share your six-word story about Valentine’s Day grief over on griefinsixwords.com. We were incredibly moved by the flood of replies on the site and facebook.  We are sharing some below and, don’t worry, there is still time to submit and read more …

“I should have known…”: Understanding Hindsight Bias in Grief

People have a natural tendency to sift through the ashes of tragedy in search of explanations. To quote Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl, “Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.” The search for sense in the seemingly senseless is …

Grieving Someone You Didn’t Like (because it happens)

Let’s be honest, sometimes people die who you…well…hated. That sounds really harsh, but sometimes it’s true.  Or even if you didn’t hate the person, maybe you really didn’t like them…or you had a love/hate relationship…or you found them very difficult…or your relationship with them was difficult.  There are a number of ways this can play out, but …

Coping with the Conflicting Emotions of Grief

How are you feeling today? Yes…you. It’s a simple question. You’re asked a version of it every day. You know how to respond. Keep it simple. Choose a one to three word answer. Bonus points if you choose something neutral-to-positive that doesn’t require a follow-up question. Don’t say anything awkward or concerning (unless you’re certain …

12 Things Harry Potter Taught Me About Grief

If you hang out here regularly you may already know that Eleanor and I are both pretty big fans of Harry Potter. You may have been tipped off when we wrote our very own Harry Potter Grief Theory. That post required a bit of explaining for those who haven’t read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies.  Fortunately, …


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