Grieving: Denial & Isolation

05 Apr


[denial] (Photo credit: Shovelling Son)

Denial and Isolation: The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions.”

I did this. I numbed myself, I pretended it wasn’t happening. I shut myself away, I lived on autopilot. I didn’t look up places to live or removal companies because I refused to believe that any of it was real. He didn’t mean what he had said…this was just some fucked up dream…or nightmare…that I willed myself to wake up from.

I still slip back to denial occasionally, there are times I flat out refuse to believe that this is happening to us. I analyse everything and find a reason behind it, ‘he MUST have loved me…otherwise…’; sometimes its just easier to imagine that this isn’t happening. It gives me a break from having to come to terms with reality.

I think a lot of the time I have to justify my choice to stay with my husband to one of my friends who is very ‘anti’ sticking this out. She thinks I’m in denial…but the truth is I have made up my mind. I have thought it through. Im a very logical person and yes its easier to see the wrongs or rights in other peoples lives but i have to deal with my own life, i have HAD to learn more about it and I feel i have to try. I know its not going to be easy…but marriage ISNT always easy…life isn’t always easy and I cant keep running from things…I don’t WANT to run from this.

I have stopped talking to her about it and therefore avoid seeing her as much because her responses are quite negative due to knowing everything about the past issues. Hearing about your friends husband taking the piss and watching porn and lying…well of course that’s going to get your back up and get defensive; but surely learning that he’s been doing this out of a (possible/probable) medical condition rather than through simply being a dickhead…well surely that kind of explains the past behaviour? Surely that kind of cancels it out? Its hard enough trying to get my own head around all of this without having her tell me what’s right and what’s wrong.

Aside from that I think my denial has also been my way of keeping it to myself, saying ‘we are fine’ to family members who don’t know what’s going on isn’t denial is it? That’s just me not wanting to worry them about something that is -firstly very personal but also something that (I hope) will get better. I don’t want them to jump to conclusions like my friend has, because I’m going to do what I want, what I think is right…and if it goes tits up then fair enough. But family and friends are meant to support you no matter what aren’t they?



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23 responses to “Grieving: Denial & Isolation

  1. beetleypete

    April 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

    The support of family and friends is a two-way street, and it always comes at a price. That price is that they will normally only continue their support, as long as you act on their suggestions. They usually believe that what they are doing or saying is the best for you. So, if you do not take that advice, then you obviously don’t want them to offer it? It goes around in circles like that, until you get tired of hearing it, and they get tired of saying it.
    As for what you tell the family about the stability of your marriage, that is your own business of course. My own experience, after three marriages, is that family is the one constant, and normally the one port in any storm. Husbands and wives can come and go, a good family will (at least should) always be there.
    However B, I don’t know your whole setup, so I am not offering that as advice. You will know best who to count on, and where to place your greatest trust.
    As ever, Pete. x

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks Pete, I agree, it cuts both ways. I have a friend friends and family members who refuse to accept that I am my own person, I am stubborn as hell and will ultimately do what i want – with or without their support, though obviously i would prefer it.
      To be honest I have never been close to my own family – always getting on better with my friends families than my own because they would treat me like a human rather than a child. I know they would be there for me if shit hit that fan, but i also know that they wouldnt be very good about it xB

  2. The Happy Hippie

    April 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I understand that family is important. That being said, I think sometimes we are better off not expressing what is going on to family members. Everyone has an opinon but sometimes we are not ready to hear it.
    Everyone knows what they need to do in their gut, heart and head.
    My ex once told me that friends and family would drive a wedge into our relationship. Not sure I would go to that extreme but there is something to us having the need to do what others want us to do and not what we want to for ourselves.
    Kudo’s to you for thinking this through when so many others just react!!

  3. Doggy's Style

    April 5, 2013 at 11:00 am

    When we were in the middle of the crisis on which I was about to pack my things and just leave, the other person held together, was shattered in the inside I know, but held it together (don’t know how). He refused to tell his family and friends, because if we managed to work things out he didn’t want his friends or family to change the way they saw me or judge me or him. I was a good idea keeping to himself (I talk to a friend I know, but that guy hasn’t changed a bit with me and I know he would only listen and keep his opinion for himself).
    I couldn’t talk about it with anyone, was me and myself, I was embarrassed in a way and felt awful for hurting the other.
    You know how’s your husband dealing with all this with his friends or family?

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Thats exactly how I felt, I have been in situations in the past (a loooong time ago) where i would talk to my family about a breakup, I would cry to my mum because I was heartbroken…of course when youre hurt you make the other person sound worse or you tell a little more than you should too…so when we got back together they would be shocked and awkward towards him because they would be protecting me. I understand the other side though, I know if my friend were in my situation I would want to protect her BUT I would also support her regardless.

      My husband hasnt spoken to anyone about it – EVER. (apart from myself and the 2 therapists) Hes just not interested in talking about it – I think he felt embarrassed about everything too or like he was a monster (his words not mine) but once hes a little more settled with his therapist and hes used to talking more I intend to urge him to talk to a friend or something (and Im sure she would suggest the same) xB

  4. crazybunny66

    April 5, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Personally, I would not tell the family because when (note when, not if) you both move on to better days, there is always the risk that your family will hold it against him. They might throw it in his or your face in the middle of an argument or they might not be as “normal” with him as they would be without the knowledge and that would make your husband feel bad. Saying this, I do believe that you have to talk to someone other than your therapist and husband about all of this. Your friends reaction is totally wrong, a true friend will tell you her opinion but support you wholeheartedly in whatever you decide without constant negative comments.
    I know from personal experience that denial is self-protection, your body and mind can only cope with so much and without the denial you would probably hit rock bottom i.e. depression state (10).
    Your way of dealing with the situation is admirable and I am sure your blog here helps a lot. My family does not know about my blog and I do not feel guilty about it (most of the time) because it is a written statement of my mind and you wouldn´t want to tell your husband every single thought now, would you? I can´t really understand why your husband doesn´t /shouldn´t talk about his therapy, surely by knowing what is going on, you can understand and help him more?
    I just hope for both your sakes that you can get past the grieving process and move on to better days. I can not stress enough how much I feel for you both and what you are going through.

    And sorry for the loooong reply, it´s a combination of replies I would have written over the past week if I´d had the chance 😉

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Exactly! As I said to DoggyStyle, I have been in situations before when things were made worse by the awkward reaction of others. I am talking to one friend, one I have known for 22 years so she knows me pretty well lol, she has been AMAZING. So I have blogging, her and my counsellor to spread the load between (so thanks for being part of that)
      Ive heard from quite a few people that youre not meant to come away from a session and talk about everything that was said – BUT I think when the situation is affecting someone else (ie me) to such an extent that rule could probably be thrown out; saying that hes just NOT a conversation parrot in general and wouldnt go into half as much detail as I would if recalling something that was said – I on the other hand will say it word for word with voices and actions and everything lol.
      Hes told me a little more since writing this post – but thats for another day.
      No worries about the loooooong reply – I liked it and thank you for taking the time to write it xB

  5. Aimee

    April 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    First of all, thank you for linking back to my entry about the stages of grief. Second, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. What I’ve found to be important is to seek out and confide in the people who are capable of giving me the space to be wherever I need to be, emotionally. Obviously our situations are different, but before my husband died he was insistent that I be very secretive about his struggles with mental illness. What that meant was that I had nobody to talk to. Only you can know what’s best for you, but I think if you can find some people in your life who will listen and not judge, it might help you to not carry this by yourself. Wishing you all the best.

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Youre welcome and Thank you; its so frustrating when people are embarrassed about things which really arent embarrassing at all. Personally, Im a talker, I HAVE to get it out to at least someone -hence the blog- but I do understand the other side of it too.
      I cant imagine what you must have been through, thank goodness for the world of blogging eh? xB

  6. behindthemaskofabuse

    April 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Do you have friends that tell you truth because they love you, but once they’ve said their peace that’s it, they’re not constantly trying to drive what they think down your throat? They are then just there for you no matter what? I would say those are the true friends.
    You don’t have to tell anyone you don’t want to. It is your private business and it would be painful I think to be “explaining” things all the time. Sending love and warm thoughts your way. xo

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Yes that’s another thing I couldn’t deal with, imagine telling everyone that whole backstory everytime … Exhausting lol. But it would need to be told so they could understand it fully. I have one friend who doesn’t judge. She will say her thing and then support me no matter what and I agree THAT is what friendship is about. xB

      • behindthemaskofabuse

        April 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        That’s wonderful, I would chose one friend like that any day over having many acquaintances or opinionated “friends.”

        That back story would be painful to re-tell over and over!

  7. Fat Bottom Girl

    April 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I agree, with crazybunny66, so wouldn’t tell the fam!! I know it’s nice to have support, but they might hold it against him, or try to persuade you to leave, and you have made a decision to see where this goes.

    Yes, friends are supposed to support you no matter what! That’s why they are friends. They can have their opinions, and I think it’s only fair you listen to their opinions, but in the end, they should support your decision. If they can’t support it, then they need to bow out.

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Absolutely. As you know I always appreciate other opinions, I like to consider all aspects before deciding anything so opinions are welcomed regardless of whether I would agree or not. One friend has made it into her issue and she makes it clear she doesn’t even want to be in tw same room as him – you can imagine how nice it is whenever she visits (!) :/ xB

      • Fat Bottom Girl

        April 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        Quite judgmental of her. Let’s say this particular shoe was on her foot. . . maybe she would feel differently. When these situations occur, you always find out who your friends are!

      • Comfortably Numb

        April 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm

        you sure do :/

  8. TemptingSweets99

    April 6, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Yes, family and friends are meant to support you no matter.

  9. jesuslikespizza

    April 6, 2013 at 5:09 am

    You do not have to explain your self to any human. Some people are way too nosy.
    Your marriage, is your marriage. Even though I am not married there is one thing that I have learnt from others : Keep your marriage business between yourselves!(In this type of circumstance) No one will understand your husband like you.You have a special, scared bond that unites the two of you and make you one.
    Is your friend happily married?

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 6, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Well said! Thank you. No she isnt married, I wouldnt want to say ‘so she wouldnt understand’ but shes not one for relationships so i will say we have very different outlooks on situations xB


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