7 Ways We Deal with Grief


Grief comes in many forms, and it can manifest itself in different ways for each person. There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. However, there are unhealthy ways in which we cope. If you are struggling with grief, it is critical to seek help from a professional therapist, counselor, or someone in-between like me (an Advanced Certified Grief Recovery Specialist). 


Self-harm is a form of self-abuse that involves inflicting physical harm on oneself. People who engage in self-harm often cope with intense emotions, such as anger, sadness, or pain. Self-harming behaviors can include cutting, burning, or hitting oneself.

Self-harm is extremely dangerous and can lead to further physical and emotional damage. If you are self-harming, it is vital to get help from a professional therapist right away. Delay in seeking support will only exasperate the situation.

Alcohol Or Drug Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse are common ways many people cope with difficult emotions. People who abuse drugs or alcohol often do so in an attempt to numb their feelings or escape from reality. However, as we all know, substance abuse disorders do nothing to address the emotional pain – it only adds to it. 

If you are struggling with substance abuse, consider checking into an alcohol rehab or drug rehab. There is help available, and you don’t have to struggle alone. If you’re struggling with alcohol abuse but you’re not in the position to seek therapy, there are alternatives for support such as Club Soda as well as Alcoholics Anonymous®.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are another way people may try to cope with grief. Those suffering from eating disorders use food to control their emotions or punish themselves. Unfortunately, eating disorders are harmful to physical and emotional health. Every year, 10,200 deaths are the direct result of an eating disorder—that’s one death every 52 minutes, according to ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).

If you think you may have an eating disorder, it is vital to get help from a professional therapist. There is no shame in seeking help. It is possible to get back to a healthy body image and live a fulfilling life. 


Gambling is another means of unhealthy coping with grief. People who gamble often do so in an attempt to escape from reality or make themselves feel better. However, gambling can be addictive and lead to financial ruin, not to mention the loss of relationships and self-dignity. 

If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, it is crucial to get help before the walls feel like they’re caving in on you. There are many resources available, including Gamblers Anonymous. Ask yourself these twenty questions, and then take action today to take your power back in your life. 

Violent Behavior

Violent behavior is another way grief manifests and is used to cope and express what the griever doesn’t have the words to share. Also, many children who grow up in violent homes learn to be in fight or flight mode. If this continues for years on end, and a child isn’t able to express that anger, it will often express itself as the child grows older. Violent people often do so in an attempt to take control of their lives or express their anger. Violence only adds to the shame of the griever and imparts grief onto others. 

If you feel angry and out of control, it is essential to seek help from a professional. There is no shame in asking for help, and you can get your life back on track. Addressing the grief is an excellent start to get to what is at the heart of the issue. 

Excessive Spending or Shopping

Excessive spending or shopping is another way to try to cope with grief. Compulsive spenders do so to fill a void or make themselves feel better. However, excessive spending can lead to financial issues, similar to gambling. However, since this behavior doesn’t involve casinos, betting, or the like, the person excessively spending may not view the behavior as a problem. But, like gambling, it leads to secrets, shame, potential financial troubles, and of course, grief. 

If you are struggling with compulsive spending, a significant first step is a financial counselor or advisor who can help you set goals and help hold you accountable. Many resources are available to help you get your finances back on track.

Withdrawal And Isolation

When the grief becomes overwhelming, or a person feels misunderstood, unheard, and alone, the response to that grief is often to withdraw or isolate. The amount of support someone has, their environment, life experience, and upbringing often influences whether a griever resorts to withdrawal and isolation. There are so many factors that play into withdrawal and isolation, but a strong emotion often present is hopelessness or despair. And, when someone feels hopeless, and any support that person had has faded, then what’s left but withdrawal? Or when someone feels hopeless, and they feel like a burden or, on the other side of the coin, get told unhelpful or hurtful things, then what’s left but to isolate? 

All of these behaviors and manifestations of grief lead to a downward shame spiral and compounded grief. All of this grief accumulates in our emotional and physical bodies, and it eventually finds its way out.

I can speak for myself in how my grief and traumatic experiences perpetuated behaviors that caused more emotional suffering. When left unaddressed, grief becomes a vicious cycle. And it also feels like a rollercoaster too. You may have an experience when you are 25; you believe you deal with it when really, all you did was bury it. Ten years later, you have another experience that brings up all of those old, familiar feelings of the first experience, and you find yourself back at square one. Only this time, it feels heavier. With every loss, it feels like another suitcase you’re dragging around. Every loss experience compounds, one on top of the other until you can’t bear the weight anymore. You can’t carry it any further. And, you feel stuck, hopeless, insecure, and lost in your own body.

Does this sound familiar? I’ve been when you are. My vice was alcohol, which led to situations that took years to surface.

What has helped me? Being open to receiving help, looking for something that resonated with me, and then committing to it 100%. Whatever that thing turns out to be for you – I hope you start today in looking for it. You may be one Google (or better yet, DuckDuckGo) search away from a new tomorrow and a version of you that you thought was never possible.

If this resonated with you and you need support, I’m an email away. Contact me – help is available. And, did you know your healthcare HSA may cover Grief Recovery?


much love, victoria

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