How to Cope with a Lack of Closure

Many people who face great loss, survive trauma or deal with tragedy desire closure. When used in this context, the term usually means the desire for a satisfying resolution to the crisis. It represents the idea that some day the pain will end, but often this kind of resolution never comes. A lack of closure – especially for a person who expects it – can create considerable distress and pain. Therefore, the key to personal peace and healing from a tragedy is often not finding closure, but learning to cope without it.

How to Develop Coping Skills

When someone’s emotional pain cannot be corrected, such as with the loss of a loved one, the challenge is to manage the corresponding feelings instead of being directed by them. This task can be extremely difficult for anyone to do, especially when they are caught up in the tragedy. Counseling is a critical tool for people who survive traumatic events, as it provides an objective perspective. In the same way that professional athletes continue to need coaching, people in grief continue to need counseling, because it helps them sort through their problematic thoughts and emotions. However, too many people avoid counseling due to embarrassment, fear or simple ignorance of the help it can be. Counseling comes in many forms, including the following examples:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior treatment
  • Exposure therapy
  • Addiction counseling

These programs can be offered in either outpatient or residential formats, meaning someone can stay at the treatment center if she needs constant help.

The Repercussions of Ongoing Pain

Unresolved emotional pain manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Emotional outbursts
  • Substance abuse
  • Violence to self or others
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Anger management problems
  • Apathy

After losing a loved one or surviving an event that took the lives of others, some people feel survivor’s guilt, which means they feel guilty about ever laughing, smiling or enjoying life, because the deceased person cannot do so. While true closure may never be realized in some situations, people can learn to be mindful of the emotions they are experiencing, and then they can learn to channel those emotions appropriately.

Help Finding Closure

If you or a loved one is seeking closure for some trauma or tragedy, and is frustrated that it is not coming, then call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day to hear your story. They can answer any questions you have about coping with loss, managing emotions or dealing with the repercussions of unresolved pain. From support groups to addiction recovery programs, the resources you need are available. Do not let a lack of closure keep you from living to your fullest.

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