A Grief Support Blog

This blog will allow you the opportunity to acquire both support and guidance after experiencing a significant loss.

Am I paranoid or are people avoiding me?

Even though grievers seem to be walking though quicksand, they usually have a heightened awareness of what is going on around them. In particular, they are very aware of being judged, evaluated, or criticized. In earlier articles we talked about the killer clichés that are not helpful to grievers. Unhelpful comments almost always encourage the griever to feel some way other than the way they feel.


For example: "Don't feel sad, you should feel grateful that you had him/her for so long!"


In addition to the constant fight against the killer clichés, the griever starts to experience people they know avoiding them. Grievers notice that friends who know about the loss will not approach them or will talk to them and never mention the loss.


Download our free Grief Recovery Method Guide for Loss Ebook


Am I paranoid or are people avoiding me?

The truth is that people often do avoid grievers. Since our society has so miseducated us about loss, we are often led to believe that the griever wants and needs to be alone. Although grievers sometimes want to be alone, more often they want to be treated normally. Because we were never properly taught how to talk about the conflicting feelings caused by loss, we are often afraid to talk to our friends when they have experienced a loss. Therefore our own fear will cause us to avoid grievers or to avoid the subject of their loss.

Fear is one of the most common responses to loss. For example, when a spouse dies: "How can I go on without them?" Or, after a divorce: "Where will I find another mate as wonderful, as beautiful?" While fear is often the emotional response to loss, in our society, ISOLATION is frequently the behavioral reaction to the fear.

Look at the combination outlined above. People avoid grievers because they are misinformed and afraid. Grievers avoid others because they are afraid and then isolate. Is anybody talking to anyone else, and if so, are they talking about anything important to the griever? Isolation and grief are not helpful for the griever.

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As the result of tens of thousands of direct interactions with grieving people, we can tell you that what grievers most want and need to do is to talk about what happened and talk about their relationship with the person who died or to whom they were married. That does not mean that every griever will want to have a detailed conversation with every one they meet. Nor does it mean that you always have to make yourself available to someone who may need more time than you have.

What we are suggesting is that instead of avoiding the subject of the loss that you at least acknowledge it. A simple comment like, "I was sorry to hear about your loss," can be very helpful to a griever who may be questioning their own sanity because no one is even mentioning their loss.


There are many kinds of losses that produce grief. Is there a single definition that encompasses all of the emotions caused by loss?


While a universal definition is impossible, we can come very close. Grief is the conflicting group of human emotions caused by a change or an end to a familiar pattern of behavior.


If you found this helpful information, you may also find these articles from our Grief Blog useful as well:

Grief Support: Knowing what to say and what to avoid

Why you should never say I know how you feel

6 thinks to never say to someone who is grieving a death


Grief group online



It sounds as if this program closely relates to my personal beliefs.I think people grieve on a very personal level and is not something others should try to impose their beliefs upon, no matter how well intended. I also think that unresolved grief can be an underlying root of many issues.

Dear Cheryl,

We agree absolutely with both aspects of your note. It is the uniqueness of each person coupled with the uniqueness of every relationship that has ever existed between people that defines our Method so that anyone who uses it can find their own personal completion.

Also, since unresolved grief is cumulative and cumulatively negative, it really does tend to be the underlying causal issue that limits our ability to change and grow.

Warm regards,

Russell and John and the Grief Recovery Method Team

When I lost the woman I loved I felt compelled to talk about it and I reached out to any and everyone within my circle just to express how I felt. As time progressed people started to avoid me especially some family members. I purchased the book the grief recovery method, and it helped me to understand what I was gong through especially with my roller coaster emotions. I felt that the information gave me guidelines in dealing with this most difficult time. I now understand why many avoid people in pain who are grieving and it is due to a variety of reasons which we may never know but once we are given the knowledge of how to go through the process, we will have the basic foundation and knowledge for future losses which we will experience for certain. I learned most people are not equipped to help those in the grief process and that's a fact.

I am interested in attending your certification program but noticed that there aren't any scheduled in NYC or Long Island. Please tell me when and if there are any programs planned for the NY metro area. Thank-you Laura Neil

Dear Laura,

Thanks for your inquiry.

Over the years, we've discovered that the cost of a conference facility in NYC is prohibitive, and the Island is too far away from the Jersey people and others.

So we generally do one each year in either the Meadowlands, Elizabeth, or Princeton, NJ.

Of course we wish we could cover every city to be as convenient as possible for everyone, but that just isn't feasible.

Since we don't require that our attendees stay in the hotel where the conference is, some people make arrangements to attend a training that's near family or friends who live a reasonable distance from the site, to save on hotel costs.

We hope you'll be able to attend one of the Trainings we're presenting in 2013.

Russell and John and the The Grief Recovery Method team

Is there any certification course being conducted in or near New York in 2013?

Hello Anita,

This following link takes you to a list of all 2013 trainings. http://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/certification-training/events/

We have many events on the east coast this year around New York. Please take a look when you can. Thanks!


I'm very interested in taking your Certificate Training program in Moncton, NB Canada. July-26-29.

I live in Moncton, so I do not need a hotel or flight.

How do I register for the program.

The Hotel was unable to help me.

Can I still register if I'm a resident. And how much is it if I only want to take the Training?

Thank You

Hello Therese,

You can register by clicking here http://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/certification-training/events/.

Please call us at 1-800-334-7606 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have about the training in July. Thank you

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