1. 7XshadowolfX7
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    7XshadowolfX7 Member

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    Dealing with loss

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by 7XshadowolfX7, Aug 26, 2016.

    My Protaganists Wife is killed point blank in front of him. Dies in his arms. And the second woman in his life he starts liking, he thinks is also dead,(Which she isn't as he will later find out). So theres a period of time where he is just all by himself. How exactly would he feel, how would he act? He isn't the emotional type. More the strong and silent. But losing two women that were close to him would have a profound effect. How would he deal with the loss? Or how should he?
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Alcohol or drugs would seem the obvious choice. Lack of concentration and a decrease in work performance, perhaps he doesn't even make it to work altogether. Forgetting things, missing appointments, not following conversations (eg not listening). He might become bitter against those who are happy. Some people who go through trauma stop talking and become voluntarily mute. You should probably research into grief and PTSD.

    I remember when I was at uni and was going through a super messy break up, my two housemates were lovebirds who made out and spoke to each other in baby voices in public all the time - and I was annoyed, thinking they should just get a room. Then I met my now-husband and I was happy again for the first time in years. The lovebirds couple were still my housemates and were still behaving in exactly the same way - lovey-dovey, kissing all the time, cuddling, baby-cooing at each other etc. Guess what? Now I grinned and felt genuinely happy for them and I found it so cute.

    My own pain clouded the way I perceived the world and the people around me - I was jealous but wasn't even aware of the fact. In your MC's case I would imagine that might be much more so the case.
     
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  3. 7XshadowolfX7
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    7XshadowolfX7 Member

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    @Mckk
    Wow thanks for that advice. I can really see what your saying. And thank you for sharing your experience that really put things into perspective. I'll do a little research like you said as well, but i think the jealousy of others happiness for my MC would be great. Sorta bitter and cold towards others.

    Thank you for your post. :)
     
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  4. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    So at one point in my life, I was a complete mess. I was addicted to intravenous drugs and just wasting oxygen. I had alienated everyone who cared about me. Everyone except my Dad. He never gave up on me and was ultimately the driving force that landed me in rehab.

    I was about halfway through the six-month rehab program when I got the news that my dad had taken his own life. He was all I had. Needless to say, I was crushed. I felt like the world was just going to cave in. It took me a while to put that loss into perspective.

    Everyone handles loss differently. I could have used it as an excuse to go back to heroin, to bury my head in the sand and effectively end my own life. But through his memory, I was able to get my shit together. Now, I'd like to think a large part of the success that I am today came from that tragic loss.

    As @Mckk already said, there are many negative side effects that come from loss. But I wanted to contrast that with my story. I miss my fucking dad more than words can describe. But I use that loss as motivation to keep doing right by the family I've created since. The loss was profound and extremely negative at first, but I turned it into something positive.

    Just something to chew on while you figure your story out. Not all profound loss has to be ultimately negative. :)
     
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  5. 7XshadowolfX7
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    7XshadowolfX7 Member

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    Wow man. My heart goes out to you. Can I say you done well not to get back on drugs. I feel for you man. Thank you for sharing your experiance too. I like the positive ending idea, something in gonna strive to incorporate in my MC. He comes out on top in the end, after shutting people out for so long, treating them in a cold unkind manner he lets them in. And he finds himself happy.

    Thank you for your post :)
     
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  6. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Yeah, man. Thanks for your sympathy. I appreciate it.

    I just thought it was worth mentioning that good can, and does, come from loss. I've found that the good is equally as profound as the loss in some cases.
     
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  7. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I'd suspect the strong and silent type will take it worse - on top of his loss he'll also feel the guilt that he should have saved them , I could see him turning to alcohol or drugs, or to extremly risky behaviours like extreme sports , or riding motorbikes far faster than is prudent . He may not give a fuck about his life anymore. ( I have a friend who lost his wife in bosnia - he's a bosnian christian but the serbs didnt make the differentiation while raping and murdering... he got away but his wife and child didnt - and after getting to the waest he went the latter route and did a lot of dangerous stuff like free climbing , and riding his motor bike at 110 straight down the white line and so forth. He also lost his faith because he couldnt understand how god could be so cruel
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nobody else has mentioned...how soon after losing his wife does he "start liking" the second woman?

    Is his wife killed in front of him with him unable to do anything? Is this some sort of mental torture by the villain (as in, "tie him to the chair and then we'll murder his wife in front of him")? Or Sophie's choice? Or a random sniper bullet while they're holidaying in a war-torn land? Or does she simply die from some sort of tragedy - car accident, fatal heart attack, long-drawn-out battle against cancer, etc.? His reaction will be different depending on the circumstances.

    And then, how does he get together with the second woman? Does she help him get over his wife?

    And, if he only thinks she's dead, she must have slipped out of his life somehow (gone to work and never returned, went on a trip that involved a fatal tragedy in which he thought she was involved) so what does he think about that?
     
  9. big soft moose
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    Without remorse by Tom Clancy - ex Navy Seal John Kelly's pregnant wife is killed in the prologue, the about 6 months later he meets Pamela Madden and falls in love (a bit too fast in my view) only she turns out to have used to been a drug mule and the drug gang kidnaps and kills her setting kelly off on a violent rampage of vengeance
     
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  10. Marlon Manalese
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    Marlon Manalese Member

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    Hmm he can perhaps be self sabotaging as well. Everyone has already brought up some great ideas, so what I would like to add is his paranoia of the new woman being a figment of his imagination. This can manifest in reluctance to go out in public with her, afraid that people will judge him from talking to himself. But even though in his mind, he has accepted her as an illusion, he can cling on to her with some serious co-dependence.

    He can also self sabotage when people, either family, friends, or strangers genuinely try to reach out to him, but refuses their help, thus causing him any chance of healing.

    As for the grief and healing process, everybody deals with it differently. Some start working more, others reach out to people they've taken for granted, or completely shut themselves in and lock their feelings away. Sounds like you want your character to be more of the latter, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    Damn man, thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. Sorry that you had gone through that, but even more so glad that you've survived it and made a positive change from it. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Look at Batman/Bruce Wayne as an example. Dude never shows emotion and is strong and silent, but mentally a freaking train wreck that went into a blender then got shat out of a car compactor.

    Or in other words just because he chooses to express himself outwardly, inwardly he is tormented. So his emotional 'response' will show more in his personal thoughts to reflect his pain and grief. While he may not be a badass vigilante like Batman, running around trying to fix his pain and grief in some form. He could be set on a singular goal of finding this second woman, to the point of maddeningly blind obsession. Willing to do whatever it takes, with little to no thought of what happens to him self, until he finds her alive or dead. Until he gets some form of closure, he is essentially a really warped version of the Schrodinger's Cat experiment until he gets a definitive answer. As such is extremely volatile, has trust issues, and in general highly unpleasant until he gets whatever he is after. And depending on the outcome, he will either turn into a puddle of sorrow, or be so enveloped with gratitude that he will be way overprotective of her.
     
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  12. Marlon Manalese
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    Marlon Manalese Member

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    @Cave Troll you bring up a good point!

    @7XshadowolfX7 you also need to consider the internal AND external ways the grief is expressed. Sometimes they contradict each other, making for a very intimate experience for the reader. For instance internally he can be a wreck, but externally fakes his happiness to others for their sake, and possibly his own. But of course the lack of alignment of our actions vs how we truly think and feel will always hit the surface at some point no matter how many mental blocks you put up. In fact, it bites harder when there are too many mental blocks.
     
  13. 7XshadowolfX7
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    Good point mate.

    Well the string is: they are walking comfortably together. Enjoying eachothers company. Next thing my MC knows is that there is gunfire. He turns to look at himself (unscathed) and then his wife. Four holes along her chest have red blood stains. The MC catches her as she falls, and she slowly dies in his arms. The MC looks up at the shooter who is evidently his brother. His brother at this point has gone insane. And not long after he captures and i mprisons the MC, torturing him on end, to the point of near death.

    The second woman is a year's and years later. Not sure how many yet.

    Simply put anyway.
     
  14. 7XshadowolfX7
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    7XshadowolfX7 Member

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    Damn I love that idea a lot. He believes he is imagining her, a figment of his imagination to replace the loss he feels. Wow. That could really work well. Thank you for sharing that with me. :)
     
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  15. Marlon Manalese
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    You're welcome. Let us know how it goes :D hope you share a snippet of this story in the workshop sometime.
     

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