Why do people forget so quickly after a tragic even happens to an individual?

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  1. Victoria Lynn profile image86
    Victoria Lynnposted 11 years ago

    Why do people forget so quickly after a tragic even happens to an individual?

    How quickly they move on and forget that the individual is still suffering.

  2. Credence2 profile image79
    Credence2posted 11 years ago

    Because we are all on borrowed time, to coin a phrase. We have to judiciously use our own time as it is limited. While we are handing out life preservers, we have to be aware that we have a duty to stay afloat ourselves. Again, it might be a point of perspective what may seem a brief time to grieve by one could be an interminable period from the perspective of another. The point is that we all have to stop at one point and get on with our lives as we are unable to determine our own fate or what awaits us in the next day. Great question....

  3. fpherj48 profile image60
    fpherj48posted 11 years ago

    I don't believe that people literally "forget" a tragedy nor the person(s) who have suffered greatly.  However, there is a point at which we realize it is unhealthy and of little benefit to anyone to dwell on sadness and continue to relive an horrendous incident.  When loved ones or close friends are involved, there is unspoken knowledge and silent understanding that although we must move on, and may encourage them to go forward as well, we are "there" for them with love and support. 
    The truth is that tragedies effect most everyone in profound ways and can remain in our memory forever, despite how things may seem outwardly.

  4. Attikos profile image83
    Attikosposted 11 years ago

    Look inside yourself for the answer. You have a life to live. When others suffer tragedy, chances are you do what you can to let them know you care, offer to help in any way you can, and then go back to dealing with your own concerns. To give up your life to their emotional needs is to kill yourself, and that is not an option. Think about it from their perspective, and understand that no one is free to make you the center of his existence.

  5. Marisaupa profile image74
    Marisaupaposted 11 years ago

    Although as a species we are by nature caring and nurturing, we are also programmed to be pragmatic and to move on.  It is something that we carry within our genes.  Yes, we feel empathy, we can mourn, we can even attempt to heal those that are hurting; but in the end, some sooner rather than later, we all reach a point were we must move on.

    I suppose it is a preservation mechanism for us as a species.  It helps us to care for those whom we care for and who sustain an important part in our communal existence, while at the same time permitting us to carry forward for the benefit of the species as a whole when the focus on an individual might challenge the integrity of the group.

  6. Cre8tor profile image94
    Cre8torposted 11 years ago

    I don't think that we forget the event as much as we forget the emotion of the event. This is important for our mental health. Imagine a physical wound that never healed, or healed but the pain remained. How could we move on?
    I do believe that some move on much more quickly than others and in most cases, they are the lucky ones; others may be tormented by their tragedies when they cannot. Lastly, I think it is important to deal with the emotions and not bury them. Without dealing with whatever feelings are involved, I don't feel closure is possible and in some cases, no lesson can be taken away from the event.

  7. rlaha profile image61
    rlahaposted 11 years ago

    I don't think that they forget that a person is suffering.  I think they think about it but not in the way that others would expect them to suffer.  They have to "move on" so to speak with their lives.  To keep thinking about it openly would be devastating for both the people who are suffering and the people who are close to the sufferer.

  8. lostdogrwd profile image59
    lostdogrwdposted 11 years ago

    who want to live in pain. you NEVER FORGET, but the saying goes. life waits for no one. yu have to move on. If not then you die

  9. daskittlez69 profile image66
    daskittlez69posted 11 years ago

    People do not forget the event.  They are just dealing with it in their own way.  I do understand where you are coming from though.  My brother just passed away on Feb 7th, he was only 40 years old.  And it seems that a lot of people are just living their lives now like it did not happen.  I am still in a shocked state where I know he is gone but I do not want to, or cannot believe that he has passed on yet.  Thanks for the great question.

  10. IDONO profile image60
    IDONOposted 11 years ago

    I think the key word is acceptance of things you can't change;like the prayer says. When a person accepts that "this is the way it is and it's not going to change, their tragic emotions have a chance to turn into fond memories. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Especially if loss of a loved one is involved. It happens in ones own time. I don't think people actually forget. I just think some people's grieving process moves faster than others and no disrespect is intended.

  11. Express10 profile image86
    Express10posted 11 years ago

    Some people prefer to avoid discussing certain painful things but may not have forgotten while the person is still suffering. Others find it difficult to connect to that person because their life and actions may have changed. I know of a person that is suffering who pushes many away with nothing but negative and dark tales. Still others around them may have changed as well and not feel the same connection as they once did. I think there are many possibilities, but after something tragic happens life must go on but that doesn't necessarily mean that the incident has been forgotten.

  12. Kebennett1 profile image61
    Kebennett1posted 11 years ago

    Tragic events affect different people in different ways, be it a death, an accident, a personal trauma such as rape, or a severe illness. You have the first person affect, and of coarse they will be affected the hardest and traumatized the most. Then you have their parent or spouse, then their sibling, other family members, best friend, friend, and acquaintance and each one of these will have a different level of trauma and grievance. Next you add to that what personality type each person has, some people are emotionally strong and others are emotionally weak. The emotionally strong person can feel the trauma and grieve silently and appear to move on without any effects. They are simply able to internalize, and process grief in a healthy manner and continue with their day to day activities without dwelling on the tragedy and keeping it in the for front of their speech and actions. Those who are emotionally weak have a hard time processing tragic events. It consumes them. They are unable to process the event and the grief and trauma that comes with it. It stays at the for front of their their minds interfering with their ability move forward in their daily activities without the grief or trauma taking every step with them. Simply put an emotionally healthy trauma processing cycle does not forget but places the trauma away into a safe keeping zone where the mind and heart don't have to dwell on it constantly. These people are not cold or callous they are simply able to function at a healthier level.

  13. TripleAMom profile image77
    TripleAMomposted 11 years ago

    I agree with many of the answers here.  It appears as though people forget our grief because the pain of the event is still so strong to us.  We think, "how can life go on when "x" has just happened"?  How can anyone be happy?  I think there are different levels of people around us that hopefully will be there for us at different depths.  Our family should be the ones to stick by us the longest and give us the support we need to go through the grief process.  They should be the ones to help us handle our more significant feelings, emotions, and specific personal needs during the crisis and thereafter.  Our closest friends will be there for us longer than surface friends.  Hopefully each person has a few really close friends that can help us walk through the process.  These are the people that don't have a problem asking what you need, just sitting and listening, etc.  Finally, our surface friends  and acquaintences may acknowledge the occurrance, send a card, etc, but may go no further than that.  It's not necessarily that they forget the event that occurred, but they don't have the same emotional investment in your life that your best friends and family do. 

    It is definately important to make sure that there are people around that know you are still suffering and that you need help in dealing with the tragedy.  If you appear to be doing well, putting on a good front, others will feel you are doing better than you are.  It's OK to ask for help.

  14. teaches12345 profile image79
    teaches12345posted 11 years ago

    There are a lot of great answers posted and so helpful in understanding this question. (Glad you asked this question!)  I would agree with those who stated that the tragedy is a sudden blow and we deal with it quickly.  However, the memory of the event does not disappear altogether.  Often, it is relived and resurfaces as outside stimuli cause it to revive.  It takes time to heal and over time, with support and a postive move foward, things do get better.

  15. profile image0
    Catzgendronposted 11 years ago

    You never forgot yet there comes a time when you have to move on.  I have dealt with my share of tragic events and in order to move past I had to stop reliving the sadness and reflect on the impact they made on my life. Remember the happy moments we shared and the silly things we did. 
    Not that I have forgotten the events because from time to time they surface for one reason or another and my sadness lingers for awhile then I have pull my self up from the boot straps and continue the journey called life.

  16. whonunuwho profile image54
    whonunuwhoposted 11 years ago

    Psychologists say that repressing tragic events is one way a person has in dealing with an extremely stressing circumstance. We are not likely to forget anything, moreover we probably hold these memories in our subconscious at times, in order to function mentally and accept life as it comes. If the tragedy happens to someone else, it is human nature to put this out of mind and try to think only of pleasantries.It can be done successfully to an extent, until a song, similar event, or something associated in our minds, brings the old memories back to the surface once again.Our minds are quite complicated and each person has their own way in dealing with the good and bad memories in our lives.

  17. buckleupdorothy profile image69
    buckleupdorothyposted 11 years ago

    Depending on the kind of pain (the precipitating event), I often think that after an initial mourning period the kindest thing to do with a person in psychological pain is to try to act as normally as possible.

    If I am hurting for any reason and people around me handle me with kid gloves, I am about 200% more likely to spend a good portion of my day crying. However, if those around me allow me to focus on things like being my productive self at work or get interested in my studies, anything that allows me to re-enter daily life on my own terms, then I can also deal with the pain on my own terms, instead of being forced to feel it constantly and in public. It also lets me know that they have not redefined me by the precipitating event and assures me that I can live through it.

  18. kgc-66 profile image60
    kgc-66posted 11 years ago

    I do not believe that people "forget" the tragic events that happen to other people, because "forgetting" suggests an overall lack of awareness.  I do believe that, in many circumstances, people are sympathetic but do not know how to handle tragic situations.  They find them uncomfortable.  They remind them of their own mortality.  They are afraid they will say the wrong thing.  They somehow think that bringing it up in conversation will "remind" the suffering of their grief or pain all over again (as if they have forgotten it themselves).  They want to see the person regain their strength and happiness and, in misguided fashion, believe that continued acknowledgement of the situation will slow the healing.  Grief or trauma recovery is a very individual process.  I believe the best thing we can do for people during difficult times is to listen.  Sit quietly and really listen to what they have to say, happy or not, comfortable or not.  They realize you can't fix the situation or magically make the pain go away - they just want to know that you acknowledge their circumstances and care.

  19. susiempn profile image79
    susiempnposted 11 years ago

    I personally don't believe that people are forgetting the tragedy , I believe that they may be uncomfortable dealing with the suffering that the other person is continuing to experience. They may be at a loss as to what to say and do and it's easier to give the initial condolences and not mention it again, in the hope that they have "done enough".

  20. profile image0
    matama ellieposted 11 years ago

    Because life is for the living.We are naturally wired to have strong natural instincts and those dictate that we move on with our lives.Unfortunately,we sometimes don't remember to help the victims who are not ready to move on.It is a conundrum.Survival depends on adaptability yet empathy dictates we stay and help out.In the end,each tragedy should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

  21. profile image0
    Billie Paglioloposted 11 years ago

    I think people don't know how to broach the subject.  One of my best friends while talking about  her divorce, simply stopped me in mid- sentence and said,  "Billie, I don't want your advice, I don't need your opinion, I just want you to listen."  And speaking of divorce - there's a tragedy that few know how to address or want to address with a grieving friend.  No one sends flowers and no one cries, there is no coffin, no closure. And friends want and need closure. Sometimes we have to accept their need and know that only those who have grieved truly understand the grieving.


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