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After exposure to trauma or stressful experiences, some people cope by avoiding any emotions that arise associated with the trauma. Avoidant behaviours may include those that look harmless like watching a movie or dangerous like engaging in substance use. Some people can withdraw from family and friends in response to a traumatic exposure or stressful situation. Withdrawal behaviours include irritability, reduced communication, and limited engagement in family life. Avoidance and withdrawal behaviours mean that the PSP is not able to provide emotional or instrumental support within the family.
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The below links lead to additional material where you can learn actionable strategies to combat avoidance and withdrawal, and a couples toolkit page that will demonstrate ways in which couples can support each other.