5 Stages of Character Withdrawal

Hi everybody!! So today I am going to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. It is something that I think all of us must have had this issue at some point, well I guess calling it an issue is going a little too far but I digress. Basically the randomness I am going to bring you to today revolves around something that I have dubbed “Character Withdrawal”. What is this, you may ask. Character Withdrawal is described in the Dictionary of Random Ka-chan Phrases that Probably Apply to No One Else as:

fake dictionary entry

You may have a severe case of this withdrawal or a minor case. Either way, I think everyone has probably experienced this at one point. This post will explain to you the stages of Character Withdrawal and what you may experience if you have not gone through this before. Lets get started!!


Stage 1: Recognition

Recognition is the first stage of character withdrawal. It involves the moment when it becomes clear that the character will no longer be in the story. Examples include someone announcing they will be going away, an argument that causes a fight, or even a serious injury (which may or may not have resulted in death). Here are some visual examples. 

Withdrawal picture

stage 2: denial

As with any emotional trauma, there is always a stage of denial. Character Withdrawal is no different. In this stage, you basically just continue to deny that the character is gone. This involves thinking that the character will reappear soon, and that their leaving is just a short, temporary issue. Especially thinking that the in the next episode you watch or chapter you read. Denial can also be expressed when you are upset with the way that something ended.

Stage 3: resurfacing

Stage three is resurfacing. Sometimes this stage can almost be more painful than the first stage. Resurfacing involves something that causes the character to appear briefly for any reason. This is usually done in two ways:
1. Flashbacks: The character appears in the form of the flashback. This way the character is still present in the show, but not in the present story line. The showing of a previous series of events often causes the fan to miss the way things were.
2. Change of Focus: What this is when the focus of the story changes. For example, when a story revolves around one character but then the focus briefly changes to the character who is no longer a part of the main story line. It may show what they are doing which can be both helpful, or make the viewer miss this character even more. I don’t know maybe because the character knows that the other characters are going through a hard time and instead of going and being with his friends he sits there with a guy he hardly knew 10 chapters ago and keeps talking about how he finally “Has grown to love karuta again.”

Wait what? hahaha. Ignore that. Moving on.
As I previously mentioned, this stage can often cause the viewer some emotional issues. They can become either mad, upset, or downright furious. Sure the creators probably thought the viewer may have wanted to see the character again, but the way we interpret what they do may be a little different from what they thought.

stage 4: Acceptance

 This is the hardest stage. It involves admitting to yourself that the character who has disappeared may not come back. You have to find out a way to stop the character withdrawal from affecting you. It may seem like there is no way to come to terms with this issue, but it is a fact that you need to accept. If you do not go through the acceptance stage and accept the fact that the character is not coming back. It is the hardest stage to get through, especially if resurfacing continues to occur in the story. However, getting through this stage is what you have to do to be able to focus on the characters who are still in the story.

stage 5: resolution

As with every cycle of grief, there has to be the end of this cycle. Eventually the answer to the question “Will this character ever come back?” is answered. Of course there are only two major answers to this question:
1. Yes the character will be coming back. They appear and come back into the main story in some way, either good or bad. (*cough* Sasuke *cough*) But they are back and that is what gives us a reaction like this:

This is the best resolution to character withdrawal that we can get. This is what we are hoping for people. More than just a little appearance here or there, they are back for good. YAY!!

2. We hear in set words that the character is never coming back. Probably a few glimpses (maybe) but this character is no longer a major player of the story. It is sad, I know, and may send you onto the stages of grief. Which a real issue that I will not discuss today. This result may give you a reaction a little like this:
It may seem hard, but maybe the character just had to leave. Maybe it is what was best for the story. Maybe they cannot come back for……health reasons. You know what I mean? I think that you know what I mean. This is, naturally, not the desired result but it is the one that we get sometimes. If this has been the result to one of your cases of character withdrawal, I have been there and I am SOO sorry. We can get through this together.

Either way, after one of these two options occur there is a resolution to your character withdrawal. Getting to this point can take an unknown amount of time. There is no way for me to tell you “Don’t worry, in three chapters you will know whether or not they’re coming back?” It can come either instantly or many, many chapters or episodes later. It will come to an end at some point, I promise. And you will get through it.

So what is the point of this post? Well in all honesty I do not really know. I have experienced the feeling of missing a character a lot, so I made up these 5 Stages of Character Withdrawal just as a silly way to explain what I was kind of going through, It was all a part of just some random stuff on my part and I thought it would be fun to post about. There is a little bit of truth to this, I think, but none of it was really meant to be taken VERY seriously. The mentioning of the withdrawal being close to a withdrawal from a narcotic was not serious. Withdrawal from a drug is a serious issue and should be taken seriously. Just wanted to mention that too. 

What do you guys think? Have you experienced character withdrawal? What character was it that you missed? Any extra stages you would add? Let me know down in the comments below!!

See you next time!!


2 thoughts on “5 Stages of Character Withdrawal

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