I will elaborate more about my question, so I need a word or some words to describe this; my ex gf broke up with me and instantly started talking to someone else, but she's only talking to this person because she doesn't want to feel lonely and because she's trying to avoid feeling guilty about making me feel heart broken. I know she feel this way because she still text me and checks my social media n stuff but that's not the point. What word or words describe her actions. It's kind of like the word remorse but trying to avoid it. What word describes that, avoiding feeling remorse?


2 Answers 2


"concealed remorse" may fit and it is often an unconscious behavior. The person's actions may be the ones you describe, though, more often than not, it's one of trying to pamper the other person.

From the literature:

"His life, from St. Bartholomew's day, was clouded with ill-concealed remorse ; and, though endowed with far less sense than cunning, he seems now to have been occasionally able to comprehend, with perfect correctness, how atrocious and impolitic was the persecution he. had instituted." - History of Reformation

"Notwithstanding this apparent harmony, Mr. Douglas would sometimes revert mentally to the anonymous letter he received prior to marriage, and the dark hint it conveyed of Phoebe's having some concealed remorse." - The Ladies' Cabinet of Fashion, Music, and Romance


I'm reluctant to use a Freudian psychoanalytic term here, but, psychoanalytic defence mechanisms are common enough in popular culture for many to be understood.

Psychological repression.

Psychological repression, or simply repression, is the psychological attempt made by an individual to direct one's own desires and impulses toward pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one's consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious.

It ensures that what is unacceptable to the conscious mind, which would arouse anxiety if recalled, is prevented from entering into it...


As I said, I don't like using these terms because I think psychoanalysis is unscientific, but since Freud and his followers and the many offshoots of it, the last last 120 years or so, they have had a major impact not only in popular psychology, but in our vocabulary also.

There is another psychological term coined in 1957 by Leon Festinger which may also apply. Cognitive dissonance is also very common in pop culture, you hear it quite a bit, but not as often as repression.

Cognitive dissonance

A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance. This is done by making changes to justify their stressful behavior, either by adding new parts to the cognition causing the psychological dissonance, or by actively avoiding social situations and/or contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.


Just to give you some context, cognitive dissonance, as far as I know, was not theorised with regard to interpersonal relationships. I believe that many of the experiments for cognitive dissonance were stuff like rationalising buyer's remorse and spending money, voting, making choices generally and that sort of stuff.

An example given of cognitive dissonance is Aesop's fable of the Fox and the Grapes:

A fox spies high-hanging grapes and wishes to eat them. When unable to reach the grapes, the fox decides the fruit are not worth eating, and he justifies his decision by claiming to himself that the grapes likely are sour, for being unripe.

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