In Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter, Jack Miller travels to the Artic to escape a mundane life. He’s haunted by feelings of inadequacy in both his work life and socially. The other men on the trip are far above his social station, and he feels he is only invited along to make up the numbers. This isolates him from his travel companions, contributing to his remaining behind at the camp when the others have fled. Being the character left behind in a ghost story is not usually a good thing!
In Haverscroft, Kate and her husband, Mark, are haunted by the spectre of an affair. It pulls them in separate directions, isolating them emotionally from each other. They have moved from their familiar family home to the beautiful but crumbling Haverscroft House for a fresh start. Kate is traumatised by the damage caused to her marriage and the harm it will do to her children as divorce looms ever closer. When she experiences the supernatural in the house, she initially dismisses it due to her emotional state. Mark deals with marital trauma by making himself absent much of the time. The act of running away means he does not experience the haunting at Haverscroft to the same degree as his wife and family. To Mark, Kate seems strung out and irrational. He ignores her concerns, instead assuming she’s having a breakdown. Like Jack Miller, that wasn’t a good move.
The main character(s) can become distracted to such an extent by their relationships that they do not fully grasp the danger they face. This ramps up the tension for the reader, who is often far more aware of the bigger picture.