Anyone can experience grief, the feelings of overwhelming emotion or deep sorrow that a loss can cause. Grief is usually thought of regarding the loss of someone close to you. However, disenfranchised grief can be a lesser-acknowledged form of grief that is still deeply upsetting for the person experiencing a loss and can be challenging to overcome.
In this post, we will explore the meaning of disenfranchised grief, the possible causes and what to do if you are experiencing it.
Understanding Disenfranchised Grief
Although general society still acts like specific topics, such as mental health, are a little taboo, grief is generally a well-accepted feeling. However, there is still a way to go as some forms of grief or experiences are still seen as ‘less than’ and go unacknowledged by others.
Disenfranchised grief occurs when a person is experiencing the symptoms of grief, yet others around them in their close circle of friends or colleagues do not recognise the grief.
The lack of acknowledgement can, therefore, cause the person experiencing grief to receive a lack of support or even have their feelings invalidated. Therefore, knowing the causes of disenfranchised grief and the symptoms of any type of grief is important so you can recognise these feelings within yourself or others and seek appropriate personal support or professional help.
Possible Causes of Disenfranchised Grief
- Breakdown in relationship both romantic and friendship.
- Seeing a loved one experiencing addiction.
- Witnessing a loved one who has dementia.
- Death of someone where your relationship is not recognised as ‘legitimate’ or ‘personal’ by society. For example, the death of a patient or customer, abuser, old friend, or ex-partner.
- Death of pets.
- Being diagnosed with infertility.
- Undergoing an abortion.
- Moving abroad and being around an unfamiliar culture and away from friends and family.
- Job loss.
Symptoms of Disenfranchised Grief
As expressed in our blog post about what grief feels like, many people feel guilt, depression, pain or sickness, and shock, among other feelings. There is no one size fits all way to experience grief, so please familiarise yourself with the NHS list of emotional and physical symptoms of grief if you have time. Learning the signs can help you recognise, seek help and cope with this form of distress.
How to Cope With Disenfranchised Grief
Disenfranchised grief can be complicated and hard to manage. If you feel like you are dealing with this emotion or know someone going through it, please research where to get help in times of need, reach out to friends and family for support or join the Inscripture support group on Facebook to connect with others experiencing loss.
As a brand that creates beautiful Memorial Jewellery pieces such as Fingerprint Jewellery, or Handwriting Jewellery, we also have an article on our website about the stages of grief as this is often a commonly recognised cause of disenfranchised grief, especially when your workplace doesn’t identify this as a reason for taking sudden leave.