Understanding and Preventing Disenfranchised Grief

Monday, March 22, 2021

Learning that you've lost someone you care about can be a major shock, but for many people, it's only the first part of a long grieving process.

Your surroundings are often a huge factor in how you move through this grief. Friends might send you flowers, neighbors might call to ask how you're doing, and people at work might treat you more gently. But if you don't have these things, this absence can send you into even more waves of grief.

This is what happens during disenfranchised grief. Once you know what it is, though, you'll be able to better protect yourself and your loved ones. Keep reading to find out more about how it all works.

How Disenfranchised Grief Happens

Disenfranchised grief is a category that covers a wide range of loss that is either minimized or not socially sanctioned. For example, this can include the death of a person whose connection to you is secret or hard to explain.

Loss itself is a difficult process to go through, but disenfranchised grief can make it even harder. It can make you feel alone, and it may even lead you to doubt your own experience. But it's important to give your feelings the respect they deserve.

A Mismatch in Societal Response

When you're going through a difficult loss, there are lots of ways that societal grieving can help.

On the practical side, you might be able to take a leave from work. If you attend school, an excused absence can help you focus on your emotions and forget about your responsibilities for the time being.

In the case of disenfranchised grief, however, it can be hard to gain access to this kind of support. For example, if you are grieving the loss of a friend you know from the internet, others might not understand the severity of this loss. They might assume your attachment to this person was superficial or less serious than an in-person connection.

When you don't get this external support, you can end up feeling isolated or misunderstood. But disenfranchised grief happens to many people, and it deserves proper support. Just because it's less socially accepted than other types of grief doesn't make it any less real.

Getting Support for the Grief Process

Just like any other experience of grief, disenfranchised grief can get easier with support from others. If you feel that you're lacking an understanding response from your friends, family, and co-workers, you might want to turn to professional counseling.

You might even be able to find a support group of people who are going through the same experience as you. This can help you feel less alone in your grieving process.

If you are trying to prevent disenfranchised grief in the people around you, you might want to look into the funeral pre-planning process. This way, you have the opportunity to emphasize the importance of the major relationships in your life—even if those connections aren't obvious to outsiders.

You're Not Alone

Going through disenfranchised grief can feel confusing and difficult, but there is hope. You can benefit from grief support just like anyone else going through a loss.

And if you have questions for us here at Schumacher & Benner, just reach out. We have plenty of experiencing helping people through grief and loss, and we'd love to help.

Since 1905, families in the Greater Pottstown area have turned to the independent, family-owned Schumacher and Benner Funeral Home & Crematory to meet their funeral needs with professionalism and sensitivity.  

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