Dealing with Disenfranchised Grief

Posted on November 25, 2019 by Lifesong Funerals under cremation
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Grief resources are among the cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL. Grief is a whole body experience. It consumes us mentally, emotional, physically, and perhaps, for a time, even spiritually. Emotions run the gambit, stress levels are high, and we can suffer physical pain and illness as a result. We can also feel run down, depressed, and unable to focus on anything.

However, it’s not uncommon for the people we interact with regularly – and this can include family members – to not understand the symptoms of our grief. There are two reasons for this. One reason may simply be that they’ve never lost a loved one, so they haven’t experienced the kind of grief that follows death. The second reason may be that they have lost a loved one, and they are convinced that the way they grieved or handled their grief afterwards is the only way people grieve.

cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL

In either case, they (employers, teachers, family members, friends, etc.) will be the first ones to tell us things like we’re overreacting, that we need to get over it and move on, and that we’re grieving too long. They will not recognize that all the “problems” they are seeing with mental, emotional, and physical health are because of the toll that grieving takes on the human body.

When people dismiss or punish our grief, we are experiencing disenfranchised grief.

Disenfranchised grief happens with every kind of grief over loss, but it’s especially common when we experience a loss that doesn’t fit within the parameters of others’ expectations.

A very common example is the deep grief that couples experience over a miscarriage. Many people don’t think that warrants the same kind of grief as the loss of a family member, a spouse, or a child. And yet that pregnancy was a child in the making, so in reality couples who’ve experienced miscarriages have actually lost a child.

Another common example is deep grieving over the loss of a beloved pet. Especially in the American culture now, pets are very deeply woven into people’s lives. They refer to them as their children and their parents call them their grandchildren. With those kind of emotional attachments, and the long life of some pets, the grief when they die is very intense and pronounced.

It hurts when other people don’t understand the grieving you’re experiencing. It adds to the trauma of the loss you’ve experienced.

However, there is a more severe form of disenfranchised grief, which is known as suffocated grief.

Suffocated grief is grief that is not only unacknowledged, but is also punished.

Suffocated grief is especially common for children who are grieving when they are in school. These children may be disruptive and unruly, or tired and lethargic, and they are punished by school personnel for their behavior. Underprivileged children may be the most strongly affected by suffocated grief. When the norms of grief through one person or institution’s eyes are imposed on everyone else, the imposition basically says that person or institution gets to decide who gets to grieve and who doesn’t.

When the normal reactions of grief are not acknowledged and are punished, they can have devastating long-term effects. When no support is given for grieving children who may miss homework assignments or fail tests, while before they were doing well in school, then it can lead to a further decline in academic performance. They may fail the entire school year and be held back a year, or put in remedial classes the next year. To a child, this is a particularly hard defeat to come back from, and most never do.

For more information about grief resources and cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL, including grief resources, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lifesong Funerals & Cremations is here to assist you. You can visit our funeral home at 20 S. Duval St., Quincy, FL 32351, or you can call us today at (850) 627-1111.

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