timesofummah.com – Disenfranchised Grief is a sadness that people around don’t recognize. Most people experience feelings of grief when they lose something they value and care about. Sadness is present and it can be very painful. In this situation, individuals who are grieving need social support from those closest to them.
The 2020 BMC Psychiatry report also explains that getting social support during moments of grief can increase feelings of well-being. In addition, this can also help prevent mental problems including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide.
However, what happens if the closest people do not provide support? In fact, they seem to act as if they do not acknowledge the feelings of grief that individual is feeling. This can result in disenfranchised grief or grief that is not acknowledged.
Disenfranchised grief is a condition when someone loses something important in their life, but the loss is not appreciated or recognized by others. This is because his way of grieving is considered not in accordance with the normal parameters in society.
The culture that develops in society often urges a person to minimize confusion or feelings of grief. For example, in the case of death, other people may give advice to let go of someone who has passed away and not dissolve in grief. In fact, when feelings of loss are ignored, it can lead to a more complicated and prolonged grieving process.
In addition, not being included in the process of mourning ceremonies (eg funerals) can increase feelings of social isolation and lead to disenfranchised grief. However, the ceremonial process plays a therapeutic function for the mourners, helps in dealing with the reality of loss, provides space for introspection on death, and fosters awareness and assimilation of the grieving process.
There are several factors that cause disenfranchised grief, including:
- The relationship is not considered significant, so the individual’s grief seems disproportionate.
- Lack of social understanding of a relationship, makes it difficult for others to identify and validate the individual’s grief related.
- A relationship is considered as public knowledge, so that other people are not able to understand the feelings of grief felt by the individual.
- The individual in question may express his grief in a way that is inconsistent with the expected bereavement behavior that prevails in society.
Disenfranchised grief is often experienced by individuals or groups of people, including members of different racial, ethnic or religious minorities. This can be caused by patriarchal values, the supremacy of skin color which is rooted in society, even the media.
Disenfranchised grief is not limited to death cases, but also applies to other cases such as losing a job, losing a pet, or missing an important event. Relationships that are not acknowledged or belittled can cause disfranchised grief in various capacities.
Other types of disenfranchised grief include:
- Disowned relationship: For example, people you normally live with (a friend or boyfriend) decide to leave.
- Cases where grief is not acknowledged: Grief resulting from a divorce, being fired from a job, or the death of a coworker may not be recognized by others as “reasonable grief.”
- Cases where bereaved people are not acknowledged: This can happen to people who have developmental disabilities. Their feelings of loss tend to be ignored.
- Stigmatized death: This relates, for example, to death from suicide, abortion, or addiction.
- When the grieving process does not conform to societal norms: May include cultural differences or prolonged grief.
Grief process validation allows a person to experience the cycle of grief and process their feelings. When sadness doesn’t get validation from others, the grieving process becomes disrupted. As a result, the individual may not be able to process his emotions optimally. In other words, the person internalizes the lack of validation as an internal conflict.
Negative events in life can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anger, and guilt. The physical symptoms that also accompany it are difficulty sleeping and changes in appetite. It is important to understand that these symptoms can be exacerbated when grief is not recognized by others and is not socially accepted.
Disenfranchised grief can in fact be overcome by involving real efforts with supporting parties. This can be done by building interactions with trusted family members or friends. Then engage in religious rituals such as praying, meditating, or discussing with religious leaders. Equally important is joining a support group and trying therapy-based treatments.
Mental health service providers may recommend the type of therapy that is considered best to help overcome their client’s problems. Forms of therapy that can help with disenfranchised grief include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
- narrative therapy.
- Art therapy.
- Group therapy.
Exposure to sad life events can bring grief. Plus, a lack of social support can interfere with the process of coping with grief itself.
It is important for us to recognize the grief we feel as valid. Don’t attribute other people’s thoughts or opinions to the sad feelings you’re experiencing. It’s okay to feel bad. Everyone has their own mechanism for responding to life events.