When Grief Goes Unacknowledged
Grief can be born out of a lot of different factors through life. A loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and other major life changes can bring on feelings of grief. But when grief goes unnoticed or unacknowledged, either by you or your loved ones, it can be truly devastating.
When You Don’t Acknowledge Your Grief
Grief can be a difficult thing to take on when you are aware of it. Denial is the first stage of grief; and that doesn’t just apply to the cause of grief. Many people don’t fully realize they are suffering from grief until it really hits them. Recognizing that you are hurting is the first step to recovering, and moving towards acceptance. Acknowledging your grief allows you to start processing your emotions.
Accepting that you are grieving, and realizing that the source of your pain has come from your loss may not make you feel any better. In fact, some people feel guilty or shameful for realizing that a lost loved one is the cause of such pain. It may not make it easier, but accepting that your grief and emotions are legitimate is the first step to processing them properly.
When Your Grief is Disenfranchised
Disenfranchised grief occurs when others around you are not accepting of your grief. This can be a matter of other’s indifference, lack of knowledge, or dismissal of your feelings. Your feelings towards a lost loved one are your own, but it may be hard for others to accept them.
Disenfranchised grief often occurs when others don’t legitimize your feelings, because of the nature of your relationship with the deceased. A common example of this is when friends or family don’t understand why you are grieving the loss of an ex-husband. Deaths from socially controversial causes, such as suicide or overdose, may be met with similar disenfranchizement.
Overcoming Grief Despite Others
It is important to understand that no matter how others may react to or ignore your feelings of grief, that you are the one who has to process those emotions. Your feelings are your own, and you are allowed to grieve. Everyone processes loss differently, you can grieve in your own way. Feelings of loss are just something that you must face; with or without others acknowledging your struggle. Consider joining a grief support group, to find others who understand your hurt, and may be able to offer guidance and a helping hand. You may want to seek out a grief counsellor or therapist to help you legitimize your grief and to help begin your path to recovery during the mourning process.
The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here.
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.