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What Is Disenfranchised Grief?

Disenfranchised grief is a type of grief that isn’t accepted or acknowledged by society. (This makes sense, as Merriam-Webster defines “disenfranchised” as being “deprived of some right, privilege, or immunity.”) For example, people may tell the grieving person that they should be “over it” by now. Unfortunately, when someone’s grief isn’t validated by those around them, they may not get the support they need to cope with their loss, which can in turn prolong the grieving period.

When Is Grief Disenfranchised?

Disenfranchised grief can occur whenever someone’s grief doesn’t align with societal expectations. For instance, your grief may be disenfranchised if:

  • You’re grieving the loss of someone who wasn’t a close friend or immediate family member.
  • You regularly experience death as part of your job, and as such, your loved ones expect you to not take those losses so personally (this is common among doctors, nurses, and EMTs).
  • You’re grieving the loss of something other than life (e.g., a friendship or a job).
  • You’re not experiencing the emotions normally associated with grief (e.g., sadness and anger).
  • Your grief lasts longer than your loved ones expect it to.

Discuss Your Grief With a Professional

Disenfranchised grief can lead to serious consequences, such as depression, low self-esteem, withdrawal from social circles, and substance abuse. So, if you think you may be experiencing disenfranchised grief, it’s important that you speak to a therapist who specializes in healing from loss. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of the knowledgeable therapists at our practice.

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