What do you understand by disenfranchised grief


Grief is an unfortunate but inevitable constituent of human being. There is no 1 who can get away from its effects, effects or bequest and as such it forms a cardinal portion of life. Accurately specifying heartache is an backbreaking procedure. One could state that it is the intense sorrow that is caused by a peculiarly disconcerting event, for illustration the decease of a loved 1. However, such wide accounts merely offer an abstract apprehension of the topic. For when we scratch underneath the surface of the issue we find a complex field of significances and premises that underlie this most common of conditions.

One such avenue of aside will be the focal point of this work ; disenfranchised heartache. Disenfranchised heartache is no less prevailing than any other sort of heartache and although its name is non by and large used as a definitional description it is however something to which we have all at some clip been cognizant of or so suffered from.

In trying to clear up and proffer a compendious significance of disfranchised heartache, we could get down by stating that it is a sort of heartache that is non publically recognised. We can all appreciate and understand the sort of heartache that emanates from the standard protections of loss. However, the really term disenfranchisement ( traditionally refering to the right to vote ) denotes the loss of some right or privilege, the remotion of which is by and large considered to be unfair or unjust. Therefore, in the sense presently under treatment, disenfranchised heartache occurs when the receiver is either unwilling or unable to demo their feelings due to a fright of slight or reproach from other members of society.

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It is the scrutiny of this signifier of heartache that is the ultimate concern of this work. Offered below is a elaborate expounding that outlines the features, happening, procedures and cases of disfranchised heartache along with the effects and possible redresss.

Shaping ‘Convention’ GRIEF’

Grief can basically be viewed as the emotional response that individual adopts following the loss of something to which they hold beloved. However, although the emotional reaction is frequently the most prevailing to loss, it is non to merely one. Often, those who are enduring heartache can exhibit physical or behavioral alterations that stem from a psychological beginning. Therefore, in this sense although the two are frequently intertwined, heartache should be understood as a separate entity to mourning. Whilst heartache is the reaction a individual adopts to loss, mourning is defined as the existent province of loss itself. Furthermore, although experts have in the past attempted to sketch different phases of the grieving procedure that are universally applicable, in recent old ages this method has been the topic of alteration. Grief is a extremely individualized procedure and therefore is affected by a whole overplus of factors that alteration depending on the single mourner and the fortunes in which they live. Such fortunes could include: different household make-up ; the features of the environing society or the spiritual and religious beliefs of the mourner and those around them.

Such is the traditional construct of heartache. Whilst bearing this in head allow us now look at how disfranchised heartache differs from this apprehension.


It was Kenneth Doka who foremost defined in clear and apprehensible footings the construct of disfranchised heartache by gestating a type of heartache that lay beyond the normal protections of sorrow ( Doka, 2002 ; p.3 ) . For Doka, the disenfranchisement of heartache occurs when it is felt that sorrow or heartache can non be publically shown due to a fright of slight or non credence from society. As such, the normal grieving procedure is impeded by society’s impact and the mourner is non allowed to prosecute the normal procedures that are involved in grief declaration. This fits nicely with the common apprehension of disenfranchisement, which normally pertains to the loss of voting privileges that have been removed from the person in an unfair mode. In this case it is social norms and misconceptions that have removed the griever’s right to sorrow and ensue in the heartache being sustained whilst besides being unacknowledged and concealed from those on the exterior. Worden ( 1991 ; p.32 ) has outlined that in order for heartache to be dealt with efficaciously ; four necessary constituents need to unify. First, the world of the heartache has to be accepted ; 2nd, the ensuing hurting caused by the heartache of loss must be sustained and experienced by the mourner ; thirdly, the mourner has to accommodate and set to the alterations that have occurred and get down to cover with the infinite that has been left by the absence of the loss ; eventually, the multitudes of emotion that has come about as a consequence of the loss must be re directed at another relationship, therefore relieving the extent of the hole that has been created. It is when these procedures are interrupted or even halted by society that the mourner is incapable to covering efficaciously with their sorrow ; disenfranchised heartache is the consequence.

Doka ( 2002 ; p.27 ) outlines four different ways in which disenfranchised heartache can happen and therefore be characterised. The first case occurs when the relationship between the mourner and the object of loss is non recognised by society. It is a natural, albeit frequently subliminal feature of society that different relationships are ranked in order of their importance. For illustration, the relationship between a female parent and kid would rank higher than that between two work co-workers. If something occurred which caused sorrow and heartache on the portion of these two braces of people so society’s natural decision would be to see the latter more of import and therefore more dangerous. This procedure consequences in certain relationships being deemed less valid than others and hence less important as a ground for heartache. A natural effect of this is that heartache sustained by person who is viewed to be engaged in a less of import relationship is unacknowledged by society. The 2nd case occurs when the loss itself is non recognised. Once once more, as with relationships, both persons and society of course rank loss in order of importance ensuing in some losingss being viewed as more sorrowful than others. The decease of a pet would non be considered to be as lay waste toing on the mourner as say the decease of a close household member. As such, heartache caused by the decease of a pet is thought to be less terrible and logically justifying less understanding and compassion for the griever’s loss. Once once more, it is society’s construct of badness that dictates the degree to which heartache should be measured, even though the heartache felt for a apparently less of import loss could still be every bit acute as any other. Third, on juncture the existent grieving individual is non recognised as legitimate due to mental incapacity. Examples include the mentally decrepit, the really old and the really immature ( nevertheless every bit is discussed below, I consider the latter is more hard to confirm ) . Finally, disenfranchised heartache occurs when society does non recognize or more pertinently prefers non to recognize the loss that has occurred. For illustration, some deceases such as those related to the Aids virus or to suicide cause alarm and frequently embarrassment on the portion of both the mourner and society in general. As such, the loss sustained is non publically endorsed or acknowledged due to the hard society has in accepting it.

Although illustrations of disfranchised heartache have been briefly offered above, it is necessary to analyze in item the clime and conditions in which it occurs.


First, it is necessary to chase away a common misconception that is often made by ordinary people when they attempt to measure and understand heartache. It is frequently felt that heartache preponderantly consequences from decease, nevertheless, there are many cases where sorrow and heartache can ensue from loss that does non affect decease ( Worden ; 1991 ; p.62 ) Therefore, lets us ab initio look at illustrations of disfranchised heartache that occur independently of decease.

A authoritative illustration that is often used to represent the being of disfranchised heartache is the loss that is sustained by a female parent that has given her kid up for acceptance ( Raphael, 1984 ; p.253 ) . This issue besides fits into all four of the definitional parametric quantities suggested by Doka and outlined above. First, acceptance frequently takes topographic point under shroud of secretiveness which necessarily consequences in the remotion of recognition. Furthermore, acceptance is constantly viewed as the determination of the female parent ; a determination that does non needfully hold to affect the child’s acceptance. As such, the position taken by society is by and large a negative one and consequences in the loss sustained non being viewed as of import ( Raphael, 1984 ; p.254 ) . In add-on, the relationship between female parent and kid has been severed at birth and hence, in society’s construct the relationship is non recognised. The fact that the female parent is considered to be at mistake can do embarrassment on the portion her and her household and besides negate her right to mourn her loss. Therefore, the natural heartache that would usually be considered her right has been removed because of society’s construct and ranking of badness ; her heartache has been disenfranchised.

Another illustration of where disfranchised heartache emerges from a non decease state of affairs is when a kid leaves the household place for the first clip and the parent or parents are left by themselves. Above all, it is by and large considered that this ‘empty nest syndrome’ is a natural portion of a child’s development and something that all parents at some clip have to digest. The badness evaluation that society bestows on this signifier of loss is of course really little when compared to other, more’ serious’ losingss. Given this, although other people may admit the fact that this procedure can be unpleasant, they however mostly ignore the heartache that can ensue ( Raphael, 1984 ; p.309 ) .

In add-on, it is frequently the instance that the decease of famous person can do heartache that is either non recognised or non endorsed by society. Although in some instances, a authoritative illustration being Princess Diana, a mass spring of corporate heartache can follow from the a famous person decease, but on the whole this is non common. Furthermore, although at the outset public heartache may be blunt and echt this by and large tends to lessen as clip base on ballss. However, for some people the acuteness of the loss is so drawn-out that it continues long after both the event itself has past along with the attending dedicated to it by the general populace and mass media. The single mourner is hence distanced from the remainder of society as a effect. In add-on, its is frequently ( though of class non universally ) the instance that people who feel they have developed close links and bonds with famous persons they have ne’er met may be enduring from some signifier of reclusion or deficiency of close personal contact with other people. Therefore, the close friend and household web that is in many instances is deemed indispensable to successfully covering with the procedures of loss are non present. When viewed in concurrence with societies deficiency of recognition of the loss itself, it is clear how the impact of the loss itself can be compounded.

The above illustrations provide a clear indicant of how disfranchised heartache can happen without the constituent of decease. However, although farther elaborate scrutiny is non required, there exists a whole overplus of other non decease related losingss that fit neatly into the definitional standards of disfranchised heartache. These can include: losing 1s occupation or retiring from work ; detecting that either you or a close friend or household member have contracted a serious disease, and out-migration from 1s place state to another or even migration within 1s ain state.

However, although as we have seen, disfranchised heartache can ensue from state of affairss where decease is non present ; the antonym is evidently besides the instance. The decease of a kid during childbearing is frequently cited as an illustration of where the heartache ensuing from decease can be disenfranchised. As with acceptance, society by and large considers that as the maternal nexus between female parent and kid has non been forged the loss sustained is non every bit grave as could hold been the instance. Therefore, in this case both the relationship and the loss itself have failed to be acknowledged by anyone on the exterior ( Spall and Callis, 1997 ; p.81 ) . In add-on to this, it has been efficaciously argued that some member’s society are incapable of properly understanding loss and the heartache that ensues. Children are frequently suggested to organize portion of this group and it is surely the instance that the really immature are shielded from loss so as to forestall confusion and hurt. However, trying to utilize Doka’s definitional standards in this case is debatable. Whenever the decease of a parent is discovered there is an immediate flow of sorrow and apprehension for the kids who have been left behind. Therefore, it can non be said that society fails to admit the loss that has been sustained. Furthermore, although ( as stated above ) on juncture those close to the kid may try to screen them from the impact of loss this does non needfully intend that they believe the kid incapable of understanding or gestating what has taken topographic point. However, in the instance of the mentally decrepit it is surely true that an unadulterated disenfranchisement of heartache is at drama. Due to their mental incapacity such people are considered to be unable to sorrow in the traditional mode. In contrast to kids, the social acknowledgment of loss is far less and besides, whereas kids are deemed capable of increasing cognition and understanding with age, the same is non the instance with the mentally ill. Due to their mental province, it is frequently felt that they will ne’er to the full understand what has occurred and hence will ne’er sorrow in the same manner and under the same force per unit area as a mentally healthy individual ( Doka, 2002 ; p.97 )

We can therefore see the cases where disenfranchised heartache can show itself. However, in order for us to derive a full apprehension of the status it is necessary that we spend clip measuring the impact this signifier of heartache can hold on the mourner themselves.


The ultimate consequence that accompanies disenfranchised heartache is that the normal procedure of heartache declaration is thwarted. As we saw in the above subdivision concerned with definition, four factors make up the traditional procedure that allows us to decide heartache. Let us rapidly run over them once more:

First, the world of the heartache has to be accepted ; 2nd, the ensuing hurting caused by the heartache of loss must be sustained and experienced by the mourner ; thirdly, the mourner has to accommodate and set to the alterations that have occurred and get down to cover with the infinite that has been left by the absence of the loss ; eventually, the multitudes of emotion that has come about as a consequence of the loss must be re directed at another relationship, therefore relieving the extent of the hole that has been created. The job with disfranchised heartache is that the normal procedures of grief declaration are thwarted. Usually it is the societal acknowledgment that aids us in covering with our heartache. However, when heartache is disenfranchised it is constantly hidden from position and therefore the heartache that is sustained is concealed by the mourner. This leads to legion jobs chiefly the intensification and aggravation of the loss. Normal reaction to grief such as choler, solitariness, and fright are non dealt with in the usual mode and as such remain concealed underneath the surface for considerable lengths of clip. Besides, it can sometimes be the instance that heartache that has been disenfranchised is suppressed to such an extent that it is ne’er efficaciously dealt with. When this occurs it has a negative knock on consequence for the remainder of the griever’s life. In peculiar, if heartache has non been successfully dealt with in the first case so it is likely that a similar consequence will happen when farther heartache is encountered ( Doka, 2002 ; p.105 ) . This so compounds the original job. In add-on, the fact that disfranchised heartache is non openly recognised by society and those around us means those who suffer from it can farther retreat from close human contact. The embarrassment that frequently accompanies disenfranchised heartache so causes intensification of this difficultly. Kaufmann ( 1999, p.75 ) offers us a compendious elucidation of this inclination by asseverating that “ the loss of community that may happen as a effect of disfranchised heartache Fosters an staying sense of solitariness and forsaking ” . Furthermore, mourning rites are a traditional portion of heartache declaration, nevertheless they are notably absent in instances of disfranchised heartache ( Littlewood, 1992, P ; 26 ) . All this leads to foster backdown and inability to successfully cover with the loss that had been suffered and future losingss that are yet to happen.

In add-on, the fact that the ensuing heartache remains concealed and subdued for a considerable clip impacts upon the individual’s mental and physical wellness. Physiological jobs ; mental frailty and an addition in unusual and unnatural behavioural forms non merely function to protract the heartache sustained, but besides contribute farther to the procedure of societal and emotional backdown and denial.

The concluding subdivision of this piece will briefly trade with the possible methods that can be adopted to cover with disfranchised heartache and following this I will offer my decisions.


Ultimately, it is the methods of grief declaration that Doka suggested that signifier the best method of covering with disfranchised heartache. First, it is critical that the heartache that is being sustained is identified as disfranchised and so openly recognised by those around the mourner ( Doka, 2002 ; p.134 ) . Of class this could turn out hard as the mourner is frequently likely to hold hidden their feelings for a long clip. Besides, the fact that declaration rites have non or could be used for the intents of relief, means that those around the individual concerned should make all that they can to show and move upon the heartache that is being sustained. Although such methods could travel a long manner to assisting an person who is enduring from disenfranchised heartache we must bear in head that we are mentioning to a status that is serious and drawn-out. As such, in many instances it may be that small can be done for the mourner from within his or her close personal contacts. Ultimately, there will be many cases where professional aid must be kind in order to successfully battle the features and implicit in causes of disfranchised heartache.


We have seen how disfranchised heartache is defined and understood. Furthermore, we can see the happenings where such heartache nowadayss itself, the impact that this has on the single sick person and some possible techniques and methods that could be employed to turn to such jobs. However, in reasoning I would wish to offer my ain really brief appraisal. Throughout this work it has been presupposed that it is the sick person that has the job. However, if we live in society where such annihilating heartache can stay unknown for old ages ; possibly we should reconsider where the mistake for this most atrocious of ailments really resides.


Worden, William.Grief guidance and grief therapy: A Handbook for the mental practician.London: Routledge, 1991.

Doka, Kenneth.Disenfranchised Grief: New Direction and Challenges and Strategies for Practice. New York: Research Press, 2002.

Raphael, Beverley.The Anatomy of Bereavement. London: Routledge, 1984.

Callis, Stephen and Spall, Bob.Loss, Bereavement and Grief. Cheltenham: Stanley Thornes: 1997.

Kaufmann, J.Disenfranchised Grief. New York: Workman, 1999.

Littlewood, Jane.Aspects of Grief. London: Routledge, 1992.

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What do you understand by disenfranchised grief. (2017, Sep 24). Retrieved from http://paperap.com/paper-on-what-do-you-understand-by-disenfranchised-grief/

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