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Gender Differences in Expressing Grief

Men and women experience loss events differently. These could be beneficial, but they frequently present a gender-biased picture of the grieving process. We must acknowledge that each person is unique, and as a result, his or her distinctive style may be a fusion of often mentioned gender trends.

Some of the things on the list could look more "feminine," while others might seem more "masculine." Grieving can be done in any way—right or bad.

There is the individual's method; what is crucial is what works for him or her. The companioning concept that was previously described might include assisting people in discovering effective strategies.

Women communicate about their sentiments easily, according to their beliefs.

Men tend to be more emotionless and stoic.

Women recount and repeat their experiences in order to make sense of them. Men don't need to be told that the tale is ingrained in their minds.

Women appear to navigate loss using their emotions as the compass.

Men typically use their INTELLECT to THINK their way through their sadness.

It's common to hear women's language characterized as intuitive, earthy, flowing, or elusive.

Men are said to speak in a more structured, controlled, and goal-oriented manner.

Women primarily pay attention to CONNECTIONS and interdependence; they also investigate emotions.

Men tend to speak more independently and dependably, prioritizing keeping control over the outside environment.

Women are urged to place a strong emphasis on attachment, connection, and closeness.

Less self-disclosure, less expression, and less interdependence are taught to men.

Women want for friendship to bolster emotions and satisfy intimate requirements. They find assistance in groups.

Men experience internal grief, and they labor more cognitively. They value having some quiet time to consider things. The fact that some people choose not to express their emotions does not imply that they are not affected by tragedy; rather, it simply means that they lack the vocabulary or the need to do so.

Some people's feelings over the occurrence are intense and beyond words or expression. This must not be interpreted as being heartless or frigid. Once the fact is communicated honestly, the person might not be prepared to accept it.

In their most recent work, Kenneth Doka and Terry Martin discuss "transcending gender norms" and distinguish between the "intuitive griever" and the "instrumental griever," the two basic mourning styles.

They also introduce the "mixed style griever," a third. The two elements that make up the "blended" style are seen below:

Psychic Griever:

FEELINGS are profoundly felt, and actions like sobbing and bemoaning reflect the inner experience.

Successful adaptive strategies help people feel and express their emotions.

Physical weariness and/or worry may follow protracted periods of perplexity, inability to focus, disorganization, and disorientation.

THINKING is predominant to feeling as an experience; feelings are less intense. There is a general reluctance to talk specifically about feelings. Problem-solving as a strategy enables mastery of feelings and control of the environment in creating the new normal. Brief periods of cognitive dysfunction are common—confusion, forgetfulness, obsessiveness. Energy levels are increased.

Doka asserts that patterns exist on a continuum. Grievers and responders who exhibit a BLENDING of the two styles and are close to the center exhibit a variety of both patterns. Depending on the loss and the emotional connection to that loss, one pattern may be more obvious than another. This pattern shows that even more adaptive strategy options are required than for the griever who is more committed to one of the two techniques outlined above. Instead of gender itself, socialization may play a role in how a gender influences a specific style. One must carefully analyze and support the individual's style. Therefore, understand that there is only one method this person must grieve this specific loss; there is no right or incorrect way to do it. Some people have never experienced a sudden death, so they are unsure of how to grieve and adjust to the loss. Patience is crucial, as are encouragement and support for the person at any given moment after the loss. Personality and mannerisms matter; some people are less talkative than others, while others deliberate before responding. Others respond emotionally first before assembling themselves for action, while some jump directly into a task and take charge of a situation. The "blended" pattern may be represented by both genders.


Gender Issues in Bereavement, Ion 7, 16


Mimi Rothschild

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder and CEO of the Global Grief Institute which provides Certification training programs forGrief Coach, Trauma Coach, End of Life Coach, and Children's Grief Coach. She is a survivor who has buried 3 of her children and her husband of 33 years. She is available for speaking engagements and comments to the press on any issue surrounding thriving after catastrophic loss. MEDIA INQUIRIES:

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