Men and Mourning

by J-Stacknik
Men hold their grief inside which stops them from mourning and coming to terms with the death of a loved one.

Men and women grieve differently. Women are more open and look for comfort while men tend to hold their grief inside.

Some people show their grief after something tragic happens, such as a death of a loved one, and some keep their grief private and to themselves. The latter is what appears to be the norm for men. When faced with the devastating loss of a loved one, many men hide their grief believing they must not give in to their sadness in front of their family and friends. While grief is an internal experience, mourning is how we express our grief to the outside world. According to Dr. Alan Wolfelt founder of the  Center for Loss and Life Transition, “All men grieve when someone they love dies, but to truly heal they must also learn how to mourn.”

Grief makes us examine our own selves and many of us, particularly woman will take the time to immerse ourselves in mourning and remembrance. Setting aside this time  for mourning is necessary for healing to begin. Men, on the other hand, tend to want to keep busy in order that they don’t spend time thinking about the passing of a loved one. But by not giving time to examine their feelings they are not able to grieve and mourn and so healing can not begin.

Inevitably, we often compare how a woman grieves to that of a man in times of tragedy. Most women are not afraid to show their grief, especially through tears, and will seek human contact and a shoulder to cry on to help them with the process of mourning. Men, on the other hand, will often run away from the grief and internalize it before they deal with it, or in some cases, are forced to deal with it. It is not uncommon for men to be angry first and then feel the grief after the anger dissipates. Women, however, tend to grieve first and then feel angry afterwards.

Throughout the ages society has dictated that men are the protectors in the family and are responsible for providing all things to his family. When a loved one dies, the man feels as if it is his fault because he wasn’t able to protect the person from death.

Dr. Alan Wolfelt Ph.D., believes that if a man or woman does not embrace his or her grief they may suffer serious long-term problems such as depression, low self-esteem, deterioration of their relationships and health issues including chemical abuse or dependence. It is important to recognize these signs before they become a larger problem in addition to the denial of grief and mourning.

A good way for a man to deal with his grief is to talk about it. Talk to a partner, a family member or seek professional help. Talking about it openly and being honest about their feelings will help them on the road to acceptance about the grief they are feeling and will give them the ability to mourn.

Read more:

Dr. Alan Wolfelt Helping a Man Who Is Grieving

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