There is no experience more shattering than the death of a loved one.
Whether death creeps in slowly or strikes out of the blue, the hardest thing will always be to let go of the person emotionally.
For HSP’s (Highly Sensitive People), the loss of a loved one is felt even more deeply.
Nothing can truly prepare us for the deep, profound sorrow caused by the loss of those closest to us. Our belief system, our religion, or our preferred coping mechanism might offer some comfort, but we must each deal with the loss in our own way.
Whether it’s our children, our parents, our spouse, our friends, or our lover, the pain is so intense that words cannot adequately describe the feeling.
The surge of emotions passing through us can have a paralyzing effect that often feels overwhelming.
All human beings have a broadly similar way of experiencing grief, but different demographics and individuals have unique ways of dealing with the specific pain of personal loss.
Do Women Grieve Differently Than Men Do?
Almost everyone, regardless of age or gender, goes through an initial stage where there is a tendency to feel anger or denial after the loss of a loved one.
The World Health Organization identifies gender as an essential variable for understanding this phenomenon.
Gender disparity reveals that males and females actually do differ in their manner of coping in the face of grief.
For example, when a family member dies, female members of the family are generally more open and willing to display the depth of their sorrow.
Females are typically more comfortable in revealing their grief in front of other people.
It seems that for females of all ages, grief is a communal process.
This means that loss is something that is openly shared, where individuals support and help each other move along the path of healing.
Another thing that makes the female experience of grief different than the male’s, is that females are more vocal in expressing their feelings. Men often prefer to remain silent.
Women tend to cope better when we voice our emotions to a trusted confidante. We know the value of having good friends!
This is in comparison to the typical male who might feel awkward in admitting that he too is sensitive and caring, and has deep emotions.
Women Tend to Confront Our Issues More Transparently
Because females tend to be more open in expressing loss and grief, this can benefit us in several ways.
First, expressing feelings more openly lessens the destructive effects of negative emotions.
Unlike males who take on a stoic stance after the passing of a loved one, females instinctively know when it’s the right time to grieve and to express sorrow.
These innate skills are helpful when developing emotional resilience, which is an essential ingredient in maintaining emotional wellness.
The brave and honest expression of feelings opens a doorway that gives us a chance to rationalize our feelings. Once feelings are understood in context, we know how to respond appropriately.
All of this means that the female mechanisms of coping with grief and loss are inherently healthier than those usually employed by males. This is evident in suicide statistics. Men are significantly more likely to resort to suicide than women.
How Do Highly Sensitive Women Experience Grief?
For highly sensitive women, the grieving process can be overwhelming.
This is because we are sensitive to, and often absorb the physical and emotional pain of those around us, in addition to our own. This compounds and intensifies the magnitude of our feelings.
What makes the highly sensitive female’s experience stand out even more, is the way that we express and handle our emotions.
Everyone is Different
Not every highly sensitive woman experiences the sorrow of grief and loss in the same way. Nor should is our pain any less valid if we don’t grieve openly and verbally.
Grief, and the ways we cope with it, will always be a very personal and individual choice.
As a highly sensitive person and as a woman, if you feel that it is difficult for you to cope with the death of a loved one, do not lock yourself away.
Seek the company of friends. Seek the assistance of mental health professionals. Join an online support group.
Know that you’re not alone. And you’re not the first person to have a meltdown … in private or in public!
We’re highly sensitive women, and grief is a super-charged emotion. Don’t try to contain or control it. You’ll erupt like an emotion-filled volcano, and it will probably be at a very inappropriate time or place!
Death is difficult to deal with. As highly sensitive women, we grieve longer and more deeply than others. It’s part of who we are.
Embracing our sensitivity, rather than trying to deny or suppress it, makes us strong and compassionate.