Losing Identity In Grief

few weeks ago, I discussed the different types of losses/ grief. 

I wanted to go deeper into this topic after receiving quite a few responses here and in my DM’s.

One topic stood out to me – disenfranchised grief, or the grief that society doesn’t deem legitimate. 

Often times phrases like “Shouldn’t you be over it by now?” or “You have to stay strong and keep moving forward.” are used.

  • Some types of disenfranchised grief include:
  • Pet loss
  • Relationship loss
  • Job Loss
  • Changes in Health
  • Dreams and Expectations (Ego Death)
  • Harmful Habits
  • Change in Environment

This type of grief can really affect you to your core and your identity. 

Have you ever looked in the mirror and not recognized who you saw anymore? 

Loss of identity may follow all sorts of changes; changes in the workplace, loss of a job or profession, loss of a role that once defined us, as a child, as a parent, or as a spouse.

If you aren’t sure if you’ve completely “lost yourself”, studies have found these six common signs of identity loss:

  • You Have No “Me” Time
  • You Transform Yourself in Various Settings
  • You’ve Lost Passion for Things You Used to Value
  • You’re Constantly Seeking Approval From Others
  • Your Self-Care Is Minimal
  • Your Thoughts Are Filled With Negative Self-Talk

What exactly is your “identity”?

There is the basic part of identity that includes your name, address and age, but there’s so much more to it. 

According to Psychology Today, identity encompasses the memories, experiences, relationships, and values that create one’s sense of self.

How we define ourselves is a self-representation of our culture, interests, relationships and efficacy in doing the things that matter to us. 

Grief literally rewires the way our brain processes things, so it’s up to you to grieve properly and allow yourself to change as person.