Migratory Grief

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Migrate is a word that we have heard for a long time that currently appears as a means of survival. However, we usually do not stop to think of the courage that people must have to migrate, the difficulties they go through to seek a better quality of life or the condition of violence or life-threatening conflict to which they are exposed, causing in them what is known as “migratory loss”.

Why grief or loss? In psychology, this process refers to losses [1] , so we could ask ourselves, what does a person who migrates lose [2] ? Different from other griefs, the migratory process is a partial duel, because there is always the possibility of returning to recuperate what was lost, and it is felt again every time we return to the place of origin and leave once again.

The main losses associated with migration are [3] : The language, because generally the person cannot express her/himself as he or she would like in a new language, making him or her feel insecure, ashamed and perhaps frustrated; loss of family and friends; and identity. Because of this, they can feel different and alone, which increases their vulnerability. In addition, it is very likely that they will have to face different and precarious working conditions compared to those they are used to, thereby losing their social status.

The experience of change, whether of a positive or negative nature, puts the person’s emotional balance to the test, because they must take care to adapt to the new and process their mourning for what was lost, the latter being different in each case as it depends on the characteristics (skills to cope with the situation) and the conditions of migration, such as the country of destination and the social support received in it. Therefore, the grieving process can be successful if the migrant mobilizes complex emotions that can affect in a positive way areas of their life [4] .

As mentioned in the article “Migration, Distress and Cultural Identity” the migration process must be studied in its entirety, these must include life events, racial discrimination and socioeconomic factors such as employment. In addition, the culture of the individual must be analyzed to understand the stress they feel and support they receive at that stage [5] .







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