Grief involves a full range of emotions, from sadness to guilt and beyond. One of the most difficult parts of the grieving process is dealing with anger. The anger may feel unnatural or overwhelming, like a wave of rage taking over your body. The anger may also be a small but persistent voice in the back of your mind. In this guide, we will explore how to deal with anger in grief as part of the grief recovery process.
It’s Normal to Feel Angry
It’s important to know that anger is a normal experience in grief. You should not feel ashamed for being angry, regardless of the nature of the anger. You are not alone.
What Causes Anger in Grief?
Anger can stem from many sources. You may be angry at the person for leaving you behind. You may be angry at yourself, thinking that you could have done more or done better. You may have residual resentment for the other person (i.e. unresolved issues that you now have no way to resolve). You may also be angry at God, the universe, or a higher power for taking that person away from you. No matter the circumstances, there are ways to overcome anger after a loss.
Remember: Your Anger Only Hurts You, Not the Other Person
If you are dealing with unresolved anger toward the person who died, keep this in mind. That person is no longer here to receive your anger. The feelings that you have will not change what he or she did to you. The only person hurting right now is you. You can control how much hurt you put upon yourself by finding a way to let go of your aggression.
Learning How to Let Go of Anger
In many instances, anger is a temporary emotion that accompanies grief. It may dissipate on its own, or it may come back a few times over. Eventually, though, a person is able to make peace with a situation and move forward in life.
Some people have a much harder time letting go of anger in grief. For instance, let’s say that a couple has long-term marital conflicts and they are on the verge of divorce. Then the husband dies unexpectedly. The wife would face the ‘normal’ emotions of grief, combined with the pent-up anger she already faced in her marriage. This may make the anger more difficult to overcome.
Grief counseling is a proven platform for dealing with anger after the loss of a loved one. In therapy, you can find personalized coping strategies that suit your lifestyle and experiences. You can also bring closure to events from the past that have residual effects on your present-day life.
At Oakland Psychological Clinic, we have licensed therapists on staff who specialize in grief counseling, anger management, depression counseling, and many other areas of mental health. Contact one of our many therapist offices in Michigan to get matched with the right counselor for you.