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Reconciling the Anger Portion of Your Grief


Grieving Process

Posted On: Jan 09, 2017

Reconciling the Anger Portion of Your Grief

Not only is it common to feel anger after the death of someone you love, but it is also one of the defining stages of grief. It's somewhat disconcerting in spite of the fact that it's a perfectly natural, even healthy reaction. Feeling angry at a person who just passed away makes you feel incredibly guilty, which exacerbates your depression and increases the grieving process.  You likely think that you have no right or reason to feel angry and that your anger makes you a terrible person. The exact opposite is true—you do have a right to your anger, and you are not a terrible person. Your feelings are not wrong, but it is vital to understand your anger so that you can reconcile it with your grief.

Try to Pinpoint the Cause of Your Anger

What's the root of this feeling? Why are you so angry? Just as anger is a universal emotion during periods of grief, there are a few common causes for that anger:

Anger that the person you love is truly gone

Anger at the person for dying

Anger at the disease or circumstances that caused your loved one to die

And anger because of unresolved issues

These are not the only reason you may feel anger toward someone you've lost or in response to death, but these themes crop up often. Remember, the root of your anger isn't necessarily rational, not under these circumstances, and that's all right. It's neither right nor fair to be angry at someone who's passed, but that doesn't change the emotion. In your heart, you know that it isn't your loved one's fault.

Are You Angry at Yourself?

It's not uncommon to direct your anger at yourself after losing someone. You're left wondering what you didn't do, what more you could have done, what you missed, how you failed. Death makes people feel powerless. Most of us have no control over it and even doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals can only do so much. Raging at yourself will not change things, but if you feel like you could've done something or helped more, it explains why you're angry as you grieve.

Don't Suppress Your Anger

Your first instinct is probably to hide your anger from everyone around you. You don't want anyone to know that you're mad at someone who passed away. However, suppressing and burying this volatile emotion is the worst thing you can do. Even if you can't reveal your feelings to your family members and friends, you need to talk to someone and vent your anger somehow. Consider finding a therapist, joining a support group, or taking up anger-management activities.

Often, just like grief itself, your anger simply has to pass. In time, it will fade. Once you understand the root, you can come to terms with how you feel and your perception of the situation will change.