When we lose a loved one, we are inundated with a wave of different emotions. No two people grieve the same way but there are common emotions that most people experience through the grieving process and anger is one of them.
While we expect to feel great sadness, loneliness and a sense of injustice, anger can come as a shock to some people, so we often struggle with how to process our anger and make sense of it.
Why we feel anger in grief
There are many reasons why we may feel anger when we are grieving and exploring these feelings, confronting them rather that burying them, holds the key to processing our anger so that we can move on.
You may be frustrated because your loved one has left you, particularly if their death was self-inflicted, through suicide, substance abuse or reckless behaviour. You may be angry at the situation and the people involved or at a higher power such as God or fate. For example, it is common to feel anger towards, doctors, nurses or other professionals who may have been involved and, in your eyes, could have done more to prevent your loss.
You may feel resentment towards friends and family who may not be experiencing the loss that you feel. You may even resent other people, such as friends or work colleagues because they are happy and not suffering the way you are.
Your anger may even be directed inward, at yourself, for the way you are feeling, for what you did or didn’t do or say.
Ways to deal with your anger
The most important thing to do is to not bury your anger, but confront it, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. If you explore the root cause of your anger, you can begin to make sense of it which will enable you to move forward in a more positive way.
One way to explore your anger is by talking to the person who has died. Expressing your thoughts and feelings out loud may help you understand why you are angry. This way you may find it easier to let go of your anger. Just realise that letting go of your anger does not mean you are letting go of the person.
Finding alternative ways of expressing your anger is also a good way to help you move on. This could be through exercise and the feel good endorphins that are released through exercise. This could also be by expressing yourself creatively, through art, photography, crafting or any other creative hobby or pastime you have.
It is also important to explore other uncomfortable feelings, such as sadness, fear and pain as this may help you understand your anger better.
The anger that you feel when you lose someone is perfectly natural. Spend some time exploring your feelings, reflecting on your thoughts so that you can better understand your anger. Accept it as part of your grieving process and try a number of different ways to express it. That way, you may find it easier to move on and integrate your loss into your life in a more positive way.
If you are suffering with feelings of anger due to a bereavement, you should seek professional help. As a qualified counsellor who specialises in bereavement and loss, I can help you find ways to cope with those feelings and move forward positively