The Questions of Grief: What Do We Do with Anger?

| Grief Author and Speaker

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The Questions of Grief: What Do We Do with Anger?The best help we can receive comes from those who are walking the same pathways and dealing with the same feelings we are experiencing. I have permission to share the story of a very caring woman. She says it better than I can and perhaps the response I tried to give will be helpful as well.

She wrote a comment on one of the bogs:

I too have just finished book 4. I still feel overwhelmed and depressed. Outwardly no one would know that, but I am , I look at my husbands pictures and love notes daily and grieve for my loss. My husband was killed in a traffic accident and I inherited his business, which I knew very little about. So the last 11 months has been very busy with learning how to run a business and to raise a child on my own. I feel cheated that I haven’t been allowed to have my time to grieve. I have to stay focused on work , when in reality all of this is so very scary to me. The business is up for sale and hopefully maybe then I can finally deal with this onion.

I responded on the comment page and invited her to email directly if she wished to do so. This is her story:

I know you are relatively new in the grief process, but I am struggling terrible as it nears my one year anniversary. I wrote on your blog about my husband being killed in a traffic accident. And I inherited his business.

I feel terrible! I believe what my problem is , I am mad at God. I do not want to be mad at Him, I know it is only by His Grace that I am still able to function at all.

Any suggestions ? ? ? I am so ashamed to even admit that. And believe me, We do talk, God and I and I am just very disappointed in what I am having to go through..

My response was:

The approaching one year anniversary may be part of your feeling terrible. Usually it starts weeks ahead of the event with feelings of unrest and irritability. Most of the time we do not make the connection between the feelings and the anniversary until the date gets nearer. Sometimes the anticipation of the day is worse than the day itself. That may or may not be contributing to your feelings.

There is anger in grief. It is the natural response to being hurt. The anger is normal and even healthy. We sort of hit bottom, get mad, and start fighting our way back. We may not recognize what we feel as anger. It may feel like frustration, hurt, disappointment, or upset but all of these come from the same emotion as anger so I just call it anger.

The problem with anger is that it does not float well. It needs to focus on something or someone. Where it focuses matters. Sometimes the anger focuses on God. That is not a bad place for it to focus. God is big enough and loving enough to handle our being angry. We do not have a real relationship with Him until we have the right to be angry and say so.

Being angry with God is much better than internalizing the anger and focusing it on ourselves. When that happens we begin to obsessively play the game of “If only” and figure out ways to blame ourselves. Most of the guilt people in grief feel is actually internalized anger.

No matter where it focuses the anger needs to be expressed. Internalized anger becomes depression. I tell folks they need to keep their cussing current. I use two words in that effort. Cursing is using bad language and God’s name. Cussing is expressing anger and frustration. Don’t get behind in your cussing. Find safe people who will understand and tell how disappointed you are in what you have to face. Be sure to choose the safe people well and let it out.

It also helps to write out your feelings. Writing orders the brain and helps you work through the feelings.

Doing something physical can also help. Hit a nail with a hammer, or find some other way to let off steam. I know one lady who goes to all the garage sales and buys the cheap dishes. When she gets full and frustrated she breaks dishes. Great fun and a good release.

In short you are angry and you should be angry. Right now your anger is focusing on God. In time it will focus somewhere else. Where you are today is not where you will be tomorrow. For today, just feel what you feel and say so.

 

Copyright Doug Manning of In-Sight Books, Inc. Doug’s books, CDs and DVDs are available at www.insightbooks.com. Post originally published on Doug’s Blog at The Care Community www.thecarecommunity.com.

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| Grief Author and Speaker

My work in grief began when a couple from the church where I was the pastor lost a young daughter from a simple case of the croup. The mother was distraught and crying in the hospital room. The doctor and her husband were trying to calm her when she looked up and said, “Don’t take my grief away ...