Emotions & Challenges:
Anger is an integral part of the grief process for many people. When we grapple with traumatic loss, familiar and unfamiliar feelings of annoyance, frustration, upset, and even rage, can appear. Some individuals, like those quoted below, feel angry at their loved one for leaving them or for leaving so much pain behind.
“Anger! Oh how I can relate to that emotion. At the beginning of my journey I was angry at everything and everybody. I couldn’t believe life could go on or the sun could shine when my life was so devastated. I remember dusting a picture of my daughter and the next thing I knew I was beating on the picture – broke the frame and cut my hand all up. Anger is one of the stages of grief that we all go through, in one way or another. Thankfully, I can say that this stage has passed.”
“I finally got angry. I was numb and in a fog for three years. It finally all welled up in me and I wrote page and page that I plan on burning. I am hoping I will feel other emotions now that I have felt such anger.”
Many people feel guilty or conflicted when they experience anger towards the deceased.
“My husband left me with a lot of unfinished business. I was sitting this morning wondering how he could do that to me and then I think that sounds selfish and I get mad at myself for feeling that way. Too many different feelings. Yesterday was a good day. Last night was horrible. This morning I just feel sick to my stomach and I want to crawl in a hole. It’s the fact that he made the choice to leave me. To walk out on me. I get very conflicted sometimes just thinking about it.”
Anger is often targeted towards mental health professionals, those believed to have hurt our loved ones, or others who appear insensitive to the loss.
“I’m not angry with my son. I’m angry that a death occurred and that the death was a suicide. I’m angry that I can’t cope with my grief. I’m angry that everyone’s life is going on and mine is not. I’m angry that I did not see this coming. I’m angry at the people who gave him the gun. I’m angry they seem to have no sadness or remorse.”
It is important to remember there is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve and that anger, like the other powerful emotions felt by survivors, will likely dissipate over time.