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Managing Anger in the Midst of Grief

One of the most common yet unexpected reactions to grief is anger.

One of the most common yet unexpected reactions to grief is anger. Anger can emerge without warning, catching us off guard. However, it is important to recognize that anger is a normal and natural reaction to loss and grief. Keep reading to learn how to manage your anger while grieving.

Understanding Grief in Anger

Anger is a natural and complex emotion that often accompanies grief. It can stem from a sense of injustice, loss, or helplessness. While it may feel uncomfortable or overwhelming, it's important to remember that anger is a valid and expected part of the grieving process. It's a way to express our pain and navigate the changes that come with loss. Understanding anger in grief means acknowledging its presence, allowing ourselves to feel it without judgment, and finding healthy ways to process and channel this powerful emotion. Allow yourself to experience and understand your anger as you navigate the challenging grief journey.

Reasons Behind Anger After a Loss

What are some common reasons behind feelings of anger after a loss?

Unhelpful or Offensive Comments

Perhaps you find yourself tense and upset due to unhelpful or offensive comments from friends or relatives.

Disappointment in Medical Professionals

You may feel that medical professionals did not fulfill their responsibilities correctly, and you believe that things could have turned out differently.

Anger Towards Responsible Parties

In some cases, when someone is directly responsible for the death of your loved one, it can be challenging to move past the fury you feel towards them.

Feelings of Disparity

Observing that the rest of the world continues functioning as usual while your life has been turned upside down can trigger anger.

Anger Towards the Deceased

If your loved one died directly due to their actions or inaction, it is common to feel anger towards them.

3 Ways to Manage Your Anger in a Constructive Way

Every person's experience of grief is unique, but it is crucial to understand that anger is a natural part of the grieving process. If not adequately addressed, anger can spiral out of control or lead to bitterness. That's why learning how to manage anger constructively is essential.

Here are three ways to manage your anger from Psychology Today using the Three S’s: survey, stop, and select.

1. Survey

The first step toward effective anger management is knowing what triggers your anger. Take a moment to observe what happens in your body and mind when anger emerges. Conduct a body and mind scan to recognize these clues:

  • Body feels tight
  • Jaw hurts
  • Belly aches
  • Racing mind
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experience cold or hot sensations

2. Stop

When you feel anger arising, take action to halt its momentum. First, say "Stop it!" to yourself. Then, take a deep breath and release it, followed by one of the following activities:

  • Drink water
  • Leave the room
  • Call a friend
  • Listen to music

These seemingly simple interventions can cause a shift in the locked-in anger response in your brain. Remember, awareness is the first step toward change.

3. Select

After you recognize and pause your angry emotions, select what happens next. You control your feelings; they do not control you. Keep a journal or notebook to create a dreamscape portraying a different outcome. For example: "I am angry about (blank), and this is what I can do about it: (blank)."

Remember, you can regulate yourself and navigate the complexities of anger and grief. You are not alone in this journey, and you can find a path towards healing by empowering yourself with these tools.

Letting Go and Finding Joy Again

After the funeral, and as life slowly returns to your new routine, it is essential to remember that letting go and moving past your anger does not mean forgetting your loved one. Letting go means opening yourself to hope and seeing the world more clearly. Choosing to express your anger in more skilful and productice ways and finding joy again are vital steps towards healing. Our caring team is always here if you need assistance with this process.

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. We are here to offer comfort, support, and empowerment as you navigate the complexities of grief and loss.

If you're Gen Z and find yourself at a loss for what to do next, take a look at our article From Snapchats to Sadness: The Gen Z Guide to Coping with Loss.