Can Grief Make You Angry?
Have you felt angry during your grief?
It might feel like we don't discuss anger during grief much. Often, when you think about the grieving process adjectives like "sad" come to mind, but so should anger. Anger is a common emotion felt by many grievers.
"I was angry when you died."
"I shouted at death, like death could hear me. "this isn't fair." And I asked a thousand whys. All my questions, doubts, and fears were answered with silence. Between the anger, there was heartbreak and disbelief when I heard you passed away. This can't be real. This can't be my reality. This can't be yours... but this nightmare of grief was reality. And reality is I lost someone I loved. I'll never know the reasons as to why, yet, I don't think there is an explanation that would make this feel okay. Love has been filled with grief. What once was can no longer be. And while the anger fades, the wish you were here never does." - Christie, @GlitterAndGrief
Reasons Why You Might Feel Anger During Grief
We have no control over death.
It may feel unfair.
We thought we would have more time together.
We can't control life after they're gone either and there is a lot of new adjustments to adapt to.
People may ask stupid (for lack of a better word) questions or make inappropriate comments surrounding our loved ones death.
We can feel angry at God for not saving our loved one.
It can feel like bad thing are happening to good people.
Your "why" questions go unanswered.
How can I handle being angry during grief?
In my experience as a griever, it's easy to redirect our anger towards other people. For example. when my dad had passed away... I was angry at my best friend who's dad was still alive. It felt like she wasn't appreciative of being able to have him in her life. Why did my dad have to go? I asked myself.
I felt one of the best ways to handle my anger was to find ways to express it. My anger needed an outlet, a healthy outlet, and shouldn't have been redirected at people trying to support me. That took some time to learn how to cope with my anger and grief. Seek out support from your support system and try speaking with a grief counselor or professional.
Things I also tried that helped with anger and grief:
I wrote letters. By this I mean even as in my quote above, I just wrote it out. I wrote out what I'd like to say to the figurative grief monster creature. I wrote letters to my dad, of the words I never got to say. I felt writing was my outlet. Although I didn't receive responses (obviously) it helped being able to get the words in my heart out on paper.
You can try something physical. On Instagram I follow a couple accounts that "run with grief" such as @RunningOnGrief and @Running_From_Grief.
Another person I follow is @ProjectGriefArt who teaches fellow grievers how to use art to express their feelings in grief.
"You don't always get to say goodbye."
"And that is heartbreaking. Because the last time you saw them, it wasn't supposed to be the last goodbye. You're not always able to hold their hand at the hospital, and that is heartbreaking, because if you could you would be there for them and with them. Nobody should have to be alone. You're not always able to make it to the funeral, and that is heartbreaking, because it feel like that is your last chance to see them one more time. To get the goodbye you'd never thought you would have to make... but you don't always get to say goodbye." -Christie, @GlitterAndGrief
"There was this feeling of forced acceptance in my grief."
"I first felt it at the hospital when I had to say my goodbyes. It was that moment I walked away, to leave, I felt forced to accept that you really did die. How could I leave without them coming too? I felt this feeling again at the funeral, after the service. We had to leave and the physical act of leaving them broke me. Just walking away... it meant I was forced to continue a life without them in it. This is what I mean by forced acceptance. Forced to move on... without them joining too." - Christie, @GlitterAndGrief