Often times when we are hurt, offended, or lose something or someone we love, we become angry. During the grief journey there may be times when anger rises within you without warning. Many times it’s a reaction that just appears, usually uninvited and unwelcome. Perhaps your anger is specifically directed at someone. You may feel mad at the person who died, or with someone who caused your loss like the drunk driver, an abuser, or the one who stole from you. People, even family and friends, can do or say the wrong things that make you angry. There may be no particular person you are angry with; sometimes you just feel mad at the whole world. You may not understand the reason for your loss and the injustice of it all makes you want to scream in frustration and pain. I know I did. Maybe you have generalized your anger toward “fate”, life or even God for allowing the loss. There are times you just feel angry!
Anger in itself is a natural reaction to grief and loss; getting mad occasionally is normal. But if anger stays too long, it can develop into a stronger emotion called rage, and that can turn out of control. Anger that is unresolved can create bitterness. If it’s left to fester too long, anger can also turn into fury and vengeance. These are all dangerous and destructive by-products of a normal emotion that you don’t want to keep. Through diligence and forgiveness, the anger you feel now will become weaker until it ultimately changes forms. The energy is still there, but if you allow it to, the anger can change from negative to positive.
Anger tends to come and go before it’s finally resolved. Yes, anger can be resolved, and should be. Rather than being held in the caustic grip of prolonged anger, you can chose to release the powerful and negative emotion. If you hang on to it for an extended period of time, it can become a stumbling block in your recovery. Even though it’s typical to feel this way, it’s important to get these feelings out. However, you don’t ever want to take your anger out on another person. There are some things you can do to release these emotions constructively. When feeling angry:
- Simply count to 10 or take several deep breaths.
- Scribble hard on paper or tear up strips of scrap paper, then wad up the papers and throw it all into the trash; imagine your anger being discarded with the paper.
- Draw, paint or use other art forms to express your anger.
- Talk to someone in your support system or let all your emotions out in your journal. Explain what makes you angry; be honest and open with your words and don’t worry about sounding “right.”
- Exercise and being active helps to release negative energy.
- You may feel like physically letting your emotions out; sometimes expression of anger does not come in words. In those times, you can find a safe place to vent your emotions by yelling, kicking, screaming, stomping your feet, shaking your body, pounding your fists into a pillow, or running. However, if you choose to release your anger in such a way, make sure you tell someone you trust what you are doing and always make certain you remain safe. You don’t ever want to hurt yourself or others while releasing your anger.
- You may choose to direct the negative force into something constructive by becoming an activist for a particular cause or advocate change where it’s needed.
You may find that expressing the feelings you have and helping others makes you feel better. Make the choice to let all the anger go from your heart and then replace it with love.