Grief Therapy in Philadelphia / Anger Management Therapy in Philadelphia: Handling Feelings of Anger After Loss
Anger after loss: It’s normal to be mad at the person who died. They left you. No matter how much they loved you, cared for you or promised to protect you. They left. It is normal to feel alone. You are. The person you are grieving, while spiritually might be with you, is physically gone, and you must continue to find your way on earth without them.
Anger is a normal and healthy reaction to death. Death is final. Recovery often includes being angry. Don’t try to change your emotions. Rather try to sit with your emotions. Perhaps the thought of losing control or a sense of duty keeps anger at bay. Bring the anger on. And if you feel no anger, that is okay too. There is no one way to experience death. Each situation is unique.
Ways to handle the feelings of anger after loss:
- Yell, scream, cry, and hit a pillow.
- Give yourself permission to be angry and stop fighting yourself.
- Keep a journal. Write down each time you feel angry. What triggered the thought? How long did you feel angry for? What did you do about it and why? After a weeks worth of keeping the journal, can you find a pattern? Some patterns are healthy, others are self destructive?
- Channel your negative energy. Each time you experience a wave of anger, let yourself express it through something positive. For some it might be going to the gym and running the energy out. After 6 months of this, you might find yourself in really good shape. Others might do better with painting. Painting can release energy. Others might sing, write music etc.
- Treat yourself kindly. Nurture your body. Eat healthy foods. Take yourself out for a massage. Take a warm bath. It is never improper to care for oneself. Treat yourself gently, the way you would a small child.
- Focus on ways that will build your body up, avoid the quick fix. Alcohol, and other mind-altering drugs in the moment, might give your brain the chance to relax, but after the initial high, the crash will bring you to a lower place.
- During the initial stages of grief, feeling overwhelmed by the mundane tasks of life is common. Thus, instead of fighting it, embrace your need to fall apart. Accept help when offered. Give yourself permission to not function well, and delegate responsibilities whenever possible. Every person needs help every once and a while, and you may even do another person a favor by allowing him or her to assist someone in need. If no one offers help, seek it out. Hire a high school student to assist with household chores.
- Try to forgive yourself if your anger after loss seems turned inward. Many people experience feelings of guilt as they review in their minds how they could have said or done things differently. Try to accept that the past is gone forever, and focus on what you can change for the present. You may still harbor feelings of hurt toward the deceased or others. Forgiveness may not be a concept for which you feel ready. You may never feel completely ready to forgive fully, but explore the possibilities of forgiveness, in general.
- Stop trying to model yourself after your friends and family. No two people grieve in the same way. Not everyone will feel anger immediately, if ever. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
- Remember that emotions can sometimes feed upon themselves. Don’t push feelings down, but don’t let them carry you away either. If you feel excessive rage or constantly irritable, contact an objective support person immediately.
- If you feel uncomfortable talking to friends, or you feel like you need more support than your friends can offer, talk to a therapist.
Like all the stages of grief, anger may return again and again throughout your life in respect to your particular loss(es). It may not come as intensely, but when it does, it represents a green light toward self-care.
Grief Therapy in Philadelphia / Handling Feelings of Anger After Loss
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