Speak Up, Mourners! What Makes You Angry?

man and woman wearing brown leather jackets Anger is often a part of the grief experience.  My personal definition of anger is "simply not liking how things happened or how they are."  The anger in grief can be everything from full on "wrath" to constant irritation or frustration.  Every mourner experiences their anger in unique ways and for unique reasons.  Some of the most common factors causing anger that mourners have shared with me in grief counseling and grief support groups are:

  • Anger at the manner and details of the death
  • Anger at the person(s) you hold responsible for the death
  • Anger over services provided or not provided during caregiving for your loved one
  • Anger at God
  • Anger at the loved one who died (feelings of abandonment, feelings that the loved one "gave up", suicide, etc)
  • Anger at the loved one when long held secrets are revealed (hidden financial dealings, infidelities, a secret second life/relationships, etc)
  • Anger at yourself (regrets, guilt over bad decisions)
  • Anger at how you got the news of the death
  • Anger at family members for their responses, lack of response, on-going family differences
  • Anger at the unfairness of death
  • Anger caused by the losses suffered
  • Anger at other's reaction to the death, to your loss, to your grief response (includes well-intended or insensitive responses)
  • Anger at Death itself
  • Anger at having to go through grief
  • Anger at dealing with all the consequences after the death (funeral preparations & services, legal paperwork, dealings with wills, inheritances, probate decisions, insurance, social security redtape, etc)

This certainly is not an exhaustive list.  In fact, you could probably add a few reasons you experience anger in your grief journey to complete this list.  Take time now and think about what really makes you angry in grief and share those reasons for your personal anger with me and other readers.

REMEMBER: Emotions experienced in grief are neither good nor bad.  That includes anger.  In grief we can't always choose what emotions we feel, but we can choose how to express those emotions.  Choose to show your anger in healthy, appropriate, and constructive ways.  Then expressing that anger wisely and in healthy ways will help you to heal.

Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise”  available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Christianbook.com.

The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunica Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa” on Amazon.com.

Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX  http://grief-works.org.