Guest Author - Rev. Jaclin Meade Scott
There are several phases of grief. They are not necessarily experienced in any particular order. We can get through one phase, only to have something surface later that brings it back. There is no time limit. You get through grief as best you can, when you can.
One phase is anger. It's powerful. It gets the adrenalin pumping. It moves you from complaceny to action. It makes us want to place blame, find someone or something to take responsibility for what has happened. It can be very ugly, or it can be productive.
Dictionaries and psychology books refer to anger as "commonly occuring, natural". That makes it sound so nice. Bear in mind that poison is also commonly occuring and natural. Anger, unmanaged, can be just as deadly. Of all the phases of bereavement, this one needs physical intervention to control. Most people keep their wits about them, and don't ever get to the point of doing something they'll regret later, or that will hurt others. Most of us are blessed to have people nearby that care for us, that would intervene should we get out of hand. That's the blatant side of this phase.
But that anger is sneaky. It masks what the real problem is. It is the end result of untreated emotional malaise. Failure to find the root cause, to resolve the issue, to 'forget' it, hoping it goes away, allows the anger to eat away at our subconscience. We can pretend it's not there, not let it out. But it roils beneath the surface still. It does tremendous damage to our physical well being. It gains strength with time. It changes our personality and our social abilities. It becomes depression. It becomes fuel for addiction and abuse.
You'll have clues that a problem exists. But the voracious nature of anger prompts us to disregard the indications and keep going. Eventually, we become so comfortable with this condition, it would be overwhelmingly stressful to even consider changing it. This is the point at which anger can become fatal to you. Has someone suggested you're 'not yourself' lately? Have you stopped doing what you used to do? Do you stay in a lot, not socialize much? You may be in trouble.
There is good news. In a month, things can be a lot better. Allow somone to take you to a professional counselor. Eventually you'll be able to do it on your own.
In the meantime, work on finding the underlying cause. Think back to when the anger started. What were you feeling at that time? Below is a list of possibilities. CAUTION. The real feelings may not make sense. We're talking about grief and what it stirs up. Logic is in the brain. The stuff troubling you is in the gut and the heart. Don't try to apply common sense to it. Take it for what it is, and address it.
SOME POSSIBLE FEELINGS AFTER THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE:
Bewildered, apathetic, vulnerable, hurt, abandoned, bitter, hostile, shame, shock, insult, weak, foolish, betrayed, fear, disappointment, cheated, sad, threatened, resentful, powerless, unwanted, insecure, disregarded, humiliated.