A Look At Anger

by Mary Zemites

Anger. Such an uncomfortable subject for most of us to face and discuss. Anger is viewed as a negative emotion and most of us don’t like to pull it out and publicly examine it. It is important to understand that the emotion of anger is not negative or “bad.” In fact, it is a useful signal that there is a problem aching to be resolved. Only the actions that come from anger are sometimes negative or “bad.”

When someone we love dies, we experience an intense, yet unfocused, emotional energy. The whole experience of loss is somewhat intangible in nature. At one minute there is a flesh and blood being that you can see, feel, hear and touch. And then there is nothing…It is very difficult to process our emotions in that void. It is both frustrating and unsettling. In this formless state, our emotional energy wears us out, leaving us feeling exhausted and defeated.

To constructively deal with feelings of anger, there are two important characteristics that we must understand.

First, anger focuses our emotional energy in a very powerful way and gives us a tangible target for that energy. It gives us a feeling of control in a situation where we were feeling out of control and powerless. As a focus for our emotional energy, anger can serve a useful purpose by enabling us to take steps to cope with our pain.

That leads us to the second aspect. Anger is almost always a secondary emotion. The target of our anger may not be the true cause of our pain, only the outlet of it for lack of a better target. It is extremely important that we analyze the real cause of our anger so that we deal with the actual issues we face.

Against the backdrop of the emotionally charged energy surrounding grief, we must be very careful to step back and objectively evaluate what is the true cause of our pain. In this situation, anger may have so powerfully focused our energy that the resulting actions can be very destructive. Until we can understand the underlying cause of that pain, we cannot cope with it in a positive way that will result in our own healing. And our own healing is the outcome we need.

Several years ago, I came across a simple prayer that has become a convenient tool for beginning to examine the true reasons for feeling angry.

Naming Anger
by Beverly Gordon

I know the one I have lost did not choose to die
and yet I am angry about this death.
It has turned my life upside down and inside out;
this absence brings anguish, loneliness and a sense of being abandoned.
It hurts to confess these feelings, but I must.
Sustain me as I explore this rage.
Lead me to understand that,
because the future as I designed it is now utterly lost,
I am more disappointed than angry.
Lead me to understand that,
because all that was orderly and certain in my life
is now chaotic and unsure,
I am more frightened that angry.
Lead me to understand that,
because I am powerless to bring my mate back,
I am more frustrated than angry.
Open my mind and heart to these truths.
Help me to let go of my misplaced anger
and to spin its thread into spiritual peace.

In order to benefit from our feelings of anger, we must name it (loneliness, fear, frustration, jealousy) in order to deal with it constructively. Working through these challenges enables us to move forward in our journey to a recovery that leads to inner peace and healing.

About the Author:
Mary Zemites, widowed in 1992, is a bereavement facilitator and the owner of InTimeOfSorrow.com. Mary invites you to visit her website for bereavement gifts and resources,
http://InTimeOfSorrow.com/. To explore the Grief Resources section of the site for links to books and publications, counseling, and workshops beneficial to the grieving process, click: http://InTimeOfSorrow.com/.

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