Resentment, anger often accompany grief
Grief is the emotion we experience in mourning the loss of a loved one or friend.
It is a longing for something that is lost. Despair over the loss sets in and hopelessness becomes our predominant emotion. The grieving process involves allowing these feelings of grief.
One cannot complete the mourning process without allowing oneself to feel the emotions of grief. As a grieving person moves up out of depression, the individual will be able to express the strong feelings of anger and resentment.
When the reality of the loss finally dawns, a feeling of “unfairness” emerges. This gives rise to anger and resentment. Anger and resentment can be directed at self, the lost object or others.
Anger and resentment are a normal reaction in the grieving process. It is entirely possible that we do not even realize these emotions exist within us as we experience grief.
Resentment and anger are not healthy emotions but they do play an important role in the grief process.
Consequently, the grieving person must acknowledge the existence of resentment and anger and work to overcome these emotions.
Losing something or someone precious results in the grieving person becoming critical of everything and everyone associated with the loss.
The grieving person looks for someone or something to blame and to help in understanding the loss suffered. For example, if we lose a loved one in death, we experience anger and frustration as we express hostility toward any who cared for the patient.
Anger may be directed toward a doctor for operating or for not operating on the deceased loved one.
Anger causes the grieving person to perceive all who cared for the loved one as being wrong in their actions.
During this particular stage of grief, the grieving person may express anger by lashing out at God. The angry person may question God’s love for causing the pain experienced through grief.
Others experiencing anger perceives the death or loss as God’s punishment. They make God the target for expressing emotions against God as they see Him as having power over life and death.
A person experiencing anger may also direct anger inwardly. This may result in low self-esteem, depression, chronic feelings of guilt, physical complaints, and even suicide.
Repressed anger can lead to serious consequences. The person with a serious anger reaction should seek professional help to deal with the anger and resentment.
Dennis R. Tate is a spiritual and bereavement counselor with Community Hospice, Inc. He can be reached at 740-532-8841.
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