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My Loss Has Made Me So Angry - How Can I Cope?

 

When you lose someone you love or something that’s really important to you, you expect to feel lots of emotions such as sadness, anxiety, bewilderment and loneliness. What may come as a surprise to you is how angry loss can make you. If you feel bad about being angry, that only adds to the stress you’re under. Coming to terms with your anger is an important part of dealing with loss and moving on.

 


Learn all about:
  • Why you are angry
  • Why bereavement makes you angry
  • How to ‘sit’ with the feeling
  • Have several coping strategies
 

WHY ARE YOU ANGRY?

 
It’s easy to understand why some losses could make you angry. For instance, if you’ve lost your job because of bullying or lost your lover because a rival took them, then anger is to be expected. However, anger is just as much a natural reaction to any loss, including bereavement.
 
There is a little child in each of us who simply reacts angrily when something we want is taken away. You may want to shout ‘It’s not fair!’ Under stress you may find you revert to that inner child, and it’s totally understandable. You’re in emotional pain and that tends to strip away the civilized exterior most of us build up. It isn’t rational – but what emotion is?
 
Anger may also be seen as a primitive survival response. If you feel angry then you are all fired up, energetic and strengthened. If you were a tribesperson who had just lost their winter food-stores to a pack of wolves, anger and outrage at this could empower you to defend yourself and your family from them.
 
However, anger in situations where you can’t take action is very stressful and unhelpful, so it’s important to manage it.
 

ANGER AT BEREAVEMENT

 
If someone you love has died you might expect to feel utterly bereft and lonely, but the anger you feel at some stage may surprise you. It can make you feel guilty and ashamed of yourself – the loved one never meant to hurt you, so why are you so enraged?
 
It’s that little child again, angry at being abandoned, and the first thing you need to do is accept your feelings. Talk out loud to your loved one and tell them they had no right to leave you, if you wish. Obviously in cases of suicide or carelessness you may have some reason to be angry, but do this even if their death was completely not their fault. Express your rage in the knowledge that it is understandable, even if it makes no sense to you.
 

SIT WITH THE FEELING

 
Never try to deny your anger, or any other emotion, for that matter. We all know it’s not desirable to go around kicking and breaking things, but an emotion does not have to be acted out to be accepted.
 
Sit with your anger, recognizing it, even giving it a grudging welcome. Say to it ‘Hello anger, so you’re here again.’ Recognise its hurt and soreness. This is part of being kind to yourself.
 

STRATEGIES TO COPE WITH ANGER

 
In most situations of loss you will see that expressing anger isn’t going to be helpful – or even possible. So you need some coping strategies. Try the following:
  • RELAX. This may seem to be the most difficult thing, but if you can it will help take the force out of the anger. Your imagination is your best friend here. Imagine that you’re on a beautiful beach, or on top of a mountain or in a woodland. Take in the scene and feel it saturate your being. As it does this, the anger will melt away
  • DO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. If you are angry something within you is impelling you to action – so do something. You might find it helps to clean the house furiously, or to go for a run or a walk, or play competitive sport. Anything active uses up the anger energies and makes you tired in a healthy way
  • MEDITATE. If you aren’t used to meditating this isn’t the perfect time to start, but give it a try. If you’re a practiced meditator, ten minutes spent in quiet mindfulness will make you feel so much better
  • LOVE YOURSELF. This isn’t the same as being sorry for yourself. It means proper self-care and self love, giving yourself comfort, enough sleep, proper nourishment, activities you enjoy
  • BE CREATIVE. From dancing to cake-making, being creative makes you feel a lot better
  • GET UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT. One of the most important things to do is to talk about how you feel. Sharing your emotions with someone you trust has a deeply healing effect. If you don’t want to talk to your friends about your anger, our team of Readers is just a call away, with all the understanding and good advice you could want
 

HOW WE CAN HELP

 

Now you can understand why you’re angry at your loss, why bereavement can make you angry, know about sitting with the feeling and have several coping strategies. The most important of these really is talking to someone, so never forget you can have a Reading with us at any time and feel so soothed and healed.

 

PUBLISHED: 26 April 2018

 
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