Understanding Anger As Part of Grieving

Guest post by Reid Peterson, Grief Refuge

Anger is a common experience when you’re grieving. It’s intense, uncomfortable, and powerful. You may feel like you can be angry at many different people, for many different reasons. You may be angry at your loved one for dying in the first place. Their death may have resulted from one of the choices they made. You may recall memories of some of the things they did when they were alive, something you had a hard time accepting, and that makes you angry now. You may also discover something about your loved one that you weren’t aware of when they were living. That can make you angry too.

Being angry at your loved one can be accompanied with anger towards other things. You may be angry at your higher power for the circumstance of your loss. Or you could be angry at other people for their involvement in the death of your loved one. You may be angry at family members for the way they have or have not shown up in supporting you through your loss. 

Many people in grief also find that they are angry at themselves. Memories may bring up thoughts and feelings of resentment that make you angry at yourself. Or you may have judged yourself for not paying enough attention and noticed signs or symptoms that are clearly recognizable now. 

When you feel anger, it can be easy to lash out. 

It’s easy to be irritable and to say harsh words that may or may not be true.  It’s common to not be yourself. You may want change and retribution. You may even want revenge. Anger feeds on all of this.

Anger is a declaration; an outward expression of extreme objection to circumstances that you could not control.  Your loved one died and it can’t be changed.

Sometimes anger just seeks a place to land, whether or not it is an appropriate fit.  Anger might spew out, seemingly out of proportion to the offense. Our anger might get hurled at the wrong person.  Or a mild expression of unhappiness might erupt into anger over flowing. You might be angry at one thing, but then dump it out on whoever gets in your way.

This is not uncommon in grief.  It would be wise to watch out for inappropriate and/or displaced anger in your grief journey.  This is part of the human experience but something that can be noted and addressed. 


Reid Peterson is the Creator of Grief Refuge, a mobile app that helps grieving people find peace and purpose after loss. Download Grief Refuge from your phone’s app store to get more comfort and support.

Find additional support and connection at www.griefincommon.com.

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