5 Ways to Manage Intense Anger During Your Grieving Process

Anger in grief is one of the most common emotions people experience. Regardless of what specifically happened, feeling angry is a normal reaction after a loss. You might be angry about the circumstances surrounding the loss itself. You may feel angry toward yourself for things you did or didn’t do. And you might also feel angry toward your loved one for leaving you (and potentially leaving you with logistical or emotional issues to unpack).

Having angry feelings isn’t bad or wrong. However, it’s important to learn how to navigate the anger stage if and when it arises and reconcile other intense emotions that come with grief. Here are some of the best guidelines.

Remember That Grief Anger Is Entirely Typical

Experiencing anger is to truly experience being human. We experience anger as a natural and inherent response to threats. Loss represents a multifaceted threat, including potentially losing emotional security, friendship, love, and a sense of predictability.

Allowing yourself to be with this anger is an important part of your grieving process. In fact, many people struggle with unresolved grief when they try to suppress or avoid how they feel.

Consider Other Emotions Underneath or Next to Anger

Different mental health experts have varying opinions on whether anger is a secondary or primary emotion. But regardless of where it fits in the hierarchy, many people feel anger along with other painful emotions, such as sadness, fear, shame, guilt, helplessness, overwhelm, lonely, and discouragement.

As you note your anger, spend some time also considering what other tough emotions you might be feeling. If you don’t know, it can help to familiarize yourself with some strategies to identify your emotional states. These can include:

  • noting physical sensations as they arise in your body
  • printing out a feelings wheel chart and identifying which ones resonate
  • meditating
  • talking or journaling your thoughts and feelings freely
  • speaking with a therapist as a way to express anger and other emotions

Practice Expressing Anger Adaptively

Expressed anger can certainly hurt people. Think of all the times people use violence or aggression in response to anger.

But it’s equally possible to release anger functionally and in a way that honors your mental health. Some people find that it’s helpful to physically release pent-up emotion. This may look like cardiovascular exercise, stretching, meditating, or simply spending a few minutes deep breathing.

Others may find that it’s helpful to manage their anger and grief through more creative expression. This might take the form of journaling, artwork, or talking with supportive loved ones.

The most important takeaway is that, while several strategies can help express anger, no one method may work all the time. That’s why it’s beneficial to have various coping skills on hand to default to when you’re really struggling.

Talk About Your Anger With Others

Some people feel ashamed or surprised by how angry they feel. But other people who’ve experienced grief understand grief and the constellation of emotions that come with it.

You may want to consider joining a grief support group as a way to surround yourself with other like-minded individuals. In these groups, you can freely talk about your significant loss and learn healthy ways to manage your stress, depression, anger, frustration, or other grieving needs.

In addition, consider other sources of support, whether that’s through your spouse, friends, family members, or a trusted mental health professional. While anger can feel isolating, try not to isolate yourself with it.

Practice Self-Compassion Amid Your Anger

Self-compassion refers to being kind to yourself even when you make mistakes or have a hard time in life. It’s akin to treating yourself the way you’d treat someone you really love.

Self-compassion does not fix or erase anger. But it can soften the guilt or discomfort you might feel about your emotional states or needs throughout the grief process.

Practicing self-compassion may also encourage you to integrate more self-care. If you consider your personal needs, you might be more inclined to look after yourself.

Therapy for Anger-Related Grief and Prolonged Grief Disorder in Austin, TX

Grief can easily manifest in many forms, and it sometimes shows up as immense rage or desire for revenge. Sometimes it can also reveal itself via self-harm, self-sabotage behaviors, or physical health issues.

As a grief therapist, I support clients in all stages of experiencing grief. Regardless of when your loss occurred, you may find that it’s hard to cope with your pain. You may also be struggling with your other relationships or feeling worried that life will never feel normal or safe again.

Dealing with grief can be so painful, but you don’t have to manage these intense emotions by yourself. I am here to support you as you grieve and heal. I welcome you to contact me today to learn more about my work and to schedule an initial consultation.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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