The second stage of grief is simply stated as the “anger” stage, but it is only one form of the emotion. This stage addresses the outward expression of anger. The inward expression of anger is in the fourth stage of grief, depression. Anger, in the outward stage of grief, has unique characteristics that I can only briefly discuss in this article. There are at least four forms of anger that can be attributed to this stage of grief.
The many forms of anger in the second stage of grief can be best handled with one primary virtue. This virtue is self-control. It sounds easier than it actually is to do. When we have a loss, our anger can go in many directions. If we handle our anger in a positive manner, it can help “burn” our grief and assist us in moving to the next area of healing.
It can be motivating. If we do not control this feeling positively, then it can be very destructive for others and for ourselves. The easiest forms of anger for me to identify are the following: anger about circumstances, anger about abandonment, anger toward the Divine, and the anger of futility. These forms of anger are just a few of the ones worth noting, and I am working on another book to further describe and expand on them in detail. Here are the four types of anger you may experience in this stage.
Anger about circumstances involves the feeling of having a new life and the need to move on. However, oftentimes this anger is not about the future or having to forge a new way of living. It can be about the past. You may decide that you have wasted a large portion of your life handling issues that are suddenly unimportant after a loss. While this is not true, you may feel that it is. It is anger due to frustration and wondering if time could have been better spent.
Anger of abandonment involves the realization that any unfinished business before the loss will remain that way. This could be accompanied by some feelings of leftover guilt. The reality of no longer being able to interact with a loved one, for example, leaves a sense of loneliness that is sobering. The closer the relationship was with the other person, the more acute the feeling. It is very upsetting to be left alone, forced to move out of a comfort zone that was once in place.
Anger toward the Divine - When we are sad, we often turn to the Almighty to send us signs or give us relief from our pain. We turn to our faith and support beliefs to assist us and provide answers. This becomes tricky because our expectations often get confused. We may feel that we have been left alone, but the Divine never leaves us. The poem, Footprints in the Sand, remind us of this fact.
Anger of Futility - Finally, you may just be plain angry because you cannot change your situation. There is a finality of loss and going backward is not an option. You have your memories, and they must be the things that sustain you through this period. The futility of trying to recreate the past and recapture moments is unattainable. This type of anger may give the impression of being stagnant, but, in healthy circumstances, it is silently pushing you forward into the next stage of grief.
John Cappello is a practicing psychic medium and author of Open the Mind Heal the Heart, a metaphysical discussion about grief. For more information or to book a reading go to www.johncappello.com.