Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Anger and Guilt in Grief

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it is possible that you are wrestling with feelings of anger and guilt.  Do you find yourself angry at God? At the doctors? At your loved one?  Are you feeling guilt because your last words to your loved one were unkind?  You got in an argument?  You didn't say "I love you"?  Do you feel like like you didn't do enough in the care of your loved one?  You didn't ask the right questions with the medical staff?  You didn't advocate enough for your loved one?

Well, you are not alone - these are very common reactions, and feelings, in grief.  It is human nature to want to blame someone, or something, for our misfortunes and losses.  It is human nature to go over the events in the past and say to ourselves, "What if I did this? What if I said that?"  If anger and guilt are not recognized and acknowledged, they can result in physical problems and the alienation of family and friends (your potential support systems). 

Once you have recognized and acknowledged these feelings, you can work on finding healthy ways to vent them.  Do you need some suggestions?

If you  like to journal, you can write about these feelings and keep the journal or throw it away - the important thing is to get the feelings out. 

Do you have someone you trust to talk to about these feelings?  It is very helpful to verbalize these feelings to someone - not to get their feedback, but just to get them out in the open.

Perform some physical activity such as punching a pillow, exercise (kickboxing perhaps), gardening or carpentry.

Acknowledge your anger and guilt (it's normal, it's part of who you are and the traumatic event that you just went through), and let yourself off the hook so you can grieve.

If you have any questions, pleases don't hesitate to e-mail at or call 800-882-1117.

Be gentle with yourself.



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