Anger as soon as fed is dead—’tis starving makes it fat.
— Emily Dickinson
ANGER: FIGHTING BACK
The second typical stage of grief is anger. This tends to occur when you are moving out of the denial that is your first line of defense; I suspect that the knowledge of the emotional pain to come tends to infuriate many people. With loss comes a reminder of the extent to which you lack control over the universe, and many people do not take kindly to the experience of losing control.
However, if you rewrite the script from the genesis of your grief, experiencing denial as acceptance, the anger that is such a common stopping point is unlikely to occur to the same extent. This is not to say that you may not feel angry at all; I can certainly imagine feeling fury at the selfishness of the suicide victim who damaged her children, or rage at the teenager who drank a great quantity of alcohol before wrapping his car around a tree, thus setting in motion tremendous grief for his parents. This anger, however, is well placed; the typical rage of grief is a vague and murky cover for sorrow, a wall you build around your sadness so that you will not have to experience grief (it doesn’t work, of course; it simply holds the sorrow at bay for as long as you maintain the fury).
Thus, if you start at acceptance, you find yourself next moving to a place of sorrow, bypassing the rage that can stick in your throat, damage your heart, create havoc in your life. You drop down below rage to the sadness that almost always makes the foundation for anger (it is my experience that real rage is a rare thing; almost always, anger is a replacement emotion for loss and grief). Since you must eventually reach sadness anyway, why not bypass the unproductive anger?
A CONSCIOUS LIVING PRACTICE FOR TODAY – AUGUST 9
What did you lose when you experienced your greatest loss? It may be helpful to you to tell yourself the truth about that for which you grieved.
I told myself I was angry about/at ________.
In truth, I was grieving because I lost ________.
Purchase “A Year of Living Consciously” by clicking the cover below: