I Safely Express My Anger
Have you ever felt angry during your grief journey?
I have no doubt that anger has come up for you on numerous occasions. I think most of us feel angry from time to time. For some of us, anger stays with us for a long time. Our anger is an expression of some of the pain that is living inside us. If you have felt anger, don’t be hard on yourself, because ultimately what we want to do is give our anger a voice. Let it be heard.
Exercise: Write down all of the anger you have felt from the beginning of your grief journey up until today. Get as angry as you can, don’t hold back any anger at all. If you don’t want to write your anger in words, then using pencils or crayons draw your anger on paper. Get really creative in expressing the anger. You may have several drawings of your anger (it doesn’t matter how many you have). What does matter is that you express and release as much of the anger as you can. Again, we are not trying to fix or get rid of the anger, we just want to witness it through the eyes of awareness.
Internalised anger is unhealthy for us and some may suggest that it makes us sick. It can be soul destroying and symbolically eat away at our body, our mind and our spirit (for many women we have been told that girls and women should not get angry, it’s a man’s emotion, not a women’s). Firstly, this is a load of rubbish and secondly, all this does is validate the silencing of anger. If you are a woman doing this exercise, then get really angry and really allow yourself to feel your anger.
Remember to constructively tap into your anger, not destructively. I am not suggesting that you smash things or throw things, this can be destructive. All you are doing is giving a voice to the anger that you have denied or have been afraid of expressing. Remember, we are witnessing the anger through the eyes of awareness.
Be creative in expressing your anger. You can use art, write a story, or you can use point form. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you are giving a voice to your anger and getting to know where it is in your body.
I recommend that you do this exercise alone and give yourself some time to feel the anger that has built up inside you. As the anger surfaces make sure that you feel it in all the parts of your body that it shows up in and note any memories that arise. The memory may be fuelled by anger and this information is so important for us to know and make sense of.
Remember to always be gentle with yourself……. ALWAYS. If this exercise gets to intense, take a break and come back to it.
Example: I remember when my mum first died. I was angry that she left me. I was angry that she got cancer and that she suffered the most horrendous and torturous death. She had suffered so much in her life, why did she have to suffer so much at death. I was super angry at my family for not being available to me when I was grieving. One of my sisters kept saying to me, “that you just have to get on with your life”. Her comment made me boil on the inside. If I could have jumped through the phone and strangled her, I would have. She had no awareness whatsoever of what I was feeling and she kept silencing me. I was angry that my friends weren’t able to hold a space for me to talk to them about how depressed and sad I felt and how lonely I was every single day.
The days that I felt angry made me physically unwell. The anger exhausted me and I felt so tired. A lot of the time, I just sat with my anger because I felt like I couldn’t control it. The anger that was in my body reminded me that losing my mum was heartbreaking and that I was struggling with her loss every minute of every day.