All About Anger in Grief

What's Your Grief Podcast / What's Your Grief Podcast : Litsa Williams

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The What's Your Grief Podcast: grief support for those who like to listen.

In this grief podcast, Eleanor Haley, MS and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C, the mental health professionals behind the website and book 'What's Your Grief', leave no stone unturned in demystifying the complicated and messy world of living life after loss. One digestible topic at a time, Haley and Williams distill topics ranging from grief theory to coping. Grief is sad and confusing, but your grief support doesn't have to be. You can listen here by using the player above or listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Below we have provided a transcript of the episode.

Episode Transcript

Welcome. We are excited to be back today. Actually, yeah, I was a little excited to get back and (and) talk about some of the topics that we think are really important to be talking about in grief, would you agree with that?

Yeah. I mean, I think for the, it's been nice getting all this feedback from people in our community about what they want to hear and what's on their minds. And you know, I think a lot of times we are always pulling stuff from lots of places, from social media comments, and comments on the blog, and you know, different places to come up with ideas, but it's been nice knowing that we're doing this recording, kind of live in the community, to be taking input more directly from a really specific kind of focus group of people who are really going through specific challenges right now. So, I think that's made me really excited about coming back regularly with some topics that really feel like they're being directly fed from folks that we're connected with right now.

Yeah. One thing we've been hearing a lot about is the idea of anger in grief and how people experience anger in so many different ways and express it in so many different ways, and it has a wide impact on people's lives. And so we thought it would be a good topic to get into. This is something we're going to be talking about a lot in our community this month. But we wanted to start off with just this general, broad podcast talking about the topic. And this is actually something that we wrote about in our book that's coming out in September, What's Your Grief, list to help you through any loss. You're gonna have to forgive us, we're going to be mentioning the book a little bit leading up to that book coming out because guess what, we're really really excited about it. We spent a lot of time working on it and if it doesn't make it to people it will not have served its purpose at all. So, we are going to be talking about it because we want it to fulfill its destiny, right.

Yes, absolutely.

But we did talk about it in (in) the book actually. Litsa wrote about it in the book. And so we put a lot of what we think is really important in there. And so we thought something that we could do today is I could just interview Litsa, as the person who's written the most about this, to get some of what she was thinking about and what she thought was most important to add to this discussion when talking about grief and anger. And of course, this is one of those topics that we could probably talk for a half of a day about because it's just so complex. And when it comes down to individual experiences and individual grief, it's going to look really unique to you. But there are some important points that we really wanted to highlight for you all today. So with that, I'm gonna go ahead and interview you Litsa. Is that okay, are you good with that?

I'm ready to go.

Okay. Well, good. All right. So here's the first thing I think that is important to talk about with anger as long, as well as some other emotions that we talk about, in the book you mentioned that anger gets kind of a bad rap. It's something that we tend to feel bad about. Not everybody, but some people do. You hear a lot about people kind of stuffing their anger down because they feel ashamed or embarrassed about it or they feel like it's not an appropriate thing to express. And also, going along with that, I think the reason people feel that way is because it's not always something that the people around you respond well to friends and family for a wide range of reasons. But as you mentioned as we talk about a lot at What's Your Grief, we like to look at emotions in more of a neutral way. Can you explain that a little bit more for people?

Yeah. Yeah. I mean I think that it can be really helpful for people when we start to tease out the difference between our emotions themselves. Just like the feelings that we're having and then what we do with those emotions. So, our behaviors or our, you know, reactions or responses to those emotions. I think when we pull those apart and we recognize that they are two different things, it can be helpful in that we can realize that having a feeling is just a human experience. Like, when we have feelings that come up, there is nothing that is inherently good or bad about any particular feeling. There are some feelings that are harder for us to cope with and manage. And there are some feelings that we have internalized a lot of really negative ideas about sometimes, because people told us that we shouldn't feel certain emotions or that certain emotions were bad. But the reality, I think, is that human emotion is just part of human experience. Now, that's not to say that certain emotions can't end up proving really complicated for us and can't end up causing sometimes problems for us. But those problems are usually in our reactions or responses or the kind of behaviors the things that like lash out into the world. For example with anger, it is oftentimes with anger not that having a feeling of anger is a problem or a bad thing. The "problem" or the "challenge" that can come up is if I can't figure out what to do with that anger and then it results in me lashing out at people, or me doing things that I really regret later, or saying things I regret later, or allowing that anger to somehow consume me in a way that is then causing problems for me in the world, then that can can be difficult. So your feelings aren't good or bad, they just are. And sometimes we can, we can just accept that we're having a feeling and not judge ourselves for the feeling we're having. It alleviates a little bit of the complexity of that emotion. And then we can focus on thinking about our responses and what we do with that feeling.

Yeah. That, that's such a helpful distinction, I think, because oftentimes, it's the, that we have the emotion and then immediately try and shame the emotions. I feel that that's a really helpful distinction for me personally and I think, I, you know, just from working with people, have heard from other people that that can be really helpful as well. And anger is such a common emotion, how could it not be one of the, how could it not be a natural human thing. And it's something that we oftentimes are attempting to use in a way that is very adaptive and natural. You mentioned that sometimes it could even be, from that very basic instinct urge to protect oneself, right.

Yeah. Yes, and I think understanding that, right, thinking about the fact that there is often, almost always, we can see what the reason, the evolutionary reason, that we have particular emotions. We can often kind of look at them and see how they function in our lives. And that almost all of them, even the most complicated and challenging and difficult of emotions, often have some sort of really helpful, adaptive feature that is the reason that they've developed the way that they have in our brains. And anger is one that can be incredibly self-protective. It is a way that we, you know, when we feel anger it's often that we feel threatened in some way that somehow our safety feels like it's in jeopardy or the safety of somebody else that we love feels like inch in jeopardy. And we feel like something is no longer a person or, you know, is no longer a person who is safe for us. And so, it can be helpful to kind of listen to that or, you know, to be aware of what where that might be coming from and think about that when we're thinking about anger if it's coming, you know, if it's coming up for you, to kind of look at what that connection might be.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Another thing that we often hear about different emotions, not just anger, is that one of the more adaptive and constructive purposes of an emotion is to help you relate and communicate and connect with others. And is anger one of those emotions that you can use as a way of connecting and communicating with other people.

Well I think, you know, this is an interesting one, right. I (I) think that anger, part of the thing about anger that can feel useful for people is that anger can help us to express to another person that something is really serious and really important. Like when we, when somebody knows that we're incredibly angry we often feel like "Okay, if they see how angry I am about this thing. They will know how important this is. They will know" and again, this is I think points to the fact that sometimes anger is an emotion that is hovering above other emotions. What it's often is saying is, you know, "I want this person to know that I'm hurt" but hurt is a really vulnerable thing, you know, violated, sad. Like you know those sorts of things are things that can feel really vulnerable to express to other people. Sometimes, saying, you know, "If I feel angry, if they see my anger, they're going to know that this is sort of important. And they're going to know that there's something that is (is) going on with me" but it's going to be in a way that doesn't feel quite as vulnerable or threatening. Stating sometimes we feel safer, we feel like we have a little bit more control when we're expressing anger and so it allows us to try to communicate something to another person while feeling a little bit more, you know, in control. Now, if you've had problems where your anger feels like really out of control and you can't manage that anger, that (that) comment might not feel intuitive to you to think anger is a emotion that is expressing control. But I guess, what I mean by control is that sometimes we feel like anger is active. There's something that is, you know, the control in the sense that it's an active force for us, or an active emotion whereas some of those other emotions don't feel as active and so (so) we feel a little bit more threatened and a little bit more vulnerable and less protected when we're open about them. So, I'm not sure if that's what you're getting at in terms of connection but I think that's, you know, communication often, that's something we're looking for.

That's (that's) actually exactly what I was (I was) thinking about. And I think anger in using it as a way to say to somebody "I'm hurt" maybe, "you hurt me" is a skill in a way that we practice from from being very young, right. My (my) three-year-old tells me she's mad at me and so we learned to do this at a young age and it's something that we practice in some ways throughout our life now. Some people feel a little more hesitant to share that they're hurt and angry than other people. But, I think, one of the things that makes anger feel a little bit bigger, and scarier, and maybe sometimes unresolvable in grief is that we are using the thing that we've used all our lives to communicate that we're hurt, and upset, and mad but the thing that we're mad at often isn't a person or somebody who cares enough to try and ease our hurt. And there isn't anything that can ease our hurt because oftentimes what we're mad at is the world. We're mad at the fact that our loved one is gone. We're mad at, maybe, we're mad at our God. Maybe, we're mad at some complete stranger who perpetrated a crime or violence and so there is all this anger and there isn't necessarily a way to use that skill that we've used our all our life to communicate to ease that in any way. Does that make sense?

Oh, I think it makes total sense. And I think that, you know, oftentimes with anger, when we can't express our anger at the the person or thing that we're angry at, be that our, the universe or our God, or the person who died even, or you know, any of those things, that (that) anger can get displaced and it can come out in all sorts of other directions. And it can certainly, sometimes, also be, you know, an anger of just feelings of things like injustice, you know, feelings of why me, you know. Feeling, again feeling like this is something that has happened, you know, it happened to me in a way that doesn't feel like it's fair. And all of those things can then sometimes mean lashing out at other people who we feel simply, maybe don't understand us, or haven't been through what we've been through. So there's so many different ways that that anger can be directed towards something or someone we can't express it towards, and then end up seeping out in a million other directions.

Yeah. That, yeah. When I think about anger, something I often think about is, maybe some of the listeners out there have seen this too, but maybe not. But when you walk into many therapists office, oftentimes, what you see is the Anger Iceberg. So, for those of you who don't know about the Anger Iceberg, it's like this graphic that's an iceberg and there's different tiers of emotions basically, and most of the iceberg is underwater and there's just the tip that's not underwater and the tip is anger, and all the other emotions are underwater are all (all) the other emotions that are a little more scary and make us feel a little more threatened and a little more vulnerable things like fear and guilt and shame are often under the iceberg. And what they're basically saying is that oftentimes what we see on the surface is anger, but what lies beneath that anger, it can be a whole range of different emotions. And you mentioned that anger is sometimes a way that we deal with guilt, or regret, or shame, or it's connected in some way. Can you say more about that?

Yeah. You know, I think that many times when we have our own feelings of guilt and shame, these are (these are) emotions that can be incredibly difficult to manage. If we feel like we were at fault in some way, for all of their death. If we feel like we should have been a better person, or a better partner, or parent or child, or you know, whatever that is, these emotions are incredibly complex to work through. We will, we could and will, I'm sure do lots of other sessions where we talk about that, and one of the things that can happen in those moments when I can't figure out other ways to process those emotions you have the go-to thing to do is often to turn anger on myself and feel anger at myself in a way that can feel like self-punishment. Self-punishment that I may feel like I have earned, or that I deserve for whatever it is that is causing me that guilt and shame. So, all of a sudden, I now have a tremendous amount of anger towards myself. I'm not able to even consider showing myself any sort of self-compassion or figuring out what it might look like to kind of cope with that guilt, or learn how to live with that guilt in a different way, or that shame because I feel like Why should I deserve that, right. I deserve this anger that I'm inflicting upon myself and that I've really kind of turned on myself and internalized and it can often be anger, just like if we were angry at another person. We might, you know, I don't know, give them the silent treatment, or not do, you know, kind and caring things for them. We end up doing the same thing for ourselves, to our self. We stop treating ourselves with kindness. We might not take care of ourselves the way that we know that we should, because of an anger we've turned on our (our) self. And so that can be something that can end up being, over time, really destructive, not just from an emotional perspective but really from an actual physical and biological perspective. A lot of people who are dealing with guilt, and self-blame, and shame that have manifested as anger towards themselves, will later kind of reflect back and say I've gone for, you know, a couple of years now just not taking care of myself because I didn't think I deserved it, you know. I was so angry at myself for what I had done and how I failed my loved one, I didn't think that, you know, I sort of deserved to be doing anything to try to help myself or take care of myself, be that go to therapy or be that go for a walk, or you know, eat (eat) healthy food that would nourish my body while I was trying to, you know, grieve. And so that anger can be really really difficult for us to see when we've turned it on ourselves, you know. We can sometimes, we can't (we can't) even fully see the implication long term of how it's affecting the way that we're treating ourselves.

Yeah. Yeah. And going back to that idea of control, so we do talk all the time about how after experiencing any sort of major loss, or tragedy, or trauma, that it can sometimes feel easier to believe that there is someone at fault than to believe that the world would randomly and unjustly cause this to happen. So, we do, all the time, see people looking to find someone to blame and ultimately blaming themselves because they want that control, or they want, not that control, but that sense of meaningfulness and control that knowing someone is responsible, can give them versus the idea that it just happened.

Absolutely. We'd love to think, I mean, that self-blame, it's (it's) strange to think that we would rather blame ourselves than admit that sometimes there are things in this world that are outside of our control. We'd rather be angry at ourselves, or angry at another person, or you blame ourselves or another person, because that allows us to believe that next time, you know, if I'm angry enough at myself, and I punish myself, or I punish that person, you know, that somehow there's this lesson to be learned and next time I won't let this sort of failure happen again.


When the reality is that, yes there are some things where that anger is justified. And there are some things where the world is a, sometimes, a really chaotic place. And there's like nothing that anybody could have done. And it's harder to accept that than to want to find that cause and then feel anger and blame.

Yeah. And digging beneath the anger, there's a reason why I said, we see that iceberg in every therapist office. It takes some work for (for) many people, or for, you know, a lot of time and work and that might mean talking to a therapist, it might just mean a lot of self-reflection, it might mean journaling, things like that but it does, it can take a lot to really dignity. So it's not just so simple that you'll hear this and be like Oh wait, I should look a little bit beneath. It might be for you, but for many people, it's going to take a lot of exploration and thought to (to) figure it all out. And many people don't ever "figure it all out", right.


To do it.

I certainly have not done it. But it can be useful to look at some of those other emotions. And yeah, this just came up the other day when we were talking about different ways of coping. And I was saying one way of coping with, for me that's a little bit kind of tapped into rational coping and emotional coping, is that I've always really found it helpful, with not just anger but lots of emotions, to really dig in to some of those, like this sounds so simple, but like some of those emotion lists where you actually really like tease out the difference in the nuance between different emotions, and where you might say to yourself Okay, I'm feeling this umbrella, feeling of anger, but if I start to look more closely, like going through lists of emotions and going Oh well, like, in this moment is what I'm feeling, you know, threatened by something. Am I feeling, you know, actually just a little bit agitated by something. But because of other feelings I'm feeling, you know, it's sort of coming and disproportionate ways. Or am I feeling, you know, definitely feelings of like envy or jealousy towards another person, that can feel like anger which I think sometimes when we see other people who still have their life and their family and their loved ones it can be a really complicated feeling when people think Oh why do I feel like kind of like an anger at them. And then when you tease it out a little more, you go Oh really what I'm feeling is like I'm envious of that or I'm jealous of them. And maybe I am feeling frustrated by a feeling that this is, you know, a thought that this is unfair or unjust. But when I start to kind of pull those things apart, a little bit more often I can get a lot more insight into that anger and where it's coming from, also what it might be covering up, you know. Just all that nuance there.

Yeah. That's helpful. So, when we talk about anger and that conversation about how the emotion itself is a natural emotion, it's neither necessarily good or bad. It reminds me of a lot of different emotional experiences where we don't always talk about it or acknowledge it until it's "a problem". And where there is an area on the continuum where it can actually be helpful and beneficial. And we talked about how anger can be self-protective, it could help you to communicate to other people. Are there any other benefits that are worth mentioning to anger, ways that it could be helpful, ways that we can use it?

Yeah. I mean, I think one that is particularly well relevant in grief is that sometimes anger can be a really motivating or energizing force when our energy and motivation has otherwise felt zapped. And I think that this is something that comes up for a lot of people if they have felt themselves called to advocacy in someway, or actually even in cases, sometimes, where people have felt that there was a, you know, if there was a crime or like an issue where there was maybe something that's actually going on in the justice system, that sometimes people will look back and they'll be like for those early days of grief my anger was like the only thing that was getting me out of bed, or that was motivating me, or that was helping me to feel connected. And when we talk about the idea of having a feeling, and then that emotion, and then there's that reaction or that response and what we can kind of choose to do with it, though we need to be careful about things like advocacy serving as avoidance, it, for many people, actually serves a really helpful purpose in their grief. So you know, many people know I, I've lost somebody to a substance use disorder and I think many people who've lost someone to addiction or overdose have a lot of anger, a lot of anger toward their loved one for the addiction, towards the drug companies for what has happened with the opioid epidemic, at a system that hasn't provided adequate substance abuse treatment and hasn't gotten the problem under control, you know. There can be so much anger. And then of course just anger, you know, that their loved one is gone. And that can for some people, when they are feeling totally adrift and when they're really struggling in grief one of the things that people, especially who maybe are a little bit more doers in their grief and are really looking for ways to feel connected, will sometimes use that anger to then really get involved with advocacy work for changing drug policy or for trying to figure out ways to improve the problem overall, or looking at things that they can do, you know, on an individual level to better, you know, go through a Narcan training or something like that. And so again that's a way that anger can sometimes serve as a motivation to feel connected to something that (that) unfortunately, they weren't able to change the outcome with their loved one, but that they may be able to affect other change overall. Now again, it's still important that we tend to our anger, that we don't let this kind of motivation comes from anger to push into advocacy to become the dominant feature of our grief that's kind of avoiding other things or preventing us from digging into some of the other hard emotions. But it can be a it can be a helpful aspect.

Yeah. It makes me think of, I (I) feel like I've heard a number of times recently that people saying things like I need to do this while I still have that anger, right. The anger is like the empowering thing or the thing that gives a person courage. And in that situation, it makes a lot of sense to me but I could see, like, kind of what you're saying is we need to be careful and find strike a balance because we don't always want to feel that we need anger to fuel us. And oftentimes, if we feel we need, you know, to constantly be feeling that anger, I could see where it would have some negative impacts which, yeah

Absolutely. And I think, there's, and now I'm blanking on the name of (of) the guy who created this, but there's a guy from a center who does some work around emotions. I think it's at Yale and he has this little graphic that's sort of a grid that shows emotions that are sort of draining and require energy versus emotions that allow us to kind of, or either neutral, or sometimes even recuperating a little bit. And it's interesting because George Bonanno famously has talked about how sadness is actually turns us inward, and that sometimes we become a little bit self-focused. But that the theory is sort of that sadness actually allows us not an extreme doses or getting into depression or things like that, but to kind of tend to ourselves and to build up and (and) restore certain things and not focus on ourselves so we don't get too drained by other people at a time that we need to be coping. But anger, they talk about on the scale is something that requires a lot of energy, it can be a very draining emotion in terms of, sort of expending a lot from us. And so, you know, then there's of course the ones that are like the best like calm and content. Like, these are the ones that we really like, right. Like, (we'd ra) we'd rather like be able to to feel on that other end of the spectrum but I do think it's helpful sometimes to think about that idea that anger can become absolutely exhausting, right. It, if we are constantly feeling, as you described, like this is a system that it's slow to change but our anger is the only thing that's fueling our advocacy, like over time, that can be incredibly draining. If there is someone we're angry at that we can't express that anger towards, whether that's, you know, God, or the universe, or a loved one who's dead, or somebody who's just not willing to receive the anger that we're throwing at them, if we don't learn other ways to kind of cope with that anger process, it manage it, you know, sometimes adjust and those reactions that we're having into things that are a little bit more (more) like responses than reactions where we've had some time to kind of pause and think about what we're doing with that anger, it really can suck a lot of the energy out of us and take it away from our ability to cope with grief in other ways.

Yeah. I think it's an interesting, well it feels interesting to me right now in this moment thinking about it, because I think, like a lot of times when you talk about how anger can be really draining, it's (it's) linked to, you know, it impact negative impacts on physical health, emotional health. It does often cut you off from social support because it's (it's) not always something people are able to connect with you in if you are lashing out. That obviously puts a distance between you and other people. But it isn't like we're suggesting that you work to make your anger permanently go away necessarily, right. Because that's not even a realistic thing for people in (in) any short-term way necessarily. So, is it more just saying being self-aware and finding a balance between that anger, being mindful of how we're re responding to our anger, and finding other ways to other kind of emotional self-care well-being type of things to balance it out?

Yeah. I think it's exactly that. It's saying, you know, I can accept that my, that the anger is an emotion that I'm feeling and that I'm not spending my time saying Okay, what I need to be doing is eliminating all this anger. But I do want to be finding that pause between, when I kind of feel the anger and then what I'm doing with my anger. And I can't remember it now off the top of my head, there's that great Victor Frankel quote that is about, you know, kind of that the power in that very moment of being able to take pause and then look at what we're doing with that anger and ask that question of like How is this working for me? Like, is this helping me or is this harming me? And I might be incredibly angry, to use that again that substance use example, I might be incred- incredibly angry and maybe I have channeled all of this into advocacy work and, you know, volunteering my time and doing all of these things. And I might take a step back at some point and ask myself the question, you know, how (how) is this serving me? Is this helping me or is this harming me? What I've done with this anger. And I (I) might say to myself Wow, this, I've let this take over my life right now. I'm not, I'm now, I'm feeling obligations related to this, I feel like I can't take a break. I feel like if I don't do enough around this I'm betraying my loved one's memory because I should be spending all my time. And I might take a step back and realize Oh wow, this thing that felt like it was helping me at one point, now has grown to a point that it's harming me. And so, now I say Wait, okay, it's not that again that I'm trying to eliminate my anger but I say I need to think about a different response now. And I need to think about how maybe I adjust some of this a little bit. And (and) kind of take that pause there. And I think that can serve us with so many emotions and then the what (what) happens after that emotion is kind of checking in with ourselves, taking that pause, and asking how is this helping or harming me. If I've cut out a bunch of people in my life who I was angry at, and maybe that anger feels like it was still justified and there was truly blame and I've really examined it and looked at it and, you know, all of that. But then I take a step back and go how, you know, is this helping me, is it harming me and I realized, like, I'm incredibly isolated, like, I really miss those people. And even though I'm angry at things that they did, maybe ways that they weren't there for me and my grief early on or things that they said and, you know, things that they did, I might say wow, you know, that anger is still there but also this isn't helping me the way the fact that I've now just cut them all out of my life. And I feel isolated and alone. This actually feels like maybe it's harming me. Maybe I need to think about whether I could communicate this anger in an effective way with them. Give them some feedback, you know. Think about what that looks like and do something differently, that maybe early on in my grief I wasn't in a place to do, right. I was so, it was so early, I was so angry I couldn't even imagine talking to people about the way that they, it felt like they were harming me, or the way that they were doing hurtful things. But now that some time has passed I can look at my anger again, and I can look at my responses again, and I can always do that. I can always come back to it and say is it helping me, is it harming me. Should I, you know, revisit the way that I'm (I'm) allowing this anger kind of to impact the way I live in the world in ways that work, or in ways that maybe don't work.

Yeah. It's like, it feels like one of the most glib (glib) questions that people ask and with regards to therapy and behavior and things like that, emotion. But how is it working out for you question is one that is so valid in grief, because in grief, you're entitled to feel all the things that you feel. Nobody can or should take away your thoughts and your emotions. But you, at some point, might step back and say this what this is doing for me or to me or in my life feels like something I don't like, feels like something I don't want to tolerate anymore, feels like something that's actually making me feel more isolated or more shame. So for people, the answer will be different. Some people might say I have a little bit of anger, I'm not sure I'll ever resolve that and that's okay with me. And some people may feel that anger occupies such a space that they do really want to work on easing it or, you know, to the extent that they can eliminating most of it. And so, in those instances, I think of course, there's stuff that (that) can be done. We can't get into it but forgiveness, I think, would you say is one of the big pieces in that.

Absolutely. And I think that, you know, again that we can't get into all of this and maybe we can spend a whole other episode talking about forgiveness, but I think again this can sound a little bit glitter cliché as well but it's so true that, you know, forgiveness, we often have this misconception that it's sort of for the other person. And like, forgiveness is not for the other person, forgiveness is for us. Like, forgiveness is something that we do that allows us to change our relationship with our anger in a way that then lets us live in the world feeling a little bit more connected to our, the person that we want to be or our values or, you know, other things or creating actually more space for connection to our loved one. I think that one of the things that can be hard for people to see when they're in it is that, if that anger connected to the loss of your loved one is so consuming that every time you think about your loved one, the first thing your brain does is go right to that place of thinking about the anger, thinking about who you're angry at, why you're angry, how you're feeling these, you know, this deep and overwhelming anger, it's actually taking up space and taking, kind of, away from your connection to your loved one. Because it's taking that energy and that space in your brain that could be connected to your loved one's legacy and memories and other ways, and being able to connect more to the wonderful things about your relationship with them. And instead now, that space is being invaded by this anger that you're, that is taking up so much energy. And so, when that's happening, saying I really need to look at this anger that's flooding in and figure out how I'm gonna manage this in different ways and maybe change, you know, how this anger comes up for me so that I can have more space for my meaningful memories and connections to my loved one and the thing that really feels more consistent with who they were and the kind of relationship I want to have with them in (in) death and in grief than just being consumed by anger.

Yeah. And then of course, I think we talked already a little bit about trying to do a little work to find (find) what might life beneath the anger. Thinking about communicating around anger. There might be some resolution there, if (if) there is somebody who you can communicate with that (that) may be a source or a part of (of) the anger. Obviously, this is something people tips for managing anger and exploring anger are everywhere. Because it's not just something that is a discussion in grief but it's obviously a thing for people across the board in life, so.

Yeah. And I, you know, I quickly looked this up because I do think it's such a (a) helpful quote, and maybe a good thing to (to) end on (on) this topic. That Victor Frankel quote says "Between stimulus and response there is a space. And that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom". And I think that that, you know, captures in so many ways what is important about this conversation. It's, you know, that stimulus and response, no question you know, that that (that) stimulus and grief can be so many things that brings up anger. And then that pause, that moment where we can, sort of, use that space to figure out what we want to do without anger, you know. That can allow us to change that relationship with (with) anger in ways that can be really meaningful. So...

Yeah. Yeah. That's one of the most basic pieces of advice that you can hear about managing anger is just, like, count to ten, right. And what it is is creating that space to choose a different response. Because there's the response that comes quick, right. And then, there's the response that you might choose if you give yourself a little space and time. You still might choose the first response, but you might not. So giving yourself the option can be really beneficial.

Absolutely. And knowing that that space, right, that counting to ten, I think, part of the reason that people, you know, way back, in way way way back in another life of mine, I used to run anger management groups. And one of the things that made people so angry in anger management groups was the advice of counting to ten, right. Like, that like just right. It made people so mad because they were like, it never matters I'm still just as angry after I've talked counted to ten. I always wanted to be like no no but that that misunderstands what the pause is for, right. The pause isn't for you to stop feeling anger. You're not going to stop feeling anger because you talk counted to ten. The pause is to say Okay I accept that my brain is experiencing that feeling of anger right now. And now I get to decide what I'm going to do with that. And that's the important thing about the space and the pause. It's not a space and pause to make anger go away.

If only, that would be amazing.

That'd be so amazing, wow that would be awesome.

And with that, I think that we are going to wrap up our conversation for today on anger. Thank you everybody for hanging with us. And we are always interested in hearing your perspective, because, like we said in the beginning, grief, and how you experience grief, and how you experience certain emotions, and things in grief like anger is really unique to the individual and their experiences. So we are interested in hearing from you. You can always email us at And we are at What's Your Grief on pretty much every social network you can think of.

All right. Thanks everyone.

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