Anger and Grief

So yesterday I posted a status on facebook that said, “Did you know that anger is a fairly effective way to dull the sharpness of grief? Just saying.”  And since then I’ve gotten a few replies that made me feel as though I needed to clarify this.  I just want to say, I am NOT really angry.  Honestly, I am filled with love.  I know that sounds stupid and trite, but it’s true.  And anger can have its place there sometimes, but it’s a small and moderated place, if you know what I mean.

Now I have been a little irritable lately.  Mostly this has been with people who are not personally important to me — people who I don’t know, or don’t know well, people I run into in public life.  You know, like bad drivers!  I can’t tell you how much stress relief I used to get out of bad drivers in the years after Michaela was kidnapped.  Okay, I don’t know if that is healthy.  But I have felt it to be a bit energizing.  It’s like there is this unresolved grief that just sits inside me, and most of the time I can bury it or ignore it, but sometimes it comes out in the process of life, and then I know why I keep it buried.  It is just really hard to live with.  Being irritable is a distraction.

Now you can create anger as a way to divert yourself from grief.  I know, because I’ve done that also, and possibly ruined some relationships that way.  And that is a terrible, terrible, awful thing to do.  I hope I never, ever do that again.  It is really important to live with some sort of emotional integrity.  I do know, I learned in the second year after Michaela’s kidnapping, that anger is often (maybe always) our grief and sorrow turned inside out and thrown outside ourselves, so we don’t have to feel the sharpness of it.  Anger is one of the stages of grief according to psychologists, maybe for this very reason.  At their worst, the feelings of grief are so gripping and so intense you would do just about anything to get away from them.  But honestly, creating anger is not a good way to do that.  It’s a lie for us to be angry at someone we love.

But it is okay to be a little bit irritable with unimportant things, I think.  It’s okay to feel irritated, and to mutter under your breath, although even still it is not okay to wave your fists and yell at people.  You just have to live in such a way that you are not creating distruction in your life.

That’s all.

4 thoughts on “Anger and Grief

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  1. You know, they say depression is anger turned inward. Sometimes, I think to get out of that funk, it's appropriate to learn to channel some of it outward. You can't keep it all inside. I admire your wisdom. You try to be as zen about your honest feelings as you can, but sometimes those desperately miserable feelings just have to go somewhere.


  2. I've heard that, Ann, but it has never made sense to me. I mean, I suppose it's just two sides of the same coin. You don't get angry, so you feel depression. On the other hand, if you feel depression (grief, sadness) and you get angry, it does relieve those feelings somewhat. So I guess it all depends on what you consider to be the REAL, VALID emotions, and I guess for me the grief and sadness have been far more real than the anger. More often than not, I find the anger to be generalized and displaced, which tells you in itself that it's not real, doesn't it?


  3. Ms Sharon,have you ever gone on a vacation with your kids in the lats 21 years since Michaela was kidnapped? i know it may sound unfair to Michaela but i think it will prove to be healthy for you and the kids.


  4. I use to take my anger out on stupid drivers, too, but then one attacked me at a red light in September — so I lay off the horn now.I am angry that you still don't have any answers regarding Michaela. I come here about once a week hoping I see an update that she is home. I am constantly upset when I don't see that title “Michaela, home safe!” Upset an angry. I hope you get answers soon.


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