Is Anger Ok?

May 25, 2012

Today Sam and I went to our first session with a counselor at our church. I’m a big “let’s work through our feelings by talking” kind of person (isn’t that a shocker) and so in an odd way I was looking forward to it. And to sharing about our sons. I never mind doing that, even if it still hurts.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the session. A lot of, “God’s plan, there will be a blessing, trust in the Lord” – all things I know and believe but I sat there still struggling with what was wrong. I mean, if this was counseling I needed to go somewhere else because for me, I was in need of a different kind of session.

So after sitting there for about 45 minutes trying to think of what was really wrong (while we all talked in the meantime), she asked how I was feeling. And I opened up to something I’ve really dreaded talking about on here or in my life.

“I feel very, very angry. Not at God, not at what happened. I have a real sense of peace about that part of my boys being with him, I do know there is a purpose and hearing it gives me hope for a future.” I paused and ‘fessed up. “I feel angry at everybody else. I feel like I’m supposed to fit this model of grief that most people go through and I don’t, so no one knows how to deal with me. I feel like it would be ok if I laid in bed and cried for the next 2 months and let the house and my child and husband all fall by the wayside, but because I get up and get on with life and my grief comes out as anger at others, this is not ok. I don’t want to be sad, I don’t like grieving or spending time dwelling on what I didn’t get. Which is all normal for those who do. But I’m beginning to think my way isn’t. And I don’t know how else to grieve so I’m starting to feel trapped and very much alone.”

And this is how I feel right now. Most days I do not cry – and if I do it’s short spurts of intense pain because something hit me the right way. My grief deals with a lot of anger and resentment towards others. I’m not angry at Sam yet a lot of this is placed on him because he’s the only one around. I’m not angry all the time – but something will set me off (a comment, an off phone call, Facebook stupidity) and it bottles up inside of me until I fall apart.

Most days, I am ok. I can move forward and be happy and find joy in the little things. I don’t feel like I’m “keeping it all together” or anything, it was a relief to get back to a normal routine of life after months of upheaval with another hard pregnancy and then losing the boys. I wouldn’t have changed it, but there is a sense of purpose in my home and life I love to feel now.

But after talking with the counselor more, I’m beginning to learn I grieve different. Everyone does, but mine isn’t really sadness. I don’t like to be sad, and I’ve been terrified of death mostly because I felt like it would consume me into a sadness I would never get away from. I turn to anger or resentment. Most people aren’t sure how to react to anger directed at them or something minor in life instead of someone falling apart. I get it. It would be far easier for me to help a friend who is sad and upset than one who tends to get angry when grief hits.

This is me. This is who I am and my path of healing. What I learned today is this: Anger is ok. Being angry is ok. Jesus was angry. But the actions or words that come from it are not ok. Just because I am grieving does not mean it’s ok for me to hurt others. I can talk it out, leave whatever it is alone, pray, or write.

Knowing this makes my moments of sadness and anger a lot easier to bear and recognize. I am ok. I am healthy in this process. This is normal. I will make the wrong choice at times because I’m human and hurting, but I know I don’t have to always let it consume me or dictate how I react to it. There is no right way to grieve, and many might not understand mine. And that’s no longer my problem.

Grief has it’s own process as a Christian. Just because I got handed an overwhelming amount of pain and loss does not mean I get a free for all as a human. It means that even now, even as I hurt the most, I am still supposed to be a light for Christ in my life and others. So I can be angry, and I can grieve in that way, as someone else can be sad and grieve their way. But for whatever path you’re on in grief, there is a choice and a responsibilty. Christian or not – you have a choice in your grief process.

This is what I needed to hear and remember today. So begins another journey of my choice inside the one that was handed to me.

23 Comments

  • Rebecca

    May 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    This is so me! I’ve been feeling like there is something wrong with me because I haven’t been sad about my parent’s divorce after 30 years of marriage…I’ve been downright pissed off.

    Makes me feel like I’m insensitive or cold-hearted, but knowing I’m not the only one who is affected by grief this way is encouraging.

    My most favorite thing about blogging is how often we think, “I’m not alone.” It’s so encouraging. Thank you for your wonderfully honest writing.

  • Heather

    May 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    It never occurred to me until reading this post that this is how I deal with grief. I also avoid because I don’t like being sad or angry. Thank you for posting this.
    Please know that I think about and pray for you and your family often.

  • sadie

    May 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

    i only just started reading blogs and found the story of how the hospital treated you on babble.com. i am so sorry for your loss. i truly am. i can’t even imagine going through that. but the strength and hope you’re showing through this dark time is absolutely amazing. and it’s very inspiring. especially for moms who have lost children, but really you’re an inspiration for anyone who has lost anyone. sometimes it’s so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. but you not only continue the trek towards that light, you guide others to their own. thank you for that. and God bless you and your family.

  • Tina

    May 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    PS Saying that being angry is okay… that hit me, brought me to tears instantly. I am still so angry, (a year and a half later) at some people who don’t deserve it (people who had babies around the time I had mine and they got to keep theirs). I know it’s not fair and I keep telling myself that it is not okay to be angry. I just have to realize being angry is okay… wow… it’s okay….

  • Tina

    May 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Just remember, everyone grieves differently. The way you deal with it is not the way I would nor someone else. At the same time, we will all have similarities, we all hurt when we loose a child or children, we just express it differently. If people say you are grieving “wrong” then they are not very smart, your way is the RIGHT way for you!

  • Angela

    May 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Diana – you have the right to grieve in which ever way is *right* for you. Please don’t believe otherwise.

  • Hannah D

    May 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I wanted to share my friend’s blog with you. http://choosingcarina.blogspot.com/
    Her daughter was born still, one year ago today.

    Thoughts and prayers from one crunchy Army wife to another. ~Hannah

  • Maija @ Maija’s Mommy Moments

    May 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Diana,

    While I have not experienced the same kind of grief as you, your words mirror my own feelings about the grief I carry. There is a term out there called “failure to cope” which I understand is sometimes used by physicians on notes that give people sick leave or stress leave from work. I often thought of how easily I could claim “failure to cope” and just go to bed to be sad. But because I didn’t. Because I outright fought with my body and my heart to actually cope people didn’t know how to deal with me. Even my husband some days and it made me so angry.

    These words —> “So begins another journey of my choice inside the one that was handed to me.” are so very very true.

    Thank you for reminding me.

  • angela

    May 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I don’t have anything to add, except I am happy you’re feeling ok in your emotions because you absolutely should. And (of course) I want you to know you’re being heard and thought of. xo

  • Erin

    May 26, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Diana, thank you so much for posting this blog. I always thought I was different and that there was something wrong with me. I get angry every time I grieve instead of having sadness. Now don’t get me wrong I do want to climb into bed and cry until my heart will crack in half but I also feel a lot of anger with it. Not at god mind you but at the whole situation. My family on the other hand are always asking me why I’m not sad over the situation like they are and I always thought something was wrong with me. Now that I know this is normal and there are other people who grieve the same way, it take a lot of stress of my shoulders. I feel for you and your family, and keep you in my prayers.

  • Katrina @ Hix in the Stix – Army Edition

    May 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Wow…Thank you for this. I grieve much the same way; I talk it out. But I’m not necessarily sad (not the weepy kind anyways); I’m more likely to be depressed or angry and resentful. It’s how I’ve handled most of this deployment – I keep feeling guilty that I’m NOT more sad over the deployment but that’s just not me (not that I’m trying to say that deployment is as difficult as losing a baby!) It’s nice to know that I’m not too abnormal. And you’re not alone!!!

  • Bethany

    May 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Diana thank you for sharing this. I have often struggled with this myself. I tend to be empathetic – can weep with those who weep – but when it is my OWN grief, I lash out in anger. I’m not angry at a person, God, or even the situation. It’s almost like I’m angry at myself for not being able to process tragedy “normally.”
    It’s good to know that I’m not broken. But it’s also a great reminder that processing hard things does not give one license to hurt others.

    Still praying for you daily.
    b

  • Arnebya

    May 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Diana — I can’t pretend to understand your pain. I can’t lay claim to being able to relate. I can’t. I haven’t experienced a modicum of what you are going through. But, I am here. I am listening. And I can attest to grief being different for everyone. I’m glad you were able to open up about how you’re processing/dealing and there is nothing wrong with how YOU are grieving.

  • Cynthia A

    May 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Love and Hugs. <3

  • Courtney

    May 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Having just gone to 8 weeks of group grief counseling over the loss of my son’s father, I can share what I learned, and that is that anger is very normal–a whole range of emotions is normal when it comes to grief. There is no model, no neat orderly stages, no standard time frame or norm. And also that GUILT is a BIG part of grief. I lot of people feel guilty for the way they grieve. You are not different and there is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings–just actions, like you said. And it is always changing. It can be messy. Hang in there and give yourself permission to grieve however you need to–there are no rules. Oh and maybe this will help: http://www.hellogrief.org/.

  • Tracy @ Liberating Working Moms

    May 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    <3

  • Sarah

    May 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    When you put it that way…thank you for the “ah-ha” moment! I’ve been a terror lately and feeling terrible about it hasn’t helped. But I think you’re more normal than you think- or you and I are the only ones who process like this.

    I don’t know about you but I am a task-oriented person, so I process by DOING. By staying busy, getting things done, getting life back to “normal”. It also means I tend to hurt people in the process.

    Thanks for the reminder that just because this is how I am, does not give me permission to be a B:)

  • Katie

    May 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I rarely cry.

    When Cort’s dad died. neither of us were criers and it bothered the rest of the family.

    But we were both angry.

    Our pastor told us this was perfectly fine.

    Interestingly, my ppd also manifested in the form of anger/rage.

    My therapist works with me on how to communicate the anger without being hurtful.

    my prayers are with you, because i feel this anger thing too.

  • Melissa

    May 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Diana I have been keeping up with your blog for a while now. Let me know I am so sorry for the lose of your 2 beautiful babies. I to am a military wife. We are actually stationed out here at Peterson AFB in Colorado. I understand the anger you talk about. Back in 2010 I lost a baby. I cried but not as much as many. Instead I was also angry. I was angry every time a seen a pregnant person who looked happy. I was also angry at myself because I could not understand why I was so angry. I already had 3 kids. There were people out there who had none so why was I to be angry. I felt like I was being selfish. I am also a christian and I totally excepted what happened and knew my baby was with the Almighty God. What I didnt realize was that while I was angry and hurt GOD took care of me. Literally 5 weeks after having my miscarriage I found out I was pregnant. I was stunned, scared, surprised all at the same time. I went on after a very hard pregnancy to deliver my first baby boy. I look back on that all the time. GOD is carrying you!!! That I can promise you and because you have God you will be blessed fully! I will continue to pray for you. I recently read Heavens for Real. It is an amazing book and I think every woman who experiences the loss of a child should read this.

    Melissa

  • Christy

    May 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing. And thank you for reminding us that in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we are still to reflect Christ. I’ve been struggling with that one myself in just my everyday living.

    I admire your strength, determination and passion for life.

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    May 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I’m of a similar mindset…I get angry. Rage is probably an even better word and because this doesn’t fit the traditional mold of grief people think there’s something even worse going on with me.

    Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it “wrong” because most of those people have never been in your position and even those that have don’t know what it’s like to be YOU. It’s your life and you’re entitled to grieve and get angry.

  • Kendra

    May 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Very well said, Diana. Your journey is just that. Yours. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to your journey. Your ability to disect your feelings and emotions and to talk/write through them is such a beautiful thing. Even if it is anger your are disecting through it is still far better than keeping it all inside and never coming to terms with any of it. You are doing a great job… At grieving, at being a mother, a wife, etc. You are doing a great job because you are doing the best you can with what was handed to you. You remain in my thoughts and prayers…

  • Liz

    May 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you for your honesty. You’re saying the things I can’t. It explains so much about where I am.
    Praying for you!
    Liz

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