What is the dictionary definition of anger?
A feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment, opposition, etc. and usually showing itself in a desire to fight back at the supposed cause of this feeling.
Roots: constricted, narrow, tightness, to squeeze, a strangling (also German angst which equals fear)
It’s interesting that when we discuss our grief and the feelings we have, we use words like wounded (having a hole in my heart), wanting to punch something, tightness in my chest, strangled by the pain, having the life squeezed out of me, scared. They are all feelings that are reflected in the definition above. No wonder anger can play a big role in the grieving process.
Losing a baby feels unjust and causes anger. Our child is not supposed to die before we do. Our anger is usually directed one or more of the following three ways (from the book Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy by Fackler & Kik):
When mad at God, we may ask, “Why did You let this happen?”
When mad at ourselves, we may ask, “What if?” or look at the “should- haves.”
When mad at others, we may think, “Why did you say or do that?” or “Why are you so insensitive?”
Know that unexpressed anger can cause inner turmoil & physical illness.
Anger expressed inappropriately can destroy relationships.
And, anger turned inward is guilt.
However, anger can be expressed appropriately & lead to personal growth. There are things we cannot change, like pregnant women or women who have babies easily, but we can change our attitude toward them. This is easier said than done and may take some time, so be patient with yourself.
Make a list of what or who has made you angry. Work through the list in order to heal. Speak to people who have hurt you, but do it politely and without vengeance. Working out anger with ourselves requires forgiveness, and forgiving ourselves is the most difficult kind of forgiveness to give. Write a letter to God to tell him how you feel. Sometimes we must “have it out with God” to realize that He is there for us, if we just trust Him, to get us through this horrible time.
What Makes Me Angry
Not being pregnant
Other people with babies
Women with easy pregnancies
Who Makes Me Angry
My best friend
Someone at church
My Letter to God
I am really angry at you for not letting my baby live. Why would you do something like that? What did I do to deserve this?
[Write out your letter to God]
Help me Lord to trust You again.
Anger can be very closely tied with guilt and fear. For instance, you can feel angry because you are no longer pregnant, feel guilty because your body has “failed” you, and feel fear that you may never get pregnant or may be a basket case if you do get pregnant.
Think about how that connection might be formed when thinking about anger at friends:
ANGER – GUILT – FEAR
Friends say unkind things. – I am angry. – Friends may be distant and desert me.
Can you think of any more?
Now, think of how that connection might be formed when thinking about anger at ourselves:
ANGER – GUILT – FEAR
My body let me down. – I can’t fix it. – My body may never give me a child.
There are some things that may help distract you from your anger, guilt or fear. These include:
Others offering hope/support
Having family around
Change – do something different
Work – but NOT over-work
Seeing others’ babies, OR not
Playing with puppies/kittens