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Anger in Grief

Abstract: Our daughter has lost her boyfriend and she’s full of anger with everybody. What shall we do?

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Anger in Grief

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Question(s): 
Written by: Fabio Piccini, doctor and Jungian psychotherapist, in charge of Novello Clinic in Cesena. Works privately in Rimini and Chiavari.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 20 Aug 2008.

Our daughter has lost her boyfriend and she’s full of anger with everybody. What shall we do?

Answer:

The anger and irritability often seen in grief may be the most difficult part for the family and the friends to cope with.

Anger in grief can be acknowledged by enduring it alone or it can be shared with someone you love, and in this case it gradually dissipates.

Also, anger in grief can be displaced from the consciousness in many ways onto self (giving rise to feelings of self-blame and guilt), onto family (giving rise to feeling of alienation if they can’t take it or accusation if the bereaved feels that no-one cared), onto others (giving rise to complaints of offence or negligence, and sometimes to subsequent litigation), or eventually onto God (giving rise to loss of faith).

Anger in grief can also be suppressed, causing depression or psychosomatic illnesses.

Anger is a normal stage of grief work, but if it's persistent in grief, then the understanding and support of a trained professional outsider (psychotherapist or psychiatrist) may be especially helpful.

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