It’s natural to feel anger as part of the bereavement cycle. Giving yourself time to work through bereavement and all associated losses, will serve you well.
Anger during the grief cycle can be unpredictable, you may feel fine one day and not the next. Remind yourself that ‘this, too, will pass’ and soon you will notice yourself having more good days than bad.
In my experience, it is by working through our emotions, and facing our fears, communicating our experiences and being willing to heal the past, which allows us to reflect on our relationships with our mothers differently. No longer are we being victims of our own circumstances, we are free to move on from the past and make our futures all we want them to be.
Explore your memories of anger
When you are able to welcome and accept you have a right be angry you are not denying your feelings, you acknowledge all aspects of yourself.
In the same way you would embrace an old friend, welcome and acknowledge your anger and then let it go.
· Welcome and accept your anger as you would an old friend
· Dig deep and explore why it’s there
· Recognise anger as being a healthy emotion indicating an opportunity for further healing
· Think about what made you angry and how you responded
· What is your earliest memory of feeling angry in this way?
· What unexpressed anger may you have from a previous time which impacts your life now?
In terms of your experience with your mother and her anger
· What are your mother’s beliefs about expression of anger?
· How often did she express anger towards you?
· In what ways may your mother have buried her own anger?
· Under what circumstances were you able to show your own anger towards your mother or others?
· What did you believe about yourself and your mother as a result of her anger or your own anger?
Moving beyond anger
· Work through your anger by expressing it in healthy ways (for guidance, download the MP3 on releasing anger on my website)
· Use EFT (Chapter Six) of Mothers and Daughters to release anger
· Allow your anger creative expression through writing, art, drama etc
· Choose a form of physical exercise to release pent-up anger
· Talk about your anger with a friend or therapist
Angela’s Words of Wisdom - Case Study
‘‘I spent most of my life trying to make my mother happy, so afraid was I of her angry outbursts, I became ultra-sensitive to her mood and could almost feel her anger brewing up. I never expressed my own anger; to me it seemed destructive, I was scared of its power. Now, after my mother’s passing, my anger has well and truly come out of hiding. I’m angry at her selfishness. Angry she never hugged me when I needed it. Angry she wouldn’t listen when I wanted support. Angry she couldn’t be there for me emotionally. I’m angry that for most of my life it never felt ok to be me. Most of all, I am angry she had never told me ‘I love you’. I never thought I’d get over the hurt of what my mother inflicted on me, but instead of continuing to carry my bitterness and anger towards her, I became a stronger person as a result of my experiences. My mother taught me everything I don’t want to be.’’
We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in the world, the company of those who have known suffering - Helen Keller