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Coping with anger, guilt

Coping with anger, guilt

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:11 pm
By: By Don Harold Lawrence

One of the common reactions to grief is anger. “Why did this happen to me? Why this loss? Why did tragic circumstances cause the death of my loved one?” Anger associated with grief may focus on any number of things or people, such as a disease, physician, nurse, funeral director, clergy person, the person who died or God.   Guilt is another common reaction to grief. “If only I had been there when such-and-such happened, I could have prevented their death. If I had only known they were as sick as they really were. If only I had listened more closely and paid more attention.” If only….” We are wise to recognize these reactions, find a means of coping with them and resolving them, for if they are permitted to intensify and go unchecked, they can become chronic and lead to pathological grief. For example, unresolved feelings of anger and guilt can be precipitating factors in such problems as depression, arthritis, stomach ulcers, intestinal disorders, skin rashes, migraine headaches, hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and other physical and psychological ailments. Wisdom teaches us that negative emotions can make us sick. Implementing positive and therapeutic principals of grief therapy that have been tried and proven will enable us to cope with grief, adjust to it, recover from it and lead a normal, productive, well-balanced, harmonious and well-integrated life. Many who are suffering from a physical or emotional illness that has its origin in unresolved grief could be healed and set free with the implementation of the right kind of help and treatment. Sharing our feelings with a good listener, such as a trusted friend, physician, counselor or clergy person, in an atmosphere of mutual trust, love and confidentiality provides an opportunity for us to release pent-up guilt and anger, and this reduces internal pressure that accumulates in our minds and bodies. Reading an informative book that explains grief and how to cope with it can be very enlightening. A few helpful books on this subject are “You and Your Grief” and “Telling a Child About Death” by Edgar Jackson; “How to Go on Living When Your Loved One Has Died” by Therese A. Rando; “How to Cope With the Death of Someone You Love” by Earl A. Grollman; “Surviving Grief” by Catherine M. Sanders; and “Letting Go With Love” by Nancy O’Connor. Don Harold Lawrence is coordinator of SUNRISE, which is sponsored by Shackelford Corporation. He may be contacted by mail at 145 Abernathy Drive, Adamsville, TN 38310-3001 or by telephone or fax at (731) 632-4483. His Web address is www.shackelfordfuneraldirectors.com. Published in The Messenger 10.23.08

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