Is the anger over the way your loved one was treated by the medical community eating you up? Or, are you angry at those who should have helped you in the last days of your loved one’s life, but were nowhere to be found? How can you reduce the intensity of your anger and then let it go? There are many possibilities that have worked for others, and they can work for you.

Mourners can be angry at the funeral director, friends or neighbors, the clergy, the deceased, God, and even the self. Rightous anger is fully justified for a time. And, it may be part of a complex web of previous experiences in life. In any event, it must be dealt with head-on because of its eventual destructive effects.

Be aware that your anger could be camouflaged in sarcasm, intolerance, jealousy, withdrawal, or fear. Examine your behavior carefully for these telltale signs. Here are several approaches to consider in changing your inner turmoil.

1. Ask yourself why you are holding on to it so tightly. If you let go of it, is there anything you will lose or have to give up? Are you using anger as a way to cover up fear? Is it directed at or due to the excessive dependency you had on the deceased—and that’s why it is difficult for you to talk about it? It is not unusual to be angry at the deceased. Do you feel deserted or abandoned?

2. Don’t suppress anger; it will damage you for as long as you harbor it. Tell someone you trust about it. Choosing to keep it within is not only physically damaging, but it is also emotionally isolating. Finding a suitable way to gradually release its energy should be a primary objective. Talking about it is a beginning. Suppression can do nothing but build your inner rage.

3. Don’t feed your anger. There is one surefire way to keep anger burning and taking its deadly toll: keep playing it over and over again in your mind and keep repeating the worst of the causes to yourself. Distract yourself. Change your angry self-talk by substituting an image where you have felt connected and loved.

4. Remember that anger is a normal human response. You are not unusual nor should you feel you are a bad person in any way if you are angry. So don’t put yourself down. Nonetheless, remember that anger never hurts the other person; it only hurts you, if you hang on to it.

5. Place yourself in the shoes of the person who is the focus of your anger. This is especially important because often you can then find a reason to forgive. For example, realizing human weakness and reasoning as to why certain things were said or done, can be useful. Accept the fact that we are all imperfect.

You could be angry at your own lack of control over the situation (there is so much we can’t control) and your dependency on the person who died. Thus it may mean forgiving yourself. Also, there could be more than one cause and you need to address each. In the final analysis, you and /or the person you are angry at are not your anger. You are, like all of us, normal human beings who have moments of weakness.

6. Talk to your Higher Power about what you are feeling. In your belief system you can be sure that your Higher Power can fully understand and your faith can lead you to doing the right thing to ease your feelings. Meditate on whether you have any responsibility for the cause of your anger. If you are dealing with normal reactive depression, forgiveness is often a key to dissipating this isolating emotion.

7. Create the intention of working out your anger. Some form of appropriate expression will be helpful. One universal mode is exercise, the true fountain of youth. Choose a form you like with the intent of reducing the intensity of feelings. Say to yourself, “Release, I want to slowly release these feelings so I don’t pay a heavy physical and emotional price.” Look at your anger as a form of energy to use in building something good. It may help to write about it, then burn the notes, throw, or let go of the anger in some symbolic way.

8. Make forgiveness a goal. The wisdom of almost any tradition you study says this about anger: in the final analysis, the person who is angry always suffers more than the object of anger. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself as you break out of a self-made prison. It demands courage and more than saying “I forgive” because it takes much longer for that statement to ring true in your heart.

In summary, keep the focus on self-care and what letting go of anger will do for you and those you associate with. Moving past it is a choice that will bring peace of mind and emotional freedom. Make every effort not to see yourself as a victim which will hurt even more and isolate. You can deal with your anger by finding the right person to companion you through it. And, don’t hesitate to seek a professional, to help you sort it out.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. LaGrand is a grief counselor and the author of eight books, the most recent, the popular Love Lives On: Learning from the Extraordinary Encounters of the Bereaved. He is known world-wide for his research on the Extraordinary Experiences of the bereaved (after-death communication phenomena) and is one of the founders of Hospice of the St. Lawrence Valley, Inc. His free monthly ezine website is