Dealing with anger.

by Emily Hodge, 4th December 2020

Hi Emily, I want to talk to you about anger. Honestly since lockdown the pressure has been piling on with work and has put pressure on my relationship with my boyfriend. My dad died a couple of years ago and I still really miss him. It’s getting to the point now that even the small things make me want to flip my lid. But then I feel so sad and embarrassed that I even feel this way. I think something is wrong with me, please help!

Something might be wrong with you but only in a very normal sense. Take at face value what you’ve mentioned - we’ve spent much of the year in a very different way to what we could imagine, you’re having issues with your partner and you’re possibly dealing with grief from the loss of your dad. By all accounts, you’re having a normal reaction to difficult things around you. 

But let’s look at anger itself - anger is misconstrued as a bad emotion when actually it's just another one along the spectrum. Where it poses a problem is when we have to repress it or we're told it's not OK to be angry, so we continue to not process it and think it's wrong. I'm not saying you should flip your lid any time you want, but finding a more appropriate route to release difficult feelings is really healthy and encouraged. 

Anger may also be misplaced grief or even part of the grieving process. Do you feel you had time to grieve your dad dying when it happened? That question is slightly pointless though - grief isn’t linear, and even if we feel we dealt with it well early on, there's no saying feelings of loss, sadness, and even anger, won’t develop later. 

I advise finding an accredited grief counsellor and following a few grief related accounts and podcasts to help you understand more about your loss. These can be supportive communities to hear others’ experiences too.

I also advise talking to your partner about this, in the hope that you both understand how much pressure you’re likely to be under. Together you could come up with ways that you can help each other and potentially find a way to manage your work pressure too. You may feel is unnecessary but potentially taking a leave of absence from work, in order to act on all of the above with less stress, could be helpful too. 

Finally, don’t forget to enjoy life even though it feels complicated right now - what can you still do, what did you love doing with your dad that would make you happy to re-enact when you can, and what would you love to be saying next year is like? Thinking forwards can be a positive step to release old emotions, like anger.

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