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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anger-a normal yet trying stage of grief

When my daughter had an anger fit, I had her read up on anger management.  It was a good article and you can find it here.  It got me thinking again about grief after a traumatic birth and the role anger plays in that.  Anger is also a normal feeling to have after something traumatic has happened.  What I often tell my kids, though, is that anger is an emotion that can tell us that something is wrong that we need to deal with.  We need to figure out what that something is and work on dealing with it, or anger can quickly get out of control and become destructive.

Part of the problem with anger, is that we often become overcome by the emotion without really dealing with what is causing the emotion.  Often our anger becomes misdirected to someone or something that really does not have anything to do with why we are angry in the first place.  Often times we become angry because we have been hurt.  Instead of dealing with what hurt us, our focus then shifts to hurting or making others feel pain also.  The trick comes with acknowledging the emotion and that something bad happened, and then focusing on figuring out what is really hurting you and moving on from there.

Here is a list of reasons we may feel anger:

We feel we have been treated unfairly.
We want to get our own way.
We misunderstand.

The good thing is that we can learn to control how we deal with our anger.

One way is by talking about why we are angry with the person we are angry at in a way that is non confrontational.  I have seen some women write letters or discuss with physicians their reasons for feeling hurt.  This appears to have helped them, even if the physician disagrees.  Many care providers have no clue that they have offended someone by their behaviors or that what they have done has caused such grief.  By talking to them, you can help them understand that there may be something that they need to change.

Waiting to take any action may also be appropriate until emotions have cooled.  At least give yourself sometime to think through your emotions and what is causing them before you make accusations or discuss difficulties with others.

Activity can be a good way of working off anger and also being productive.  I have found many women work through their anger by giving to other woman and providing information and help for their labors.  Turning your anger into something more productive is always a good idea.

Being able to forgive is a key idea also.  This can be very hard to do.  The way I teach my kids about this, is by telling them that by staying angry, you are hurting no one but yourself.  The person that hurt you is not getting hurt, and anger just serves to bring us stress and resentment.  By forgiving, we are not saying that what happened is ok.  We are saying that we are no longer going to allow a certain person or situation harm us any longer.

Anger really is a normal emotion to feel during a traumatic event, but it needs to be dealt with and passed on.  Give yourself time to do this.  Don't feel bad if it is hard to move on, or that it is hard to forgive.  These things are always hard.  The important thing is that you remember that anger is an indication that something is wrong and as long as you are working on dealing with it, you are headed in the right direction.


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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.