Are you someone who gets angry very easily...perhaps too easily? Do you fly off the handle at things that don’t seem to be that important. If so, you could just be a hothead, or most likely you could be struggling with grief and loss. The movie 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was a really good example of how people experience anger in reaction to grief and loss...and nothing else.
Everybody Experiences this Stuff
First of all, everybody has losses. No one gets out of this world without experiencing at least a couple of big losses in their lifetime. Secondly, you aren’t alone in feeling anger some or much of the time. One of the stages of the grieving process is anger. The only thing is that some folks get stuck in this stage or phase. That’s what happened to Frances McDormand’s and Sam Rockwell’s characters in the movie. They got angry and just never stopped being angry. For some folks anger is the only acceptable emotion to feel. Take soldiers for example. They may feel like anger is the only okay emotion to feel. There are good reasons for this: it helps them to survive and it keeps the enemy away. The only thing is that unless you’re in a war zone it isn’t usually acceptable or practical to be angry all the time.
Anger is Part of the Process, But it Isn’t the Process
What you need is to move through the grieving process, and unless you get some help and support your anger could get you stuck in the process and turn into depression. In any case, just staying in anger isn’t going to help you get through the process. Some people can stay angry for a very long time, but it takes its toll on mental health, relationships, and people’s physical health. Getting help from a trained professional in counseling can be the difference between working through your losses, and losing your own life in addition to the loss you’re suffering. And losses are a part of life, but they don’t require your own life to end because of them.
Where I Can Make a Difference
None of the characters in 3 Billboards got any grief counseling, but Frances McDormand’s and Sam Rockwell’s characters did go on a road trip at the end of the movie and suggest that there might be a common destination for the two of them. You and I can go on a journey of sorts to the end of the grieving process where acceptance and resolution are possible. It may not seem like that’s possible, but beyond your anger and other unpleasant emotions is a place of healing that I can help make possible. I’ve worked with dozens of individuals that have had losses not too different from yours. I can assure you that if they can get through these losses so can you. I encourage you to give me a call at 512-374-0100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how my years of experience can be brought to bear on your situation, too.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults of all ages in private practice.
Click here to learn more about how Scott can help you with grief.