Is Your Anger a Sign of Grief?

Sometimes if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it may not be a duck. In the case of anger sometimes the appearance of aggression and hostility may not be anger. In fact, it may be a sign of profound grief and loss. In working with the angry I have noticed that a little investigation reveals that their anger is rooted in some trauma or loss of some kind. This feeling of loss promotes the following:


  1. A hypersensitivity that leads to misinterpreting the actions of others as disingenuous or hostile
  2. Fear of losing more in life which lead the individual to keep relationships superficial and reject the relationship at the first sign that they could be hurt.
  3. Isolation from others which may present as hostility or paranoia
  4. Overreaction (anger or aggression) to life events
  5. Overly critical and self-doubt
  6. Assigning blame for loss to self
  7. A general angry disposition that can be traced back to some major life loss or trauma

Chronic anger is almost always a mask for other emotions therefore it is very important that one recognizes that feelings of anger may be a sign of grief or loss. If this is the case, psychotherapy may be in order to address the grief issues which would likely over time resolve problems with anger.

Carlos Todd,PhD

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