Too often grief manifests as anger toward the deceased. I haven’t really been angry at John for leaving me or for some of the shitty things he did while alive, because I understand why he did what he did.
Every now and then it does flare up, though. Dammit, Johnny, why didn’t you fix that? Dammit, Johnny, why didn’t you just TELL me what was going on?
But those flashes don’t last for more than a few seconds. He really was trying… he had a very physically demanding 60-hour a week job at a time when his body was falling apart; he also put another 20 hours a week into our antique shop.
I was working more, and had over the years, but I’d always been physically and emotionally healthier than he was.
So the anger flares suddenly, and just as quickly extinguishes.
For those times when it doesn’t, here are some ideas.
Mitchell was furious after leaving the front office. A student reported this anger outburst with her mother to administration. Upon finding her in the hallway, he unleashed on the student calling her stupid and belittling her. When she tried to get away, he abused his authority to keep her present and continued his harassment for several minutes.
Samantha was sick and tired of other people taking advantage of her. She gave up an entire weekend to complete a work project thinking it would advance her career but instead, her boss took all of the credit and did not even mention Samantha’s contribution. While driving home, a car cut her off on the freeway. That was the last straw. She tailed the driver and bumped the car nearly causing an accident.
Frustrated over a series of medical bills that never seem to go away, Bailey started drinking vodka to relieve the stress and reengage with the kids. In the beginning one shot would do the trick, now three shots were barely enough. When Bailey’s son begged for yet another light saber, she lost it and yelled about her son for being ungrateful for the things he had.
There are far better ways to handle anger other than to explode on others. Here are 19 other alternatives.
- Find a happy place. Imagine being in a calm peaceful place such as the beach, mountains, meadow or desert. Add the unique sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of the environment.
- Stretch it out. Anger tenses up muscles. Counteract this with simple stretches designed to release the tension. The yoga child’s pose is excellent for a whole body release.
- Drink a Frappuccino. Drinking something cold very quickly forces the body to focus on warming up instead of the intense emotion.
- Blow up a balloon. Imagine taking all of the anger and blowing up a balloon the size of a house. Then give the balloon a kick and send it to the heavens.
- Do 10 jumping jacks. This gives a quick shot of adrenaline which can lessen the intensity of anger. It might take more than 10 jumping jacks to do the trick.
- Yell alone. Find a place that is secluded and imagine yelling at the person or situation that caused the anger. There are no rules or limits when no one is around.
- Silent scream. With mouth wide open, pretend to be screaming as loud as possible. This eases up tension in the jaw area.
- Write it out. Take anger out on paper and write a letter or blog post. Be careful not to share anything written in anger however.
- Tear it apart. Ask, “Where is this anger coming from?” It is almost never about the current moment but rather about something that happened in the past.
- Take a timeout. Do a self-imposed timeout away from others for at least 15 minutes. This quick break can make the difference between losing or keeping a relationship.
- Count backwards. Start with 100 and count backwards. Even when it becomes difficult to remember the next number, return back quickly to counting.
- Take deep breaths. Breathe in and out from the stomach instead of the chest. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 4, and breathe out for 4. Do this 3 more times.
- Look outside. Nature is the great reset button of the senses. Be intentional about looking at something specific like a flower or tree and focus on it for a few minutes.
- Listen to music. Classical music or non-lyrical music is a great counterbalance to anger. This allows the thoughts to still flow but at a much slower and calmer pace.
- Make an angry list. Make a list of all the people or incidents that cause anger. Do it in bullet point format to better evaluate the list later.
- Cry it out. Crying is an excellent way to release anger. It is far safer than yelling and can release other emotions such as sadness, anxiety, stress, and annoyance as well.
- Laugh it off. Distract the anger with something humorous. Laughter is medicine for the soul and can elevate stress.
- Harness the energy. Turn the anger into doing a task that needs to be done. Use the energy generated by the anger to be productive.
- Relax and keep calm. Be the master of anger rather than anger being the master of you. No one can make another person angry unless they allow it to happen.
These 19 methods are great alternatives for releasing anger other than exploding onto others. The next time anger surfaces, experiment with one strategy at a time until 2-3 different effective approaches are correctly utilized.
For more information about The Grief Warrior Project – soon to be a drop-in and counseling center for those affected by suicide and/or suicidal thoughts, please click on the picture or link, or go to https://warrior-project.org.
The Grief Warrior Project is in the process of becoming a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.
We are accepting blogs and articles written on topics relevant to suicide, hopelessness, grief, and similar topics. Please contact Linda at LSnyder@regroupbiz.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.
My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see. I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.
The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1. Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.
Fair winds and following seas, Husband.
We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground. You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/
Follow us on Twitter! @WarriorProjME.
We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.
The Warrior Project is NOT an emergency program or service.
In the event of a crisis, please call 911
In the United States, other numbers to call include:
Maine Crisis Hotline:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
Domestic Violence Hotline:
John and I owned both a small antiques shop and a used bookstore in Lewiston, Maine. After John died, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the two shops – they take up a huge amount of time, and weren’t yet covering their own costs. After John died in October of 2016, the shops were barely open during the critical holiday sales season; I couldn’t stand being in them because we had such dreams for the future.
But Johnny loved his little bookstore (Heritage Books, Maps & Ephemera) and the goal was that he would one day “retire” into running the two shops. So I’ve committed to keeping them open, although Heritage Collectibles is now Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps as I’ve combined those two businesses. However, they’ve been downsized considerably as I’ve reduced the floor space at 189 Main Street by half, and relocated inventory to other shops, to reduce my workload.
All of the profits from those two businesses (after expenses, of course!) will go to support The Warrior Project. If you are so inclined, please consider checking out our little store or buying from our booths at the shops listed below, knowing that your purchase will help fund this critically needed suicide prevention drop in center.
189B Main Street, Lewiston ME. (Entrance through the back of the building, off Park Street.)
As of Thanksgiving of 2017, Heritage Collectibles has closed its 189 Main Street storefront, and is in the process of moving most of the antique & furniture inventory to other shops (see below). We are keeping what had previously been the furniture gallery section of the shop, however and will use that to house Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps…. it will primarily offer books, maps, records & ephemera. We’d love it if you would follow our blogs! (Our Heritage Books & Maps blog isn’t presently as active as the Heritage Collectibles one.)
https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com & https://heritagebooksandmaps.com
This will also be the location of The Grief Warrior support groups and eventual drop in center.
Our other locations:
Oxford – The Undercover Antique Mall, 960 Main Street. (207) 539-4149.
We have some great, less expensive inventory for you to check out at the Undercover Antique Mall, seven days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm! We’re in booth #56.
Scarborough – The Southern Maine Indoor Flea Market, 578 U S Route 1. (207) 229-4263. Looking for cookbooks and kitchen-related items? Check out our small space (#99) at the Southern Maine Indoor Flea Market, seven days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm!
Waterville – Hathaway Mill Antique Mall, 10 Water St. (207) 877-0250
We now have a space (Booth #23) in the brand spanking new Hathaway Mill Antique Mall! Here you’ll find only items produced in or before 1965.
Westbrook – The Den of Antiquities, 1399 Bridgton Rd. (207) 650-3007.
Just ask for us by name, or by booth 56! The Den of Antiquities is a wonderful antique shop with loads of great items, including our own! Please come check us out, Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.