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human emotions
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grieving process
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The Role Of Anger During Grief
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Numerous life changing events can cause grief and appear to be insurmountable. This phenomenon is one of the fundamental commonalities shared between all cultures and generations. All people experience the loss of someone or something that they love at some point in their lives. This loss could also be from a diagnoses of a terminal or chronic illness, drug addiction, disasters, tragedies and many other catastrophic personal life events.

There are several models that attempt to explain each stage that one may experience while facing such a life event. One of the world’s foremost leading experts on the topic of grief, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, created one of the most widely used models used today. This psychiatrist called it the Kubler-Ross model and it consists of five stages. However, it is widely agreed upon that the five stages are not always experienced in a particular order and that each person will express them differently. It is also believed that some of the stages may not be felt at all, or that it is possible to cycle through the stages more than once.

One of these stages is the concept of anger, which is also a basic human emotion. One of the worlds leading experts on emotion, Robert Plutchik, postulated that there are eight basic primary human emotions. Interestingly, this psychologist also believes that anger is an integral part of the fight or flight response and a protective mechanism. One could hypothesize that anger could be fundamentally important during the grieving process, to protect oneself or a loved on from impending loss.

Anger could be experienced in many ways within the grieving process. An individual may be angry with a person who they are loosing, themselves, or could be angry in a more spiritual sense. They may wonder why this is happening to them and what they have done to deserve this loss. During this process, they may take out frustration on family members or be overcome with a deep sense of resentment. Anger can be a very damaging emotion, which can destroy relationships vital for overcoming loss. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has shown to be effective in some instances, for those experiencing grief and loss.

The five stages of grief are experienced differently for each person and may be unique to each culture. As unique individuals, we all bring our own experiences and there is no way to quantify complex human emotion. Anger is one of the stages within the Kubler-Ross model and it may even serve as a protective mechanism against loss. Anger is also an unpleasant emotion, which can have significant repercussions within ones life. One can work through this emotion possibly by using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or by receiving support from loved ones. With the goal of moving past the anger into acceptance of the future.

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