day 7: anger and grief in transition

This post is day 7. New to the series? Start here. And if you want hundreds of other great 31 Days topics, you can find them here.

Grief and loss over time give way to a stronger emotion: Anger. I want to give a disclaimer here, I am no counselor or psychologist, so I am writing here more out of my experience rather than anything else. I can see very clearly with every one of my moves weeks and months where anger was easily and quickly triggered by the most random of things.

After we moved to Sweden, we tried to find a large rubbish bin, and couldn’t. We ended up with a small rectangular box under our sink. I had an eight-week-old baby and a two-year-old in diapers, we probably filled that bin once a day if not more in the first months. Having to throw out the trash regularly made me angry, not every now and then, but very, very frequently. It wasn’t about the rubbish necessarily, it was about being in a new place where I couldn’t figure out a solution to a problem that would have been easily solved in a country where I was more familiar with stores.

Moving to a new country or place is a study in being out of control, and this can and will often lead to strong feelings of anger.

For me the anger was directed toward my husband and kids, and this manifested itself in different ways, very regularly in careless, angry words and other times in worse behaviors. I don’t have a lot of advice on how to deal with this, believe me I’m still dealing with this in our current move. Here are a few things I try to practice that help.

Expect it. As crazy as this sounds, when a move is on the horizon, it helps me to expect to be angry about little things and big things. I have to expect it so that I create some margins and help structures in my life.

Time to myself. I need it every day to recharge, to journal my feelings out, to pray and ask God for strength, and to speak words of truth over myself.

Ask for help. If I can tell that I am getting angry with the kids, I try to tell Husband, so he knows and can pray for me, and can give me some time away from the kids in the evening or weekend. I try to get a babysitter.

Ask for forgiveness. There have been months when I’ve asked one of my kids for forgiveness almost daily because of mistakes I’ve made, and I’m not talking about just saying, Sorry. It’s, Mommy is sorry for _______ and the way it made you feel disrespected, sad, ______. I can see that this hurt you deeply, and I am so sorry about this. Please will you forgive me? As painful as it is to make the mistakes, to say these words, to look into the eyes of people I love whose trust I have broken, the practice of asking my husband and children for forgiveness is also deeply humbling and renewing. It keeps – I hope – our hearts connected to each other, when anger tries to separate us. I also ask God for forgiveness, and often I do this on the spot in front of my children.

See a counselor. In a season when I was more seriously concerned about the consequences of my anger, I started seeing a counselor who helped me face some of the pain in my own life that was leading to the mistakes I was making. There are no easy fixes for the anger and its consequences, but professional help with someone who is qualified can be a good place to start especially if you think that you can no longer manage your own self, and if the people around you express the same concerns.

Now it’s your turn: What tips do you have for dealing with anger?

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2 thoughts on “day 7: anger and grief in transition”

  1. You make such a valid point: “being out of control…can and will often lead to strong feelings of anger.” Once we realize that, we can move forward to dealing more properly with our anger. I definitely don’t like that feeling of being out of control. But acceptance of the situation usually brings a measure of peace, even if it’s still not a situation that I like. Thanks for this!


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