Harvard Mental Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Surprised by anger

Q. I always knew I'd feel sad when my father died, but I wasn't expecting to feel so angry. I snap at everyone. What's wrong with me?

A. It may give you some comfort to know that anger is one of the most common emotions people feel while grieving.

This anger often gets misdirected. That may be what is happening to you when you are overreacting to, or snapping at, the people around you. Here's a familiar pattern to consider — people who are angry at the deceased often feel guilty about it. You may find it helpful to acknowledge the real, human feelings, positive and negative, about the person you lost.

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