The Anger Stage of Grief: What You Need to Know (With Coping Tips)

Last Update on February 23, 2024 : Published on February 24, 2024

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.” — Vicki Harrison

Grief holds many emotions — as the saying goes, it is sometimes calm and sometimes, overwhelming. Despite the tide of emotions grief brings, we all must experience it at some point in our lives. Among all, the emotions and feelings we hold when we grieve, the one that stands out is anger

While grief is generally linked with emotions such as sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness, anger is one of them that might be the underrated one. Losing a loved one is never easy, but it does come with thoughts about why it happened, followed by anger – at oneself, the world, the one you lost, or the situation that caused it all. 

Anger and grief might not be as closely related to each other, but they are intimately aware of one another. You can’t expect grief without a bit of anger. So, what is it about anger during grief? Why do we get angry when grieving? 

Let’s answer these questions (and more) in this article as we explore the second stage – the Anger Stage of Grief.

The Anger Stage of Grief 

We often see grief being described in stages – the five stages of grief – and anger is one of those stages. It’s a phase where feelings of frustration, resentment, and at times, rage dominate our emotions. This second stage of grief follows denial and can vary in intensity and duration. 

Grief is an emotional and personal experience, and there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to it. Alongside anger, it’s common for people to experience different emotions such as sadness, guilt, confusion, and even relief. These reactions to loss can come and go throughout the grieving process, sometimes even overlapping one another. 

During the anger stage, emotions are high. You may feel irritable, frustrated, and unfairly treated by life. There might also be a sense of injustice and resentment towards others – the people who survived the loss, the one you lost, or the world in general. 

Anger often comes with a barrel of unsettling thoughts. You might question why the loss happened however it did, or even blame yourself (or others) for the same. You might feel a sense of powerlessness or betrayal, wondering why it happened to you. 


Anger can manifest itself in different ways when you’re grieving. It might be in the form of anger outbursts, such as; 

  • Yelling or screaming
  • Blaming others – loved ones or strangers, or 
  • Internalizing resentment 

Anger can also come in physical forms, such as; 

  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Stomach issues, etc. 

Why Do We Get Angry During Grief?

Anger is a natural reaction to loss that stems from a deep sense of injustice and powerlessness that comes with grief. It can serve as a defense mechanism, protecting you from the pain of your emotions or providing a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation. Moreover, unresolved issues or unmet expectations related to the loss can only fuel your anger. 

While anger is a common reaction and even a part of the whole grieving process, it can negatively affect you, if left untreated. Prolonged anger can cause a strain in your relationships, make you isolate yourself from others, or worsen any existing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Suppressing or bottling up your anger can also cause harm to your overall well-being, resulting in physical health issues and frequent emotional breakdowns. 

Anger becomes a problem in the grieving process when it begins to interfere with your daily functioning or prevents you from processing your grief, naturally. If your anger causes you to self-isolate from your support network or impedes your ability to perform day-to-day tasks, then it could be an indication to seek help, professionally. 

Remember, there is no timeline for grief, including the anger stage of grief. Some people might move through the second stage of grief quickly, while others might take months or years to process anger and move toward the next stage in the grieving process. 

The intensity of anger can vary from person to person. For some, it could be nothing more than just a fleeting emotion that ebbs and flows, but for others, it can be too overwhelming and all-consuming. 

Coping With Anger During Grief 

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: 

Allow yourself to feel the full barrage of emotions, including anger. Let yourself feel angry without judging yourself for it. Recognize that anger is a natural part of the grieving process, and it’s OK to feel whatever you’re feeling. 

2. Express Your Feelings: 

Once you can get used to the idea that anger is normal, you can find healthy outlets to let out your anger. Healthy outlets to release anger can be good for your mind, heart, and body. You can talk to your loved ones, reach out to a counselor, journal your feelings, or engage in a physical activity. 

3. Be Self-Compassionate: 

Moreover, you need to be self-compassionate. Be kind to yourself when you’re grieving. It’s not easy to face the loss of a loved one, so remember to be kind with your words, even if they are directed at you. Grief is a unique and personal journey for everyone, so don’t forget to be self-compassionate. 

4. Seek Support: 

You are not alone in grieving. Learn to lean on your friends, family, or support groups for understanding and guidance. You can surround yourself with people who offer you encouragement and comfort to move forward with your life after the loss. 

5. Practice Healthy Coping: 

The anger stage of grief means you experience a whole barrel of emotions that can be described as complex. To cope with them, you can find healthy coping strategies such as deep breathing or mindfulness meditation. These exercises can help you manage your anger and reduce stress. 

6. Seek Professional Help: 

If you find it hard to move on from the anger stage of grief or if the anger, you’re experiencing becomes overwhelming and persistent, then you can consider professional help. Seeking professional support from a grief counselor or therapist can help you make sense of your emotions and know how to cope with them the right way. 

Wrap Up…

The anger stage of grief can be quite turbulent, but it’s also a natural part of the grieving and healing process. When you understand why anger occurs during grief, what it does, and how you can cope with it the right way, you can move on from this stage with a better mindset, resilience, and self-awareness. 

Healing takes time and patience, but remember, it’s OK to seek support and guidance from your loved ones or a counselor along the way. 

I hope this blog helped you understand what is the anger stage of grief, how it impacts your grieving process, and how to cope with the emotions. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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