When I was going through my losses, I felt a lot of anger towards some of my friends and members of my family.
I remember telling a friend about how I was feeling just a couple of weeks after my third miscarriage. I came to the end of sentence and she completely changed the subject and started talking about French fries. I went through 3 phases in my mind:
- confusion first: how did we go from my sharing, very tentatively and vulnerably, how I was feeling to what you feel like eating?
- And then next, hurt: she doesn’t want to hear about how I’m feeling.
- And lastly, anger: how could she be so insensitive and not try to support me?
I replayed the movie of that day a number of times over in my head and I relived the same 3 phases of emotion each and every time.
Do you know what else? I could never get past the third phase. I ended on anger. I hated that feeling, but I was stuck there. I couldn’t get past it.
Over time, I stopped replaying the movie and it faded into the background. But I knew that whenever I saw that particular friend, this niggling emotion in the back of mind would remind me that I hadn’t healed that anger yet.
It was much later when I figured out how to release it.
In order to release my anger and stop the cycle of venting, I had to do two things:
1. I had to dig into why exactly I was feeling angry by my friend’s response. It felt like she didn’t want to hear about my feelings. It made me feel slighted. She was on her fourth pregnancy at the time so I felt left out. Like she was on the other side of what I wanted. It made me feel like she was part of a club that I wasn’t allowed into. It made me feel like she had worth, she was a mom, and I was worthless. Once I identified that my anger centered on this feeling of a lack of worth, I was able to work on releasing that.
2. I had to dig into why my friend would avoid talking about it with me. On the surface, we take that as insensitivity. But deep down, she didn’t want to hear about my grief because it’s hard to watch your friend feel pain. She would have to feel my pain too by listening to me. Remember she was pregnant. She didn’t want to think about the possibility that she could easily have to go through the same thing herself. She was subconsciously protecting herself. Our brains hard-wired to do that. To avoid pain at all cost, emotional or physical.
If you’ve had a miscarriage, or have experienced infertility, you likely have someone you are angry at. Someone who said something seemingly insensitive. I invite you to get your journal out. Write about what exactly the person said that touched a nerve in you. How did it really make you feel? And imagine why she may have said it. Where was she coming from?
Go ahead and vent if you need to, but don’t stop there or you’ll stay stuck in anger. I promise you, when you begin using your journal as a tool to identify why you might be angry and why someone may have said something to you (or not said something), you’ll actually let go of that anger. And that feels truly liberating.