Older people may wrongly regard anger as a sin

There are also involuntary situations that provoke healthy anger, which is, for example, one of the most important feelings in the grief process. It is more likely that older people suffer bereavement and these are the very ones who may regard anger as sinful, especially if it is directed at God. I think we must give God more credit for recognising a feeling and seeing it as such. In the second year of grieving the death of my youngest child, Cathal, I applied for a job as Principal of a second level school. In the months preparing for the interview I pushed my grief away, compartmentalised it and did a successful interview. Later, as I happily drove home, my grief suddenly came crashing onto me and I was forced to park my car at the roadside. The anger I felt at God surged and almost overwhelmed me. It is probably true that the more religious we are, the angrier we become at God, feeling that he has failed to protect us or somehow betrayed us or treated us unfairly. After all, our perception is that God is almighty and has the power to divert tragedy from us.
I swore at God in the car that day for allowing my child to be taken from me and causing pain and chaos in my family. I remember catching the steering wheel and trying to wrench it from its moorings as I shouted at Him. Gary Chapman, a well-known relationship therapist, labels our anger at God as distorted because He has done us no wrong. God was not responsible for the death of my child. He would not have wished this misfortune on me or my family, but, we often project anger at other people, so God is no exception. If you are a believer and a religious person Chapman advises that you take your anger to God rather than being angry with Him. Sometimes we can pray in our rage and I believe that prayers are always answered, although it sometimes takes a long time, perhaps many years. I also believe that God works through people so I am never waiting for miracles. In a way I believe that it is a miracle when a person with toxic or core rage faces it and seeks help to heal.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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