In My Grief, I Exhibited "Ego Anger" And Now I See It In Another
When my wife died suddenly on her birthday in 2012 at the age of 59, I was traumatized and shocked and went into a state of grief that I still experience albeit not nearly as heavily. That being said, I perceive my past, deep grieving as a state of insanity where I temporarily lost my mind and experienced what I like to call "ego anger" among a number of emotional states including sadness, disbelief, resentment, confusion, etc. What is "ego anger" and why is it important to look at this, to deal with it as a part of gaining self-awareness rather than prolonged suffering from grief?
I found "ego anger" to be one of the aspects and emotions of grief which manifests itself in a myriad of ways through the human psyche that looks for ways to express its angst and cope with death of a loved one, thing or situation. I was able to see in the final analysis, that the ego cannot accept the concept of death and it shows its frustration and resentment through, among other emotions, anger. That anger can be expressed in many different ways depending on the person. In my case, my "ego anger" came out through yelling at creditors or customer service people on the phone who were trying to help me.
In retrospect, it was embarrassing that I treated people this way, to say the least. I realized that I was treating these people unfairly as they had nothing to do with my wife's death. Fortunately, I had the self-awareness to come to a place to fairly quickly stop doing that to people. I am so happy that I had the self-awareness to stop this bad behavior and now I am seeing a similar behavior in a close friend and the tragic thing I see about it is that there is nothing I can do about his "ego anger" because he continues to be angry and no matter what I say to console him, I am doing something wrong. I damned if I do and damned if I don't.
While one must go through grief to get to the other side of it, it is my experience that one must also allow trusted and beloved family and friends to offer their experiences of getting through this "ego anger" as a means of helping with one's own self-awareness. self-analysis and self-healing. That's why it's important to look at one's "ego anger" and use one's self-awareness to deal with it. In my experience, I was fortunate to have several friends and family members who were aware enough to help me assuage my "ego anger" through talks, books and just staying in touch with me or visiting me. In my friend's case, he continues to lambast and admonish me when I try to offer comfort, awareness and closeness that I have offered born of my own experiences with grief. He has perceived questions that I have asked or extraneous noises from using my cell phone as being "insensitive" and does not wish me to call him. Only email because he told me he is afraid of what I might say!
His wife died in November of 2021. It's not that long ago and I understand that he is still in the throes of deep grief. I cannot judge him or be angry back at him for his reaction to my queries. I understand. What is sad for me is that he will not understand that I am trying to assist his self-awareness and in this case, I realize that trying to do that is not going to work. He has to work out his "ego anger" for himself. There is nothing I can do for him. I just call and ask what he is up to on his voice mail every few months. By the way, I did offer to travel from Las Vegas to Brooklyn, NY to visit with him for a while and he refused. Maybe grief counseling would benefit him, I don't know.
We all have different levels of awareness and ways of dealing with difficult emotions and experiences so I will not and cannot fault him. What am I saying here?
I am saying that seeing this "ego anger" play out in a close friend who is unwilling to hear anything from me and my experience is an important lesson in our ability to have self-awareness and to use it to our advantage in healing ourselves during our life cycles. Imperative. I will not embroil myself in an ego battle with my friend. If he needs my help, he knows where to find me.
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