Who was I mad at?

Anger is typical in early grief. It’s also typical when you have a loved one struggling with mental illness or addiction.

Around 2012, I was angry that Charles wouldn’t stop misusing drugs and alcohol. Then I was angry at the mental health system, God, and people who wouldn’t let me talk about him then. But once he died, I took my anger to a whole new level.

I wasn’t mad at just the system or God or some psychiatrist. Not at Charles or anyone in my family. For the record, it’s not unusual for family members to be angry at the loved one who killed himself. My older son was angry at Charles, but I wasn’t.

I was far too busy being mad at the world which took considerable emotional capital. It had to be the world because no single person was worthy of all the mad I had stored up.

A meltdown of unrelenting sadness and helplessness followed bursts of anger that had nowhere to land.

I couldn’t change the world, could I? But then that’s exactly what I tried to do. Fortunately, I am not doing it alone.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

2 thoughts on “Who was I mad at?”

  1. When I turned 21 (8/20/69), my brother called me and said he was coming to visit me in San Francisco, California in a few days to “paint the town red” with me. Then on 9/12/69 my sister called from Kentucky to say that my brother was dead. He actually took his own life on 9/10/69, but we were originally told he died 9/11/69, his nephew’s 4th birthday. It still hits me hard some days. It drove our father to a nervous breakdown, and he stayed in deep depression until he died at age 59, 8 years later. My father was never the same, and he was never close to me again.
    Wish I had someone like you to turn to when all this happened.

    1. I wasn’t there back then. But I am here with you now. I understand how painful and difficult this must have been and it had to make you feel helpless. Your own healing is important and by what you wrote you have actually taken the first step working through this. As a sibling, a forgotten griever, you may have delayed your own healing for the sake of your Dad. I am so sorry your father was never able to move forward. But you can. And telling yourself you can is the first step. We are never “over” it. But we learn to live with it. This is a good podcast on sibling grief. https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/46 Thank you so much for commenting. Your stories are appreciated here.

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