As with other relationships, Exline said that many people can feel angry at God, but still love God.
"The presence of positive feelings does not rule out the possibility of anger and vice versa," she said.
Anger toward God is generally fleeting. "For a lot of people, they'll have a flash of anger at God, and then their coping resources kick in," she said, but "if the anger is something they can't resolve, if they're having trouble coping or minimizing the anger and can't make sense out of what's going on, they may need to seek additional help."
And, that's especially important because Exline and her colleagues found that people who can't let go of their anger often have poorer mental and physical health than those who can.
"Anger at God can become a vicious cycle for some," said psychologist Simon Rego, director of the cognitive behavior therapy program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "You may think God has turned His back on you, then you feel guilty for feeling angry and that makes you feel more depressed, which then makes you more angry."
Rego pointed out that it's not unhealthy to feel some anger. "All emotions are there for a good reason," he said, but if the anger is very distressing to you or it starts to disrupt your normal life, it may be time to get help.
"When you stop doing what's important to you or you can't function, get some help," said Rego, adding that when you're angry at your spouse, you eventually let go of that anger and heal, which often makes the relationship stronger. If you were to stay angry indefinitely, it would have serious effects on your marriage.
"If you're angry with God and you stop going to church, you're letting your anger stop you from doing something that's been of value to you," he sa
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