Few people really have a concept of anger. Most people when they talk about anger are really talking about rage. When they creatively avoid anger, essentially it is not anger they are steering themselves away from, it is the fear of their rage.
When people see and understand anger they begin to envision the value and benefits of cultivating a relationship with anger, so that it is allowed to have an active, healthy role in their life. Ironically, it is when people don’t have a healthy relationship with anger that they are more likely to act out their rage.
Anger is not rage, though anger can become rage.
Rage is what anger turns into when anger hasn’t known full, clear expression. Rage is anger that has congested over time.
It is like the company who stores the waste from the coal mine behind the mining village. Throughout the years, the company, against all advice, continues accumulating the waste until eventually a hill of significant size sits behind the town. Over the years, the hill becomes a mountain. One night, there is a storm of an intensity and ferocity the like of which the town has never seen before. The inevitable happens. The sludge and waste from the mountain slides down towards the village in a huge landslide. The village is buried by the landslide. Many of the villagers don’t survive. Those who did were physically hurt in some way by the landslide. All survivors were affected emotionally from the trauma, either through the loss of friends, neighbours and loved-ones, or from the shock of it all.
Non-expressed anger, over time, accumulates into rage.
At some point, rage topples over. When rage starts to move of its own accord there is potential for somebody, somewhere to get hurt.
As children most of us have been witness to people in positions of authority venting rage though these people might have claimed to be angry. Sometimes rage will have been directed towards us.
Today, there are more books than ever before on how to manage rage and anger, almost every community offers groups and workshops on anger management skills. Parents have more opportunity to become educated about anger and how to express it to avoid it accumulating into rage and to present a healthier form of anger to their children.
However, the baby-boomer generation and generations before them were exposed to parents and people in authority devoid of any meaningful education or understanding of anger, let alone the difference between anger and rage. Most from those generations were witness to people in positions of authority, struggling to keep their rage (not anger) under control, and often losing control of it. Many still suffer from the emotional and physical damage from those times.
Today, it seems that rage has become part of our culture. We can turn on the television and surf a few channels and see rage in full bloom on our screens: people punching and kicking each other in rage, shooting guns at one another in rage, pictures of street violence and enraged crowds on our newscasts, people chasing each other around a stage on network talk shows in fits of rage. Rage seems to be everywhere these days.
Whether we suffered from the spillage from rage growing up, or whether we are scared of it from what we see in our media, it is easy to be petrified of rage. If we are confused by terms, and misinterpret rage as being anger, it is easy to see why people find an excuse to avoid getting angry at all costs.
As many fail to realize, in making the commitment to avoid anger at all costs they have unknowingly committed themselves to the growth of their rage.
In next week’s book blog excerpt, learn why congested anger leads to lethargy and lack of motivation.
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