Why Rage Thrives on Gossip


I recall a friend of mine whose mother was known to hold a lot of anger, none of which was ever expressed directly. Instead, her anger would be indirectly expressed in the form of sneak-attacks.

This woman’s husband had died some years after her daughter was born. The daughter’s features resembled her father. We used to wonder if this resemblance was the reason why the daughter was subject to the sneak-rage attacks from her mother.

One evening the daughter, who I will call Beverly, had taken a lot of time and trouble to dress up for an evening out with a group of family and friends. When she came down, those of us in the party who were waiting for her and others to arrive commented on how lovely she looked. The comments clearly pleased her. The mother, sitting nearby in an armchair decided to offer her unasked for opinion: “Well in my opinion, what you have chosen to wear makes you look completely dull,” she said.


We, as friends, were used to seeing Beverly’s descent into hurt and disappointment whenever she was on the receiving end of these unexpected sneak-attacks, which occurred whenever the mother’s unresolved rage – probably due to her past loss of her husband – leaked out onto her daughter.

You have suffered rage leakage when someone says something to you or about you that was without justification. Gossiping about someone to others in derogatory ways is another example of this.

Rage is rarely direct. Rage will seek out ways to indirectly express itself. Even when someone is raging towards another it is not a direct expression of anger.

Rage is invariably the composite expression of past unresolved anger that emerges in the direction of another person, event, or situation.


Rage is a pack animal. Just as dogs and wolves like to hunt in packs, rage enjoys a pack hunt, which is why rage thrives on gossip. Having others to whom rage can confide its “justified” discontent, where others can hear out rage and nod their heads in “justified” agreement and contribute their own rage, is a forum rage particularly values.

Any forum consciously or unconsciously designed for less directed forms of rage expression qualifies as passive-aggressive rage:

Making excessive noise, where the noise is indirectly meant to annoy or hurt another, such as the slamming of doors  or the playing of loud music with the intent to annoy.

Refusing to participate in something or with someone, knowing within this refusal will be hurtful to them.

Not turning up for dates or pre-arranged appointments on time.

These are all examples of passive-aggressive rage.


In my teenage years when I used to secretly smoke cigarettes, I did everything I could to avoid being found-out. But looking back, I can see there was another part of me who wanted my parents to catch me smoking. I wanted them to be hurt and shocked by their son’s errant behaviour. I wanted to get them back.

There is always an underlying sense of revenge beneath rage, although the person behind such behaviours will rarely admit to the desire for revenge. It is rare to find someone who indulges in rage behaviours to admit to even having any rage at all.

People who are rageful, meaning they are prone to acts of rage whether actively so or passively-aggressive, will rarely recognize they carry rage. It is considered a breakthrough when they admit to having rage. When someone is willing to admit and therefore own their rage they have taken the preliminary steps to recognizing the revenge quality that is behind all acts of rage leakage.

Finally, rage is like an entity unto itself. Once rage has a footing in the emotional system it becomes a life unto its own making.

Every life form wants to survive and to propagate. As a non-organic life form, rage is no different. Rage will seek out conditions to live and to grow.


Rage will steer someone to the “right” relationship, the one that will justify its outbursts, the ones where there is enough of a victim on the part of the partner not to want to desert the enraged person, the ones that have enough discontent and justification to nurture a dose of rage from time to time.

Rage will obsessively watch the news programs or television broadcasts that provide him with the material or the excuses to vent his rage on certain personalities or political leaders.

Rage may make sure life never works out the way you want it to, so that rage always has something to gripe about.

It is as if rage were a shareholder in your life who owns a certain percentage of your life’s investment; it will always have an influence on the direction you take life so that its needs can be met, so it will continue to live and prosper.

Please click on the links below to read more on anger and rage:

Anger Versus Rage: The Essential Difference

When Anger Becomes Rage

How to Tell If You Are Holding Too Much Anger. 

Creative Ways to Stifle Healthy Anger.

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4 thoughts on “Why Rage Thrives on Gossip

  1. Hi Pietro
    It is a bit embarrassing to acknowledge the role that gossip has played out in my life and that it is connected to anger and rage. Who knew ? I am hopeful this new awareness of gossiping will reduce if not eliminate it’s presence in my choices of respond to various life situations.

    It is this kind of insight that ARC has created for me in bringing more consciousness of my emotional organization. I am so grateful to be better able to more often accept responsibility for my actions, thoughts and words rather than project my feelings on to others. It has been exciting for me to have the ability to question myself ( my parts) about whatever has triggered me in uncomfortable situations. “Why am I gossiping about… ?” can be a helpful new question to ask myself now.

    The process of checking in and dialoguing with myself about my triggers ( sometimes in retrospect, at times in the moment and hopefully before things unfold) is so helpful. Being more tolerant, kind, forgiving and accepting of myself and my behaviours because of better understanding of myself through insights such as these, has resulted in more harmony within as well as improved the quality of my other relationships.

    Understanding anger, rage and the role of gossip in my life is one more piece of the puzzle of creating an authentic self for myself.

    Thank you for this incredibly helpful and insightful article Pietro.

  2. Enjoyed this little blog, make so much sense. We’ve been hurt at times and often do not know what we have done wrong. In reflection, it was some one else’s pain having been dumped on us. Unfortunately, we were too young to understand, but learned how to pass that pain on. We are all created perfect and whole. To understand that is one hard concept, when we keep beating our own selves up. Each door opens to a new better understanding. We can’t even seem to see it at first. Some doors take a long to time to understand what entrance we just went through, yet upon reflection, all knowledge comes.

  3. Wow! All things considered! I am truly grateful as I reflect on this blog for the “insightful teachings” of The ARC model for healing! ! The rage foothold in my emotional system was well established at an early age. Ultimately, I knew at that very early age that i did not want to participate or ever resort to the “violent” rages and other harmful emotional behaviours of the adults in my life. And, I also decided early on I would learn how to become someone who did not behave in such a way. And, despite years of study in the field of psychology and alternative fields of practise I still have had lots to learn from you Pietro! And, so Humungous compliments to you Pietro….Your ARC model is a blend of wise psychology connected to a kind of spiritualism, that simply works for this long time searching soul!

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