Taking the sting out of rage
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
10th January, 20120 Comments
A stranger seeing today’s media with stories of road rage, air rage, office rage and even trolley rage might justifiably think that society was out of control. In something like road rage we might see aggressive driving or shouting and screaming at the other driver. Because of the nature of being out of control there is a huge risk of accident, injury and even death. Unfortunately most drivers on today’s roads have experienced or witnessed road rage.
What is rage?
We all get angry at times, perhaps we even shout and swear, but rage is a step further, often described as the point where an individual snaps. Often this is an impulsive act being the final straw. They become incoherent with anger. They will act without thinking, will want to strike out physically or verbally and they will be out of control emotionally, and sometimes physically.
Afterwards the person is often ashamed of their behaviour, they feel guilty both for what they did and the effect on others. They often have a mess to clear up and if it is a regular occurrence they may find that others avoid or even stay away from them.
So what drives rage?
There is no single cause for rage; however, often it is about how we manage anger. During their lives everyone will become angry. How that emotion is handled and expressed is key both to anger management and prevention of rage. If you suffer from anger issues perhaps when you were growing up you did not have a good role model, perhaps anger was always bottled up in your family or perhaps you were punished as a child for showing anger.
Do you feel that you have to maintain your silence no matter what or that anger is the only way that people will take your views seriously. It can feel that anger and even rage is the only way that you can exercise control in your world. Its kill or be killed, and often others can’t see that.
What are the triggers for rage?
Understanding your particular triggers can be hard. In part because at the very moment you want to be able to look at your feelings is the moment you are emotionally out of control. Many people feel that they have an explosive personality and there is nothing to be done. Others feel that it is like a spark that ignites it when they are ignored or there is inequality which affects them or even that anything other than anger is futile. Understanding those triggers though can be the first step to a solution.
- Controlling anger and rage
If you feel that your anger is controlling you then perhaps you feel that you should do something about it. People often come to this conclusion when they realise the effect that it is having on their lives and the lives of those around them.
There are simple steps you can take
- Early on as you feel the anger rising, breathe deeply from your diaphragm count your breath in counting to 4 hold for 2 then out for 5.
- Slowly repeat a word or a short phrase to yourself “let it go”, “relax” or “calm”
- Can you plan ahead to avoid your triggers?
People have also found relaxation or meditation in their lives to calm the overall level of their anger. Spend some times thinking about the person you are when you are angry. Think how you could change that.
It is also good to get help and support either from those around you or from a professional in this area. You can like so many others beat this – Good luck.
Related articles from our experts
- Anger - expressing and dealing with it wisely
Heather Shipley, CBT and Emotional Therapeutic Counsellor DipFETC MFETC MNCS11th June, 2017
- 10 things you should really know about anger
Matt Fox - Psychosynthesis Counsellor MBACP (Accred)10th June, 2017
- Empathy: The antidote to shame
Zara Eadie MSc, BSc (Hons), MBACP, Dip Integrative Counselling, Guildford23rd May, 2017
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