Part ll Are You Angry or in a Rage?

Updated: May 9, 2021

After writing the previous blog, "Why taking action creates success," which ended up being about anger. Anger is a feeling that I am familiar with and have dealt with my whole life but did not come out until I was an adult. It has been a gradual coming out; of my anger, which almost destroyed my relationship unless I did something about it.

I have been reading the book, Rage: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Explosive Anger by Ronald T. Potter-Efron, Ph.D. It is filled with information; I will be giving my input about what I have read so far.

First, I will start with defining rage and anger from Merriam-Webster, rage "violent and uncontrolled anger" and anger, "a strong feeling of displeasure." The big difference between rage and anger is that rage is more when someone gets violent while being rageful, such as throwing things, hitting a person, or punching a hole in a wall. As for anger is when someone is beyond frustration.

As for being angry, it is built-up from being frustrated to being angry but not rageful. If you need help with your anger, anger management skills can be helpful. There are different ways to get anger management skills. First, seek out a therapist and do individual therapy or seek a group for anger management.

I will go more into the different types of rages by referring to Dr. Potter-Efron's book mentioned above; he talks about six different kinds of rages. Before reading this book, I had only thought of rage as just being one type. Here is a list of six different types of rages; the first two are abrupt rages, the first one being the sudden rage, and the second one is seething rage.

Sudden rage is when it gets dangerous and scary for those around the person that is having the sudden rage. As Dr. Potter-Efron says in his book, the sudden rage is "unplanned." It seems like it comes out of nowhere, and suddenly the person is throwing things or threatening those around them. An example would be a violent domestic individual. Individuals in this type of situation can seek help by calling the police or contacting a local domestic shelter. From my professional experience working with couples in a violent domestic relationship, couples therapy does not work; this topic would be a whole new blog.

The second abrupt rage is seething rage, think of a fire pit with red hot amber seething under the coals, and then all of a sudden of someone puts a piece of paper on the seething amber, and it explodes into flames. Can you think of someone who suddenly goes into a rage with just one comment? This individual is seething over comments or actions someone has made, and then all of a sudden, they go into a rage.

The next four rages are when someone feels that they are being threatened: survival rage, impotent rage, shame-based rage, and abandonment rage.

The survival rage is when a situation threatens your survival, such as getting laid off from your job or feeling powerless in a relationship. Dr. Potter-Efron reports that survival rage is rooted in terror or trauma, from the childhood trauma of sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional abuse.

Dr. Potter-Efron's impotent rage is enormous fury generated by vulnerability because a person does not have control over a circumstance. The individual will do everything they can to make the circumstance better, but it does not get better. An example would be when someone is in a violent domestic relationship, and they do everything to keep themselves safe, and everything fails, and the abuse continues. The individual dealing with impotent rage would go off on the perpetrator because of the rage, but it does not change the situation.

The third rage of the four is shame-based rage. To understand the shame-based rage, I will talk briefly about shame. Dr. Judith Jordan edited the book, In Women’s Growth in Diversity: More Writings from the Stone Center defines shame as "…shame is most importantly a felt sense of unworthiness to be in connection, a deep sense of unlovability, with the ongoing awareness of how very much one wants to connect with others…" When someone is dealing with shame, they are dealing with both a feeling of shame and beliefs of shame. This can be a challenging characteristic to change due to it being so ingrained. It will take some in-depth work to work through your shame. Individual’s that have in-depth shame will come to believe:

“I am an awful person.”

“I can’t do it because my mother told me I couldn’t complete my project.”

“I am ugly.”

“I can’t love someone, and someone else can’t love me.”

When people get shame-based rage, they get furious at themselves and take it out on co-workers, family members, or even strangers. In some incidents, this rage can be fatal such as during a domestic violence situation, and the survivor will lose it and kill the perpetrator. To understand shame more in-depth, you can read the book Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame: A Relational/Neurobiological Approach by Dr. Patricia A. Young.

The last rage is abandonment rage, which is different from survival rage because of its physical danger and impotent rage, which is a loss of powerlessness. Abandonment rage is when the individual believes that someone is going to leave them. This rage can manifest during an individual's childhood when a caregiver is not there for the child. The caregiver can in and out of their life or leave, never to return. The individual may believe the following thoughts:

“Can I count on my caregivers to be there?”

“Are my caregivers going to hurt me?”

“Will I get support from my caregivers?”

“How dependable or unreliable are/have my caregivers been to me?”

When an individual has abandonment issues, it can be traced back to their childhood; secure or insecure, their attachment to their caregiver. The individual with abandonment rage happens when they feel they are being abandoned. Do you ever get rageful when you think about a time someone had abandoned or betrayed you? Do you have an obsession to get even with a parent or significant other? Dealing with abandonment rage will take you back to your childhood when you felt your caregiver or someone that you had loved abandoned.

This information is heavy and sometimes to deal with. Dr. Potter-Efron’s book goes into greater detail. He also has a rage questionnaire you can take and see if you have rage issues and/or which rage you fit in.

From my perspective, rage is rooted in a traumatic experience that you may have had in your life; the best way to learn how to manage rage is to get professional help. By getting the support will move your life to a different level.

If you would like to learn HeartMath techniques sign up to my course in the services section on my website:

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