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Anger vs. Rage

By LifeworX · Jan. 10, 2017 · Life Coaching

Woman sitting at desk with head in hands.

While they may seem like two sides of the same coin, there is actually a very clear difference between the two.

Rage is a shame-based expression of anger. Rage is often called fury or frenzy. It is an intense, violent, or growing anger. It is associated with the fight or flight response and often activated in response to an external situation which is very intense. Anger is a natural emotion...And very often a positive one, especially when you do something positive about what you were angry about. Anger often spurs you into being pro-active in a situation.  Whereas rage is the opposite and can often leave the people around you both scared of you, and for you. Anger also does not cloud your vision to the same extent that rage does.  With anger, you can still think rationally and set boundaries. Healthy anger is not used to humiliate or intimidate yourself or others. It is not violent and is not used to punish yourself or others either. If it is healthy anger one can handle it and talk about it and move through it with not much destruction left in its wake. Rage, on the other hand, starts out as anger but is usually suppressed and ignored. When you block out anger and don’t deal with it, resentment along with a variety of physical, mental and emotional issues arise. You will find rage is shown in passive-aggressive and manipulative ways. Most of the time unhealthy anger manifests in abusive behaviour and habits such as alcoholism, addictions and abusive relationships. There are many forms of anger management.

Talk therapy is a good start.  This involves working through what makes you angry and gets you all worked up and finding ways to cope with everyday stresses and irritations. An action plan may be created so that you do not fall into the trap of creating a habit where you can’t see a way out.

Exercise is a very effective way of combating unhealthy anger that will eventually turn into rage if not addressed. It is important to find a form of exercise that you enjoy so that you continue to keep it a part of your lifestyle. This way you are managing your anger with a healthy option. Staying away from any form of medication is advisable as this is usually just a temporary mask for outbursts – and not a solution to the underlying issue.

Alcohol and substance abuse is a very self-destructive way of thinking you are coping with your issues, as this leads to many other problems.

Childhood abuse has a very negative effect on your adult life. It often results in addictive problems.  This is where the abused feels shame, guilt, fear, sadness, and isolation. Once again, the demons that keep you caged need to be discussed and brought out into the open in order to deal with them in the correct manner, so that you find a coping mechanism that works for you. Having a reliance on substances will only push your emotions further and further away until one day an incident will cause you to snap and react badly. Any form of substance abuse only compromises the progress of the therapy you are in. Regarding anger, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says:

"It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we waist the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harbouring such feeling we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die. 

If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison."