People often see rage as a negative emotion because they usually experienced it done recklessly. For example, the news often report about people battling over a perceived “stealing” of a parking space. In fact, the expression “road rage” comes from other people’s bad behavior whilst driving. The rage that frightens people is the raging prairie fire consuming everything in its wake destroying lives.
Some synonyms of rage are “acrimony, frenzy, fury, hysteria, indignation, and mania.” In addition, crossword puzzles provide “anger, ire, irksome, and mad” as clues for rage. To that list, I would add “vengeance and revenge”. For me, the full range of emotion of rage ranges from irksome to hysteria to holding a grudge.
I see rage in three ways. The first is that rage or anger is a secondary emotion that is rooted in fear. I view anger as fear expressed outwards. Fear masked as anger causes people to act out in outrageous ways. Often, they act on fear and strike out at others.
The second is the positive emotion that is harnessed for good. Anger at injustice gives people the courage to act and to achieve justice. The third is that anger is the expression of a harm done to the self. This could manifest itself in overcoming injustice or correcting the harm. However, the protection of the self often gets people into trouble when they define harm to include the taking of a parking spot.
Anger has been a friend to me. It is the fuel that helped me to recover from my major illness of depression. My rage has propelled me through various roadblocks to recovery. Properly channeled, I see anger to be used to accomplish great things.
In many dictionaries, rage is defined as “emotional excitement induced by intense displeasure.” This speaks to the physical arousal that occurs when this emotion overtakes you. Therefore, if you have not taken care of your body or have ingested certain chemicals, your propensity for rage increases.
One type of rage comes from the malfunctioning of the brain. This is called intermittent explosive disorder (IED). People with IED have a violent reaction to an event that may be benign. It is considered impulsive aggression which offers relief after an outburst. However IED points to the physical aspects of rage: the tension in the body, the act, and then the relief that comes. IED is often controlled through medication.
Rage that is felt in the body is something which needs to be considered. Is the action a result of how we feel physically? Do we seek a release through our actions? Pounding pillows may not offer the relief desired but may continue to keep the body physically aroused.