Because of my brain injury, I have little memory of things in my life that caused a deep rage. However, I was able to reconstruct one incident from my past. As I recalled the incident, I could feel the bile rise up in me.
Years ago, I had a poor manager for a boss. He was one of those stubborn gifted people who unconsciously caused pain to those working under him. As one of the lower level employees, I had little recourse against his management practices.
Everything came to a head, when I experienced extreme family stresses. My father-in-law was dying from cancer. Meanwhile, I had an out-of-control child who required medical intervention. The final straw came when my boss gave my job to someone else, then required me to work twenty to thirty hours weekly in overtime. His response to my objections was to offer me a parking pass to the garage. However, I did not drive, and instead took two buses and walked to work.
My reaction is his thoughtlessness was to want him dead. I really wanted this boss dead. I wanted his family dead. I wanted his dog dead. Going back and forth to work, I indulged in revenge fantasies, plotting to kill him, his family, and his dog. After he was replaced, I still harbored a deep resentment for my former boss for some time.
Once, I loaned a former business associate four thousand dollars. We signed a contract, and at first, she paid me on time. Then she started to avoid me, not answering my phone calls or e-mails. I resorted to driving sixty miles to her store to collect the debt. This was successful some of the time. Then, she got into the habit of closing her store, three or four times a week, unannounced. I got madder and madder with this untenable situation, since my money was at stake.
In meeting with her, I managed to control my temper. However, I ranted and raved coming and going there, and sped up and down dangerous country roads. The final straw after three years of excuses was how she regarded my brain injury. She acted as if I was well, and that I should feel sorrier for her for yet another fake crisis in her life. Finally, she closed her store and moved out of her home without a forwarding address. I was furious at being stiffed.
Because of my brain injury, I cannot feel rage directly. I usually short circuit and pass out. However, there are times when I feel like turning my skin inside out - edgy, and jumpy. When I feel like that, I want to hurt people. This feeling of edginess usually occur when I become over-stimulated by severe weather, a change in routine, or flashing lights, or a combination of these stressors.
Every so often, genuine rage will briefly peek through. For example when I hear about Governor Rick Perry (R. – Texas), I feel the bile rising in my throat, and this blinding red rage comes over me. My rage occurs for several reasons. First, the governor reminds me of my old boss. Second his emphasis on Christianity reminds me of the sad times in my childhood. Coming from an atheist family, I was bullied for not being Christian.
In her “Prosperity (dollar sign for s) Quick Tips”, Joan Sotkin writes that if anger is not acknowledged, felt, expressed, and released, it will come out sideways. She cites the examples of overspending, going into debt, late-bill paying and general self-sabotage in achieving your aims. But if you do these four steps, you can achieve financial prosperity. However, you do need to all these steps and in order.
Rage starts when our core values are violated. If we do not acknowledge this anger, we negate the wrong done to us. Feeling it allows us to understand how much we were harmed. Expressing the rage in an appropriate way, we learn to protect ourselves. Releasing it allows us not to continue to live in the moment of the harm. We can move past the hurt, and “put a period at the end of it.”