Rage comes when we neglect any of these steps. Not feeling or acknowledging it allows us to continue to be violated, and turn our anger inward. Inappropriate expressions such as beating someone who called us a name or even pounding pillows only keeps us in arousal mode. If we do not release the anger, we nurse grudges and make our lives miserable.
After my former boss left, I focused on my life. I found my voice at work, and became an advocate for myself and others in my position. Then 9/11 (2001) happened. I was a witness to the plane that flew into the Pentagon. The next day I returned back to work in Washington D.C. While at work, someone came in and told us that our former boss had survived the attack on the World Trade Center. He had escaped from the second tower before it fell. To my surprise, I was glad that he lived. My anger had been released years before, and I no longer wished him ill.
Using my anger at my former associate for stiffing me, I went to a lawyer to find out what legal recourse I had. Using his advice, I took my former associate to Small Claims Court. I won my case, and collected my debt. Instead of feeling angry and nursing a grudge, I expressed my anger by suing her. I used my anger in a lawful manner to right a wrong that was done to me.
My anger towards Gov. Perry is triggered by reading articles about him. Many of these essays stress his character defects. I can choose not read about him since I overreact to what he says. Because of my brain injury, I cannot discern what is fact and opinion in political writing or presentations such as TV talk shows. Since I cannot differentiate between him and my prior experiences, I see the governor as a trigger to rage. Therefore, I usually avoid stories about him.
Since a lot of my rage can be caused by inadequate care of my body, I need to pay attention to my needs. To that end, I take regular meals, eat healthy food, and drink a lot of water. I also take my medications daily, and walk for an hour each day. This helps to relax me, and enables me to sleep well at night. Also, I make sure I have a regular bedtime and rising time.
For my mental health, I learned not to read things that would bother me. I keep a regular routine as much as possible. This cuts down on outside stimulation for me. For example, I only use the computer two hours a day. I only watch children’s shows, and limit my total TV viewing to three hours a day. These actions prevent me from overacting to any triggers.
Rage is an instrument that can be used for good or ill. For good, it drives people to right the wrongs of social injustice. For bad, it drives people to battle over a parking space. Rage needs to be channeled in order for it to be used constructively. Acknowledge the feeling, express it appropriately, and then release it. That is what works for me.
“Intermittent Explosive Disorder”, The Mayo Clinic, 2010, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/intermittent-explosive-disorder/DS00730
---, “The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus”, Merriam-Webster: Springfield (MA), 1989.
Sotkin, Joan, Prosperity (dollar sign for the “s”) Quick Tips, http://www.joansotkin.com/