Anger vs. Rage

“Anger is a healthy emotion,” said one of my best Christian counselors. “When you notice you are feeling angry, take a minute and evaluate who or what is hurting you.”

“What?” I asked. “You mean you don’t just squash whoever is standing in front of you?” I laughed at the absurdity of being able to sort out anger rationally. 

She explained that anger protects us. It tells us when we are unsafe emotionally or physically. It is our responsibility to set a boundary, get ourselves out of the situation or relationship or act on our behalf in some way. We can’t make the other person change, but we can protect ourselves in many other ways. But until we understand what really hurts or scares us, we can’t react effectively. 

Rage is pent-up, unexpressed, ancient anger that has turned into a dangerous cauldron of putrid vomit. Whoever is in its way gets splattered in vitriol that has nothing to do with them. Rage kills everything inside the person who chokes it down. While anger can inform you of what needs to change, rage has nothing to do with the present moment.

3 thoughts on “Anger vs. Rage

  1. Hi Sharon!
    This is really interesting. What I find myself most angry about are things that aren’t directed to one person. How would she suggest dealing with anger toward racism and social injustice? I rotate between anger and depression. Love you much!

    • Well great question. If you think of anger as a secondary emotion, it always has hurt or fear underneath. What I’m feeling now is really a lot of fear that people are not very nice, and the world is not a very safe place. I can set boundaries over my consumption of that kind of information, lean on God, do something that makes me feel like I’m helping to solve the problem and/or reframe my thinking. It’s easy for me to blame a certain group of people, but really they have their own drama and perspective that they are reacting to, and it may not mean that they are not nice or safe at all. That being said, I still do get angry at times, but it’s telling me to ramp up my self-care. Make sense? Plus sometimes it’s helpful for me just to feel my fear. Anger just masks it.

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