In preparation for this monthly note, I came across an article written by John Lee, Telling the difference between Anger and Rage. I have noticed many Seniors are dealing with anger and rage in their later years. I am not sure if the current political climate has brought more awareness of the issue or created a more toxic dialogue.
Anger is about the “Here and Now;” it is an active response to issues and situations occurring at the present time. You feel anger because of what someone said to you this morning.
Rage is about the “There and Then;” it is about our past. Rage is a reaction to what that person has said to you every morning for the last year. What you’ve stuffed and bottled-up all this time, suddenly comes gushing out like a geyser.
Anger lives in the present, it takes moments or minutes at the most to be felt and expressed. Rage sticks around because it is grounded in the past.
Rage lives in the past and takes a very long time because it is grounded in our personal life history, and once unleashed, the result is that no one wants to eat with anyone because no one has an appetite left.
Anger is about me and rage is about you. If I express anger, I am telling you about me. Anger is revealing. If I am raging, I’m telling the other person about them and thus I am concealing what I am really feeling and going through.
Anger is a response to injustice, rudeness, impoliteness, impoverishment, impudence, and abuse. Rage is a reaction to situations, circumstances, people, processes, and problems. Responses are generated by present stimuli. Reactions are a reactivation of one’s history and memories about people, processes, and problems.
These rage reactions are almost always disproportionate to what is being said or done or not done or said to one’s satisfaction. Angry responses are proportional to what is coming towards us or being taken away from us.
Knowing the difference between anger and rage is critical to understanding a happy healthy life.