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Rageaholics Anonymous

Today I was reading a book on the porch swing in front of the student center where I work when there was a minor three car accident on the street in front of me. A car bumped the car in front of her, which threw that car forward into another car. Nothing too serious, except that the large, muscle-bound driver of the front car immediately flew into a massive profanity-laced rage and burst out of his car and began to charge the cars behind him, screaming with fists raised. Thankfully nothing violent happened, but there was a moment where I was afraid for the two other drivers.

Rage is a terrible phenomenon. I understand the forces of anger, but rage seems to be what happens when all dams burst and control is completely lost. I'm no expert on this at all, but it seems that rage is something that either happens a lot in a person or rarely at all. I used to work for someone who experienced rage a lot, and would end up doing terrible things like destroying doors in his home and chasing down and yelling at people who did him wrong in traffic (even with his five year old daughter in the car). What's worse is that this person was a minister. There are a lot of weaknesses that I will afford ministers, because they are simply human, but rage is a dangerous weapon that must never be in the arsenal of a spiritual leader.

So where does the control of rage come from? It may not seem like this now, but word is that I had a really low breaking point as a child and would fly into rages. Apparently my mom moved electronic equipment out of my room so that I would not destroy it. I credit the natural process of maturity for growing me out of that, but I think the more important aspect is simply trusting the world around you and realizing that you do have a large amount of control of normal life. In my experience, rage seems to come from people who have taught themselves that the world is against them, and therefore control is largely lost and must be fought for. The incompetencies of others (which are certainly a reality) then become sort of strange conspiracy against you which must be constantly fought. This creates a constant frustration that lowers the emotional breaking point. I've seen this before and I saw it again today. The mistake of the girl in the last car suddenly became an attack against the angry man in the front car. This event didn't make him angry - he had already done that himself.

So, I propose that the best answer to this is somewhat of a paradox. Avoiding rage is about maintaining control, but maintaining control in life is largely about letting go of it. There is a big difference between losing and letting go. The famous sermon by Jesus gave some almost ludicrous suggestions: "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Doing these kinds of things is the exact opposite of control. But we are promised that when we let go of it, someone else, someone much more capable, someone much more competent, takes it up for us.


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Blogger Ruth Erin - 12:57 PM

liberal nutjob? or enlightened individual? :)    



Blogger Jessica - 7:33 PM

I wish it was that easy. We're taught that control is something to work for. That control is what makes life easier.

It's the pursuit of control that interferes with our pursuit of happiness. It's the idea that having control over your job, your finances, your schedule will make it all better. But think about the things that provide us with the most peace and happiness: the love of our family and friends, our faith, giving back to others. I would say arguably these are the things we have the least control over, yet provide us the most satisfaction.

I've learned a lot lately with absolute stress from work that my pursuit of control has made me incredibly unhappy and unsettled. It has made me, in fact, incredibly angry at the world.

It's easy to say "let go and let God"....but I'm waiting for advice on how to actually do that.

In the meantime...I'll keep praying!    



Blogger Anna M. Forrester - 7:37 AM

A rageful outburst is NOT simply a display of bad behavior. According to the APA/AMA rage is clinically diagnosable as Intermittent Explosive Disorder or IED.

Granted a rageful episode is extraordinarily scary for the victim, it is as frightening (or more) for the rager who may be operating in a "blind rage" and be in an actual blackout and cannot recall his/her actions of moments ago.

To learn more (and possibly find a solution for your own rage), you can read "AngerBusting 101" by Newton Higtower. Or visit any of the following sites:

http://www.grandtimes.com/Anger.html

http://www.rage-anon.org/

www.AngerBusters.com

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/intermittent-explosive-disorder/DS00730    



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