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Anger Vs Rage: Understanding the Difference

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 25 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Anger Healthy Anger Rage Emotions

Although both emotional expressions of frustration centre on an inability to cope with negative thoughts, feelings and external influences, anger and rage are very different. Anger can manifest in a healthy and unhealthy way. Rage, however, is an explosion of emotion that is out of control. Understanding the difference between these two expressions will therefore enable you to begin to manage your emotions more appropriately.

What is Healthy Anger?

When you are able to take beneficial action that has no consequences, whilst expressing anger, you will be displaying healthy anger. This usually manifests as frustration, impatience, irritation and aggravation and may be triggered by internal thoughts or external action. Healthy anger generally motivates you to take some positive action, and provided you are able to express your thoughts and opinions, can be controlled and managed.

It is when assertiveness and negative thoughts and feelings are allowed to escalate that healthy anger gains an opportunity to develop into unhealthy anger or rage.

What is Unhealthy Anger?

Anger that has been left to fester over time can easily build into resentment and other unhealthy emotional expressions. Hostility, bitterness, aggressiveness, vindictiveness and vengefulness are all displays of unhealthy anger, and if not managed appropriately can result in rage.

Unhealthy anger feeds off justification and relies on continued negative thoughts, self-righteous behaviour and exaggerated responses to keep it simmering. By refusing to bury healthy anger, as it surfaces, you will reduce the chances of unhealthy anger erupting. Keeping a check on how you are coping, with feelings that create emotional disorder, will enable you to take appropriate action in managing your anger levels.

What is Rage?

The ultimate display of anger and frustration is rage. Rage is a loud and scary temper tantrum and can quickly shift from being controlled to being threateningly uncontrolled. When rage is in full flow there is little room for empathy, understanding or clarity. Rage is a powerful force that creates havoc and results in venting action without consideration for others.

Rage can also be experienced when feeling under personal threat. This expression will generally leave the person feeling confused by their emotions after the explosion of emotion, and they may continue to linger over negative thoughts afterwards. An individual acting from the view point of justification, however, will continue to desire control over others and their rage will subside but not dissipate entirely.

Types of Rage

Rage knows no restrictions. It can instantly manifest in the behaviour of an otherwise mild-mannered individual just as easily as in the actions of a highly stressed person. Rage can be displayed in the workplace, home or public environment. Anyone who shows behaviour that is controlling may potentially display rage when other factors like aggravation, stress, hostility etc, are also in evidence.

The magnitude, and the effects, of the actions of rage must be understood in order to help prevent subsequent displays of this explosion of negative emotion. Violent and threatening behaviour patterns are undoubtedly a negative trait that stems from an inability to understand emotional problems. Only by identifying the core emotional issues can rage be controlled.

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