Behind That Trembling Fire Inside

We all know them, those people who explode into anger easily; many times escalating to rage about things we simply cannot understand. We may encounter this in our own children, siblings, partners, friends or even strangers who cross our path. A trail of scattered angry energy follows in their wake that can alter the course of the entire day for observers. What happened, we wonder, what did we miss; why are they so angry?

The seething rage lying just beneath the surface of those afflicted is confounding, even to them. Ask them later why they reacted so dramatically to things that may have seemed trivial to others and they rarely know the answer. It just happened. They may temporarily feel better but these people never feel good. They are consumed with a trembling fire inside raging out of control without notice. Relationships, jobs and opportunities are a casualty of this malady.

This rage, the anger that never really subsides is a mask, donned to prevent any onlooker from peering beneath it lest they encounter the wrath of the masked. Like posting trained guard dogs at your door the hope is that anyone who approaches will be scared off by the viciousness or impending harm that may befall them.

What is lurking behind the mask, what must be hidden from the onlookers? Fear, pure unadulterated fear is hiding there. The louder the protest, the deeper the rage, the greater the fear has manifested. What is so frightening? It is the possible outcome of the situation that elevates this emotion. Fear of losing someone or something important, fear that they are not being respected, fear that the person who has caused the 'affront' thinks they are less, fear of acceptance or the lack of it... so many emotions lurk in these shadows. The rage is intended to drive you away, to back you up and to restate a position they feel is being challenged. They fear an anticipated outcome of whatever is at stake.

This is a learned response, one that shields a deeply personal feeling of inadequacy or unacceptability by the people around them. It is, in the mind of the offender, a weapon to prevent the loss from becoming more substantial. They believe they are in control of the situation although the desired outcome is rarely achieved. The opposite is true; when anyone's behavior is out of control the other person is in control. In every situation someone is in control. The enraged person is out of control.

When deep anger and rage become an issue in your life, whether it is your own or someone who really matters to you step back and assess what is in jeopardy, what can be lost? If you squarely address the real issue the anger is able to subside. Difficult though it may be, stepping aside from what is purported to be the real issue and examining the fear behind the response can soothe the scarring that lies within that fire inside.


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