Most of us are probably aware of the terrible two’s where a child realises over time that he is not the master of the universe and everything in it. That he is governed by another, namely his guardian, and he is not in control of all people and things. It raises a tough question in the child’s psyche; so if I am not everything… I am out of control, and others, have control. Paddy’s often follow with kicking and screaming, until there is some kind of acceptance while he tries to make sense of the world around him. However I don’t feel that there is full acceptance, but more of a storing of the child’s inner wishes, so that someday he may seek revenge and reclaim control of his world once again. The rage that the child feels is red hot and stays with the child throughout adult life and the terrible two’s is one of the many examples of rage inducing disappointments a child may have to endure in his development stage. The more that I delve into my own experiences as a child I deem this to be true.
Rage is hardly attractive, in our culture as we know it, and so the hot coal of rage has to be dampened to fit in with our society and our friends and family. This can be achieved in many ways but on the whole rage is stored inwardly if it is not expressed. I think the same situation arises in adults and toddlers as without the ability to express their needs, instead resort to whatever behaviours they can carry out saying “no” and acting against the world at large and with adults this can mean depression. I remember reading many years ago that depression is anger turned inwards and I would agree with that on the whole. Rage in adult life it may be expressed through delusion and clinging to false hopes and also by letting off steam in ways that are not conducive to our true nature.
Rage has it’s place, however wrong it may feel, and when we acknowledge this we can allow it to breathe and flow like a volcano. It is both natural and damaging and damaging and natural. It is our thought about rage that enrages us, not the existence of a demonic but necessary part of our fuel for life. We seek to rid ourselves of rage and keep it hidden at all costs. The main cost however is a stifling of our energy and time that may be wasted on situations that harm us. Many of us may ask, how can I get rid of this rage, and sadly the answer may not be how we can rid ourselves of it but how can we use it, rather than being used by it.
And die of nothing but a rage to live ~ Alexander Pope
14 responses to “The Raging Child”
Rage; it takes so much energy trying to contain it. Denial and shame. Bewilderment. How many of us are actually taught how to usefully ‘manage’ anger, to channel it, to express it? Devastating to us, or the people around us?
Still hoping to find the key!
Thanks for writing this, Will.
Thanks Helen, the same here, still trying to recognise rage underneath. Anger and rage still seem very elusive as it was not expressed in my family when we were kids.
Excellent posting, Will ~ & wonderful summary at the end: how can we utilize the energy of rage instead of it corroding our souls ~*
Thanks for commenting as always Peter. Rage is a very underground for me so it was useful to write about it here for the first time : )
Great Will. We have to receive it with open arms, as it can help us to practice compassion?
Thanks Chris, I think you are totally right here, rage and anger can help us to achieve many other things too if harnessed correctly.
Valuable write here, Wil. We first have to admit and own our rage. Recognize it as part of our humanity. I like the Pope quote as well. Good stuff! Thank you!
Thanks Fu, yes I agree. Sometimes finding rage and anger for some people including myself can be very searching… touching it and feeling it for the first time can be very overwhelming.
Correction: meant to write “we must own our rage”
How we distort, suppress, disparage negative emotions is so complex. realizing them is such an overwhelming, frightening, self-shaking and terror making process…we don’t want to be ‘selfish’, we want to be ‘nice’, and somehow we’ve equated ‘self mastery’ and ‘maturity’ and wisdom with non-anger and detachment,
I wonder how much of that is gregrarious, social control, interplay of culture. And how much is just inborn fear of our own potential. Because rage is potential, anger is power, the problem is not having them but not knowing their meaning or purpose or creative juice, yeah?
But as much as we disparage negative emotions, and superficial psychology/religions speak of equnamity and kindness and love, deeper self-reflection and spiritual journeys always ALWAYS include the hard places. They do not ‘overcome’ them, but bring them to full power.
Found: ‘the candidate for wisdom does not seek a detour by which to circumvent the sphere of the passions – crushing them within or shutting his eyes to them without, until, made clean as an angel, he may safely open his eyes again….Quite the contrary: the hero goes directly through the sphere of greatest danger.” -Heinrich Zimmer, on Tantric tradition
Real, and self, can never be merely described nor even intuited. It can never be detachment, but attachment. Real, and self, must be lived and realized. Rage, raging against the dying of the light.
I especially love your first paragraph and I wonder about other cultures in which it may deemed to be healthy to express anger and rage. “Be nice” comes to mind. I agree about rage being potential power and us fearing our true power, like having a whirlwind at our disposal. Taking it a step further violence is necessary. Personally I find it very difficult to find that point where rage turns inwards but perhaps just before that happens ‘we DO’ and we ‘ACT’. Interesting comments thanks Karin!
clarification: I don’t see anything wrong with rage. I see lots of things wrong with violence. Rage teaches us something, and gives us a powerful jolt of activating energy. But there is nothing in knowledge or energy that ends in violence.
Jus’ sayin. 🙂
Very thought-provoking, Will, and I can’t help but to respond (it seems at length). 🙂
The line, ” a storing of the child’s inner wishes, so that someday he may seek revenge and reclaim control of his world once again,” intrigued me and makes absolute sense, because I think our patterns, our triggers are set by what happens to us as children and in our lives we either repeat the pattern, or we do everything in our power to “not” repeat the pattern.
What Jackie said made me think about the idea of owning rage. Something tells me that might only serve to perpetuate the rage. The idea of learning how to “not” attach to this rage, of realising how mind works and that it is only the nature of mind. It is not you, or me, or our egos. Patience is the virtue, the antidote to rage.
The way I think Jackie means it, and this is where I agree, is that we should be responsible. As soon as we assume responsibility, we are in fact in control. As soon as we “blame” something or someone for the issue that seems to cause our rage or unhappiness, we have given away all of our power, which is actually much worse than being responsible in the first place. This reminds of the book I am reading at the moment by Milan Kundera “The unbearable lightness of being.”
I agree Q, that our triggers and patterns are set firmly in Childhood. I think the word ‘Set’ denotes rigidity and life is not rigid it is ever flowing and ever changing. But we all become rigid from earlier experiences and get stuck in patterns, makes me think of children freezing still.
I think your point on patience is important and we need that but also patience could denote waiting, and I somehow feel that action or rather expression is necessary with rage also.
Thanks Q for your comments as always I really value them. Love the sound of that book!