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The Damaging Effects of Anger and Rage (Part 1)


The Damaging Effects of Anger and Rage (Part 1)
By: Dr. Cassandra Clarke-Williams

In the wake of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz being fatally stabbed in the Bronx, New York, it makes me wonder how are people dealing with their anger and rage. As a parent, that video turned my stomach into so many knots that I was nauseous. I literally cried, and I didn’t know this boy. The manner in how he died was alarming. What makes a group rally together to fatally stab a person, forget that he was 15 years old, what is going through your head at the time? Was this really the only solution to this situation? Coping mechanisms are critical because I’m almost sure that if healthy coping mechanisms were present that this would not have even been an option. This makes me wonder how are people handling their anger and rage? This incident just happened to be caught on the store’s video camera. What if it wasn’t? Would these men have gotten away with murder until their anger and rage flared up again? Coping skills are so necessary and should be taught from a young age and maintained throughout life.  

Anger and rage can be very dangerous. This situation is proof of that. Usually, when anger and rage are present, it manifests in doing something that we regret or can’t reverse like in Junior’s case. In a moment of anger and rage, Junior’s life was snuffed out but had things been thought through the outcome might have been different. When you think about all the violent events that have taken place in the news in the past couple of years, it is evident that anger and rage is a problem. What people need to understand is that people are not born with anger or rage; something manifests the anger or rage. It doesn’t magically appear out of nowhere. The problem is that when the onset of anger and rage appears, no one does anything about it, so as incidents happen it feeds the anger and rage like building blocks and then there is an eruption like a volcano. Angry outburst usually occurs in cycles, so pay close attention to patterns. 

According to Dr. Leon F. Seltzer (2008), anger has the tendency to give people a feeling of power that ends up controlling them. I’ve had several clients that battle feelings of anger and a few of them reported that they were being controlled by it. Some client’s admitted to having anger and rage where they temporarily lost control over themselves to the point of blacking out and experiencing memory loss. According to Andrea Mathews (2012) actions taken before the thought is the result of angry feelings being stuffed to the point of exploding and/or the anger is working in the person’s favor.


What do parents need to know?


Parents, if you notice that your child(ren) is experiencing anger and rage, the worse thing that can be done is to ignore it or match it with harsh discipline. This is a clear sign that something could be wrong. Parents you have to be mindful that your children are watching you in every sense of the word. They pick up things from watching your responses to situations. Modeling how to behave and how you respond to situations is vital. Children observe how situations are handled and use it as a foundation of how they should react to situations as it arises for them. If you see signs of anger or rage manifesting in your child seek professional help. Below is a list of warning signs of anger: 

•    Clenched fist

•    Shutting down

•    Heavy and fast breathing

•    Body or hands shake

•    Punching walls

•    Argumentative

•    Pace around the room

•    Screaming and yelling

•    Throwing things

•    Crying

•    Inability to stop thinking about the problem

•    Aggressiveness

•    Insulting others

•    Headaches


Coping with anger and rage… 

Some strategies can be used to cope with anger and rage. If you are unsure of where to begin to control you or your child’s anger or rage, I recommend seeking professional help by finding a counselor through your Network Provider, Psychology Today, American Counseling Association, or American Psychological Association. There is more than enough support available. Please follow the link to a list of coping strategies that you can be used to help you begin the process of controlling your anger.



American Psychological Association, 

Mathews, A., (2012, May 23). Is rage a choice? Can we really get out of control? Retrieved from 

Seltzer, L. F. (2008, July 11). What your anger may be hiding: Reflections on the most seductive—an addictive—of human emotions. Retrieved from

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