Why do I get so angry?



May 5, 2001

Mizue Nakamura




First of all, what is rage?  When we hear the word grageh, many of us probably imagine a person who is being furious with anger.  If so, we tend to think that we cannot expect to encounter rage scene in our real life situation very often.  Nevertheless, we can witness others and ourselves in rage much more often than we expect.  I learned in the class that we could say that we witnessed a rage when we saw a co-worker threw his or her documents on the desk after receiving a harsh comment on the proposal to the new project from his or her superior.  Or we can sense us being irritated while waiting in a long line.  Rage is not necessarily manifested, but it can be an irritation that we sense as a small movement of our emotion in many aspects of our lives.



My Report1: gAnnotated Bibliography on the Age of Rageh

To introduce what kind of rage we encounter in our everyday life, I would like to review what I researched on the web pages about rage through Internet for my first project, gAnnotated Bibliography on the Age of Rageh.

Followings are the categories of rages I wrote on my paper.



Air ragecAir rage is a rage that crewmembers and airplane passengers experience when they are mentally and physically harassed by passenger who is engaged in an out-of-control behavior due to excessive drinking alcohol, for example. 


Tourettic ragecAlthough it is not a diagnostic disease, a person who has rage attacks has several discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property.


Child ragecViolent behaviors that children engage in is attributed to many factors, such as an excessive exposure to violent scenes in the media, or a social norm that encourages aggressiveness in sports and in a way of displaying masculinity in male children.


Workplace ragecA hundred bosses and co-workers were murdered by employees in 1997 only.  Today, not only the sexual harassment issue is raised its attention from a public, but also a workplace violence is. 


Parentsf sports ragecParentsf sports rage is a type of rage that causes the overheated parents while watching their childrenfs sports game to harm one another.  For example, one father beat up to death after the two argued over their sonsf hockey game in Boston, on July 12, 2000.


Computer ragecThis is a type of rage people experience when they are using their computers.  According to a survey conducted by Wirthilin Worldwide for Symantec Australia in 1999, 52% of people claimed that they have experienced frustration in a reaction to computer problems.  And those who are in rage at computer swear at and hit computers, and some abuse others to vent for their anger. 


These are not all types of rage listed.  I could find many more while I had searched age related sites in a relatively short period of time.  Until I did this project, I was not aware of what the rage is about and how often we experience it.  Well, we experience rage very often.  We do not think we experience rage very often because we usually forget about what we were upset about or angry at as time passes.  We are living in the age of rage, and we will know it if we pay really good attention to our own feelings and conduct when we experience anger, or even a small irritation, in our everyday life.


My self-witnessing rage report

First, I thought about what stories I should write as my rage episodes.  So I started to think back my past that was not long ago and remembered the situations that had evoked my rage and I had exercised a Three-step Method to modify my anger. 

Then I decided that following three episodes were appropriate to report on because they are the most typical stories in the social situations that I end up experiencing a rage, and they describe my typical reactions to the person and the situation that became an object of my rage.


Using a Three-step Method, I acknowledged my experience of rage episodes and attempted to modify my anger.

According to Dr. James, Step 1 of the Three-step Method is to acknowledge that you are experiencing a rage episode. 

Step 2 is to witness.  You need to become consciously aware of three elements of your rage episode.  (1) your sensorimotor behavior that is visible to others.  (2) Your cognitive behavior, that is, what youfre thinking, and (3) your affective behavior, that is, what youfre feeling. 

The key point here is that you monitor your affective behavior by focusing on your feeling:  What are you feeling?  How unpleasant or annoying is it?  What do you feel like doing about it?  Then Step 3 is to consciously modify all three elements of your rage.  First, you modify your sensorimotor behavior by relaxing your body and regain control over your breathing and voicing, etc.  And modify your cognitive behavior by interrupting the rage routines circling in your mind.  Then you modify your affective behavior by invoking a higher affect or motive.  Ask yourself what your highest loves or goals in the situation.  You will find that it is not revenge, but your highest loves are to be safe, civilized, and above it.  In this way the new emotions that are positive, tolerant, and civilized interrupt and transform the negative affect. 



Episode 1: Rage at the Bank

Episode 2: Rage on the Phone

Episode 3: Rage with an employee

Anger Test

Overall Reaction & References

Report1: Annotated Bibliography on the Age of Rage

3 min oral presentation

15 min oral presentation

Book Review

Psy409 Class Home Page

Home Page of Dr. James




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