Self-Witnessing Report on the Age of Rage

     --rage in my life --

Amanda Park

May 1, 2001      [Class Homepage]

Note: to e-mail me click on my name & to find instructions for this report click on the title.


§ Introduction (my thoughts) §

  I cannot tell a person how much this class has helped myself realize where, when, how and why my rages come about. I may not be cured from anger, but I certainly am able to realize I am angry and start to calm myself down sooner rather than later lately. In my first report the "Annotated Bibliography on the Age of Rage" I researched a lot of different rages that are out there in the world. I came across computer rage with a subsection of internet rage and the like. I also found air rage, work rage, child/adult rage. There is a lot more incidents out there and my report just touches the tip of the iceberg, but atleast it shows people that there are problems of rage out there. All the build up of stress and the demands put on adults and children now days I am aware of the troubles that this can cause. If you would like to learn more about the different kinds of rage, it only benefits you because then you will be able to recognize it and try to assuage the rage (yours or other people) before it happens or becomes unmanageable. I do hope (the optimist that I am) with the help of many people taking notice of all the numerous possiblities of rage that the word will spread and people will help one another. With the news reporting on and rage happening in people lives everyday, more people are knowledgeable of rage and can help. I hope the future is not bleak and that people will not ignore the fact that rage does happen and with one person helping to do something aloha then spreads to others and in turn helps society immensely and the world as a whole. And so on to my personal observations of my rage….

§ Self-Witnessing Observations §

            § Movie Rage §

  • Why did I write about this particular one?

  I decided to write about this rage because it occurs too often in movie theaters, and I will not take it sitting down any longer. This occurrence I am referring to is when people are so rude as to either talk loudly during the movie and/or persist in kicking the back of the seats when a person asks them politely not to. (This is only one episode I report on).

  • The incident:

  I like to go to movies and when I do it seems like the rude people always seem to sit nearby. The latest episode was just this past weekend. I went to the movies with some friends, and the theater was really crowded. So we sat down and this girl was sitting by herself but she had her jacket on the seat next to her so I knew she was saving it. When the movie had started a guy comes into our row saying, "excuse me" and then he sits down next to the girl. I don’t think anything of this because I’ve come late to movies in the past.

After a couple of minutes he starts to cough and clear his throat very loudly. The girl then asks him if he wants to go get something to drink. He tells her no, and he doesn’t cough or clear his throat for a few minutes (atleast that I heard). He coughs and clears his throat for about a quarter of the movie and his girlfriend (I assumed) kept on asking if he wanted something to drink with him still saying no. Finally I had to speak up and I told him to please do something about his coughing and/or to go and get something to drink!! They both looked at me like I was crazy and finally the guy got up and went to get himself something to drink.

I couldn’t believe it, only after someone practically yells at him that does he do something. I was thinking in the back of my mind that if anything else, and he didn’t get up and go get something to drink that I was better for saying something than me keeping my mouth shut and not saying anything at all. It ruined the movie for me though because I couldn’t pay attention because of the anger. It was hot in the theater and I couldn’t get comfortable. The adrenaline was rushing and I couldn’t sit anymore, but the movie was still going and I wasn’t going to let some rude people deter me from seeing the movie. I modified my behavior by giving the guy the benefit of the doubt. I realized I was moving my foot in an agitated motion so I sat up straighter and tuned my thoughts to things other than what had just happened. It was a funny movie so I tried to relax and when a funny part came on I tried to laugh as if nothing was wrong.

    • Discussion:

In the book Working With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman he says that Self-Awareness pays off. I think that is true, because if I wasn’t aware of how I was feeling when the guy was making so much noise I wouldn’t know why I was angry. He says "the more accurately we can monitor our emotional upsets, the sooner we can recover from distress" (86). Even after I had told the guy to get a drink or to do something about his coughing I was still mad inside, and Goleman says I would still have to deal with my feelings that I still had. I did deal with them, I felt better just knowing that I said something and not keeping it inside, which would be unhealthy because to keep anger inside eats away at a person. Goleman also writes about Self-control. He writes about police officers who by using the "least force necessary, apporach volatile people calmly and with a professional demeanor, are adept at de-escalation" (88). I stated in a calm voice to do something about his coughing. I made sure that I didn’t say anything when I was angry or the situation might have turned out of control.






        § Rage @ a Teacher §

  • Why I wrote about this particlar episode

I was really angry and I had to get it out into the open. Also because this strike had affected everyone and people have similar stories like mine.

  • The incident:

I go to class because one of my teachers (not with the union) tells the class that our paper is due on April 16, 2001. He tells us this the Wednesday before the strike occurred. I haven’t been to school since the strike began so I didn’t know what was going on with the teachers picketing. I come off the University Avenue cut-off and turn on to Dole and get stopped over there because of the picketing. Then I go into the parking structure and it was really empty. Walking up to cross the street to get to my class at the stoplight some teachers were passing out fliers and I saw them when I was walking. I slowed my pace and tried not to get there before the crosswalk light changed to let pedestrians walk. Well I didn’t time it right and I had to wait for about 5 seconds. In that space and time a guy hands me a flier, I told myself before I even got to where they were standing that I wasn’t going to take a flier, so I politely said ‘no thanks’. When the light changed I started to walk across very fast, as I was walking I hear the guy saying "with students on campus…." But I couldn’t hear the ending of what he said.

I felt so angry, I was crossing the picket line and I didn’t have to all this time. Mad at the teacher already I told myself that this teacher better be here! I practically stomped to class and when I got there the door was locked!! Right then and there I knew that he wasn’t going to show up. I walked straight down to his office and I knew already that he wasn’t going to be in his office either. I was so angry I grabbed my paper out of my bag and shoved it under his door. My hands were clenched and I felt my jaw become clenched also. I was so angry that everything else in the world wasn’t there. I only had energy toward yelling at someone, I was hungry before I went to class but the anger curbed it and made it go away. Walking back to the parking lot I didn’t want to face the picketing again so I walked all the way out of my way back to the parking lot. Modifying my behavior by acknowledging that teachers aren’t perfect either and maybe he had an important thing to do. I told myself that this was a silly reason to get angry, and that there are more important things to be angry about than a teacher not coming to class that day. I realized I was putting my anger on him because I had to cross the picket line. I started to walk normally, not fast and putting my feet down angrily. I tried to make myself smile, and I looked around to see the ‘beautiful day’ other than my anger inside me.

  • Discussion:

According to Daniel Goleman he says to "spot potential conflict, bring disagreements into the open, and help de-escalate"(178) and to "encourage debate and open discussion"(178). After all this had happened and I went to class again after the strike was over I went to talk to my teacher in his office. I told him what had happened and he apologized for not being there. He also said that since he wasn’t there and he said he would be the paper was not due until the end of the week. I made sure when I went to talk to him that I wasn’t angry, and that I wouldn’t blame him for not being there. I just told him about my situation and that I did do my paper. I asked him since I did my paper on time if he could give me extra-credit or if he could review it and give it back to me and then I can re-do it and turn it back in. He said that since I did it on time that he would look at it and give it back to me so I could make the necessary changes to ensure a good grade. So I talked it over with him when I was calm and worked out the problem through open discussion.





         § Stealing Rage §

  • Why this rage episode?

I think that this is a very prevalent situation and a lot of people can relate to having things stolen from them.

  • The incident:

I was at school the other day and I had put my bag down in the hallway to go to drop something off to a teacher. The teacher’s office was in the same hallway as my class so I figured that it would be safe enough to leave it there for the three minutes I needed to drop off the paper. I had my wallet and books in my bag. So I leave and when I come back 3 minutes later lo and behold my bag was gone. I was so angry, I ran to where my bag was, and I was looking all around to see if anyone else was in the hallway, which there wasn’t any person. I was thinking to myself how stupid could I be to leave my bag where no one was and to leave it even for a minute by itself. I should have known better, but the books in my bag were so heavy that I needed to walk without my bag for a little while. I felt like crying because I couldn’t do anything about bringing my bag back, and I had all my papers and things that were due that day. I felt helpless to do anything about the situation, I wanted to find the person who took my bag and confront them. I felt like I had a fever because I was so angry but at the same time I felt like I was going to cry too because I was mad. The whole day I was put off at having to explain to my teachers that my bag was stolen, some teachers seemed as though they didn’t believe me. I was sitting in class not paying much attention and not talking to anyone who I usually talk to. When I realized what I was doing I listened harder in my class and I relaxed my hands and face. I thought that this happened and there is nothing you can do about it now, so I just have to get through the day and then deal with it later. I had made an effort to talk to other people, trying to get my mind off the situation. And I know smiling helps me change my mood so I tried to smile and think good thoughts.

  • Discussion?

I like the idea that Daniel Goleman discusses in his book Working With Emotional Intelligence. He writes about emotional self-control. He says that gaining a huge amount of emotional self-control is beneficial to a person "so that distressing feelings don’t overwhelm and paralyze the person, making it difficult…" (257). I think that is true because when I didn’t have emotional self-control (when I was berating myself for leaving my bag) I wasn’t thinking straight and my feelings were overwhelming me. I was angry and I felt like yelling at someone and I was sad and almost to tears because I thought to myself I was so stupid for leaving my bag like that. But after I gained control over my emotions again I could change my attitude and thinking. I could think straight and be my normal self again. I was paying attention and acting almost normal and I was thinking about my bag being stolen but the emotions didn’t come back to the surface and overtake all my senses.


Goleman, Daniel. Working With Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books: New York, 1998; Pgs. 86-88,178,257.

§ In Conclusion §



  I think that even though these rage episodes I have mentioned in this report seem to be frivolous or so trivial compared to other rages I could have reported of from my life I believe these are the one’s that no one would think of as rage because they are that, trivial. It may seem that the big things get the most attention but it’s the little things that add up in a person’s everyday life. The little things that eats away at the person and later the individual may let it explode and hurt more people than necessary rather than settling the little rages while they are ‘little rages’. There was something we had to do while we worked on this report, and that was to do the Three Step Method—Step 1: Acknowledge your rage as soon as you recognize it as such. Say a sentence to acknowledge it while using the word ‘rage’ in the sentence. Step 2: Witness yourself and what you do when you are in the rage. What is your body doing? What are you thinking? And what are you feeling? Step 3: Modify your rage by changing your breathing, stop making a fist, interrupt the rage thoughts by breaking the thought of anger, and change your emotions of anger and rage to positive and new emotions that interrupt the negative emotions running through your head. If you can stop the anger before it starts then you are one step ahead and better than those that can’t.