Are you stuck in the cycle of rage attacks? Do you experience rage all the time?
Rage attacks are out-of-control bursts of anger that will destroy your relationships. Something triggers you, and off you go.
If you’re stuck in the cycle of rage attacks, you need to look at what’s underneath your behavior to break free from it. When you do, you’ll not only find inner peace, but also heal your relationships, as well.
Coping with rage — or any other uncomfortable emotions — is an ongoing journey.
In order to deal with your rage attacks, you’ll need to first look at your uncomfortable emotions and how to deal with them.
This is not a one-time deal, but a lifelong journey. Knowing how to manage your emotions and building greater emotional awareness is an empowering skill.
Rage is often a mask for deeper, more painful emotions.
The first concept to understand is that rage and anger are uncomfortable emotions covering up vulnerable emotions. In other words, rage is a wall keeping you from feeling a deeper emotion.
Typically, the deeper emotion is fear or sadness.
Bottled-up emotions will eventually explode, manifesting in anger and rage.
Emotions are part of being human. They are not meant to be ignored.
But when you’ve come to a point of rage, it’s because you haven’t tended to previous uncomfortable emotions. You’ve bottled them up, and it has finally exploded in a rage attack.
Rage is an emotion coming out sideways. It’s been repressed. Emotions are big energy, and repressing them doesn’t make them go away. Dealing with them does.
Using the “Four N’s” to manage rage and anger.
I developed a process to deal with uncomfortable emotions in a productive and empowering way. Tend to them before they explode in a rage attack.
The process is called the “Four N’s,” which are “Notice, Name, Nurture, and Need.” We all want someone to be there for us. This process is a way for you to be there for yourself.
Stop bottling things up and get to the core of what’s happening inside you. This process involves directing your energy toward what’s underneath an uncomfortable feeling before it becomes an outright rage attack.
Here are 4 steps you must take in order to understand and break your cycle of rage attacks.
1. Notice your behavior.
The first step is to become aware of any uncomfortable feelings you have long before they become rage. Noticing this brings more consciousness to unconscious behavior.
Maybe you have a glass of wine in response to a stressful incident. You’re shifting your behavior simply by noticing and acknowledging that you’re having that glass of wine due to an uncomfortable feeling.
This may seem easy, but it’s the hardest step. You need to become diligently aware of your behavior. It takes effort to notice and be willing to do something about it in that moment.
Practice noticing the small, uncomfortable feelings so that you won’t have a buildup of emotions that turn into a rage attack. By noticing, you now have a choice to take it to the next step.
2. Name your uncomfortable feelings.
Once you start noticing your uncomfortable feelings, learn to name them. This is a turning point.
You’re letting go of the old, destructive pattern of outward drama, and instead, turning inward to identify and name the feeling. To name it, ask yourself, “If I’m having an uncomfortable feeling, what is it?”
Your emotions are complex. Rage is when your emotions have become out of control. You want to deal with your emotions long before then.
Understanding that your more vulnerable emotions get covered up by rage will help you heal the destructive behavior of rage attacks.
For simplicity, I’ve categorized feelings into six different types or categories. This is my method. Others have their own. There’s quite a variety.
The six types of feelings you can name are:
- Numbness (“Numb” is technically not an emotion, but when people start “learning to feel,” the first thing they often feel is numbness or a lack of feeling.)
To name the feeling, be present, and turn into your feeling. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?”
All your feelings want is your attention and love, similar to what a child wants and needs.
Your feelings inform you that something isn’t quite right. They discharge when you acknowledge them in a compassionate and non-judgemental way.
Become aware of the different types of emotions and how they feel in your body. Where do you feel them? In your stomach, your heart, or your head?
Your powerful emotions reside in your body. Once you’ve felt and found them, it’s time to nurture them.
3. Nurture the uncomfortable feelings.
Become present in your body. Start to breathe into the feeling. Give it your undivided attention.
This is where your feelings are — in the body. With your hands on your heart and your belly (or wherever you have placed them), you’re literally holding the feeling.
Then as you hold the feeling, begin to breathe into it and be present with it. Nurture the feeling as a loving parent would. Hold the uncomfortable feeling like a baby. Bring the light of your consciousness to that emotional energy within you.
This is compassion in action. Developing this self-nurturing skill is very transformative.
The next time you find yourself with the impulse of a rage attack, you’ll have this skill behind you, supporting you to choose a different path. A path with more compassion and awareness. Because underneath every strong emotion is simply an unmet need.
4. Discover your core needs.
The fourth step is about uncovering an unmet needs. Now that you’ve noticed the emotion, named it, and nurtured it, you can now get to the core of it: Your unmet needs.
As you nurture yourself, ask, “What do I need?”
This is a powerful question to ask yourself when you’re triggered. Rage attacks are destructive and ultimately give your power away.
Your power comes from understanding what’s underneath your emotion. And not staying stuck, frustrated, disempowered, and angry.
When you understand your core needs for understanding, space, patience, or support, you can address those unmet needs. This is not only soothing to your emotion, it’s stabilizing and grounding, as well.
Core needs are normal and natural. Everyone has them. This doesn’t mean you are needy. Getting connected to them and giving them a voice is how you create healthy communication with those you love.
When I refer to knowing your needs, I’m not referring to your desire to have someone change their behavior. You can never control another’s actions. The only actions you can control are yours.
A core need is not saying to your partner, “I need you to stop being a jerk.”
A core need comes from within you. It’s a heartfelt desire that others typically don’t challenge. Your need for gentleness, or your need for space. Maybe it’s a need for understanding.
Letting those you love know what your core needs are doesn’t cause conflict. Moreso, it creates connection.
Now that I’ve shown you a better path for dealing with your next potential rage attack, use these steps and heal your relationships.
Start to notice your emotions. Be able to name them and feel them inside your body.
Take time to nurture them and be present with them, instead of repressing them. And lastly, understand that underneath your rage is simply an unmet need.
Previously published on YourTango