When Anger turns to Rage – The Difference

Posted September 28th, 2008

Phone Rage is on the increase in the world of business. So what’s the difference between anger and rage?“Anger is only a natural reaction; one of the mind’s ways of reacting to things that it perceives to be wrong. While anger can sometimes lead people to do shocking things, it can also be an instinct to show people that something isn’t right.”Anger is a feeling that we all encounter from time to time, and frequently we experience it as a response to frustration, hurt, disappointment, and threats (real or imagined). It is often related to a perceived loss of control over factors affecting our integrity—our beliefs and how we feel about ourselves. In some cases, the anger has to do with the inability of others to meet our own unrealistic expectations.

The rational expression of anger in response to these concerns can offer several benefits. Most important is the mobilising of inner resources needed to overcome fear. When we feel angry, we have some confidence in responding to the danger or threat.

Fear leads to flight; anger sustains fight. While rational anger can be constructive in feeling competent to confront a threatening situation, we may react to the threat with more anger than is warranted. However, anger in itself is not necessarily a problem and can often be managed to resolution.

Rage is the accumulation of unexpressed anger and perceived disrespectful transactions that finally flow to the surface. When we become enraged, usually there is the belief that someone is deliberately attempting to incite us to become angry. Within this ego-bruised state, we are convinced that trying to be reasonable will prove to be ineffective, and therefore we will need to “even the score” or methodically disarm the offending party. It is when this rage surfaces that we become difficult to deal with. “Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.” ~ Author UnknownIt is important to make the differentiation between ‘rage’ and ‘anger’ as we might often encounter anger from a caller when they are dissatisfied, but when this anger becomes vehement, aggressive or even personally abusive we can consider it rage. Often, badly handled anger will turn to rage as the customer becomes more out of control.This article is an excerpt from the Trainer Bubble training materials on ‘Dealing with Phone Rage’, which can be purchased from our website at


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