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evegrimm's avatar

Do you believe that everyone has a "well of rage" within them?

Asked by evegrimm (3695 points ) September 19th, 2009

As in, does everyone have a trigger that will cause them to “go off”?

(I’m mostly not talking about murderers and other dangerous people, but normal, everyday people that sometimes just…explode.)

If you don’t believe that everyone has this “well”, what do you think causes some people to have it? Is it genetic? Or is it environmentally caused? Or a combination of the two? Or some other, previously unmentioned, reason?

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21 Answers

Ame_Evil's avatar

I believe people have thresholds for rage which are genetically inherited. So some people can cope easier with frustration than others before they act out.

(excuse my poor explanation here, but I just want to make what I think understandable :D) I also believe that everyone has say a bank of frustration/aggression which fills up. This can fill really quickly if loads of frustrating things happens in a short period of time which’ll cause the person to act out and perhaps commit aggressive acts such as violence (at least verbal perhaps). It also can decay over time so if only a few frustrating things happens over a month you are less likely to act out. This links with the first point I mentioned, where you reach a threshold which causes you acting out.

Other factors such as context cannot ever be ignored though: such as weather (lol but yes), who the aggression is faced at (eg if there has been a long history with the person), stress etc.

My reasons for these views stems from personal observation, introspection, and education in psychology.

markyy's avatar

Everyone is just a bucket, your bucket may hold 10 gallon of water or maybe 20. Whether your bucket is enormous and fills slowly or small and fills fast (stress), sooner or later there will be a last drop of water that causes the bucket to overflow.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Well I’m not normal or everyday, so I guess I don’t qualify to answer this question. =)

My well of rage, or bucket, holds more now than it used to. As think as we age, we become more desensitized to the things that piss us off. My anger anymore is just indignant annoyance. I speak loudly whatever my mood, because nothing makes an oponent cower like out-yelling them. If I get real quiet, look out, as I am weighing my options on how best to dispose of the body. =)

jca's avatar

i have never “raged” over anything. i’ve been mad, frustrated, angry but to me the word rage conjures up the whole physical/emotional blowup, red face, fists clenched, can’t be reasoned with, slamming things – to me that’s rage. i don’t have it and i’m 43. i would think if i did i’d know by now. if something bothers me i think about what exactly about it bothers me, what i can do now to make myself feel better (short term) and what i might need to do in future (long term) to solve the problem.

hearkat's avatar

Personally, my rage has been focused toward those who abused me or neglected to protect me from abuse. It would be triggered at other times when I felt threatened or mistreated.

As I’ve dealt with the lingering issues from childhood abuse, my fuse has grown longer. Nowadays it is rare for me to raise my voice, and I was once quite a yeller.

I think that nearly all people have the capacity for rage when under extreme circumstances. Fortunately, not too many people are placed in those situations.

rebbel's avatar

Mother Nature helped me out in the rage-well-department, i feel.
I only had my bucket flown over once and that was some sixteen years ago, when somebody threatened and actually hurt my kid-brother.
My rage came from nowhere (well, it came from inside me, but i had no idea it was there).
I beat the guy.
Good.

I was shocked by my fury and promised myself to never get to that point ever again.
Since then i experienced rage two more times, but on both occasions i was warned to not let the rage come to action.
The warningsign being my rightarm be filled with ‘electricity’.
Faced with that electric arm i just retreated from the situation, took some cool-off-time and, after returning, told the rage-triggerer it would be best to stop his actions because i was getting pretty pissed and he (and me) wouldn’t like it to see me totaly pissed.
I subsequently explained why i was annoyed, in a calm manner, and we both were cool and clear.
Not friends, though.

wildflower's avatar

I don’t think it’s ‘built-in’, but I think we all have the capability of building up enough rage to fill a well if we don’t try to forgive, forget, accept and adjust as appropriate.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Let someone do something nasty to one of your kids or your spouse and see how fast your bucket fills up. Rage is inherent in everyone, all it takes is to have someone push the right button.

I have said I could never kill another person, but you know what, if someone threatened my wife or even my dog, I get the feeling I could tear them limb from limb simply out of rage and pure adrenaline. I’ve experienced a pure adrenaline rush a couple of times in my life, and it is amazing what sort of feats of strength are possible in that state.

AstroChuck's avatar

I don’t know about everyone but I have a tipping point. It takes a while to get to it but it’s definitely there. So don’t cross me. I’m a postal employee.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Every one has the capacity to let their anger get the best of them.
It’s better to let stuff slide rather than let it build up to a point where a person explodes in a fit of fury.

It’s interesting how when people let fly with their anger that they tend to feel like they’re the incredible hulk or something but the reality of throwing a tantrum is far less dignified.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I believe so. I really like something @Zen has shared on here a few times, I’ve really taken it to heart:

Anger gets you in trouble. Pride keeps you there.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. I don’t think we all have a well of rage, though some people do. I do think that all people can snap given the right trigger, but the rage doesn’t necessarily come from pent up anger/frustration/fear, etc. I think we are all capable of becoming enraged, some may never experience it because they never become faced with their triggers.

XOIIO's avatar

Of course! I can take quite a bit, but after a while I end up snapping! Even after kicking the guys ass I think about what else I should have done and plan it over again. It lasts up to 1day sometimes, maybe 2 but thats an extreme.

cookieman's avatar

I certainly do, unfortunately. It’s actually one of my biggest hurdles.

The bucket analogy above is spot on. I’ve always had a very long fuse (or large bucket) but could never see when it was about to overflow. I’ve always been terrible at managing stress, saying “no”, asking for help or doing things for myself.

And when I hit that tipping point…kaBOOM. I have destroyed property, screamed at the top of my lungs, driven like a maniac and scared the living shit out of my girlfriend/wife.

As I’ve gotten older, Ive become better at dealing with it and it happens far less frequently; but it’s still there…just under the surface.

It is, by far, my biggest regret in life.

Zuma's avatar

Everyone certainly has the capacity for rage, but some people are much quicker to it and it is much more explosive and deadly. The criminologist Lonnie Athens describes a step-by-step process of brutalization and humiliating provocation that leads to violent outbursts of rage; at the end stage, avenging even the most trivial acts of perceived disrespect. If you want to understand how people develop hair triggers and explode in deadly rage, read this very short book.

The psychologist Philip Greven describes how corporal punishment (which is often deeply humiliating to children) tends to produce bullying, scapegoating, domestic violence and apocalyptic rage in people subjected to it. This more or less explains the sort of background rage in a society, from the hatred of blacks and illegal immigrants, to the more amorphous free-floating anger of the birthers and the teabaggers. It also explains the fire and brimstone wrath of religious types and their furnace-like hatreds of people unlike themselves.

And this even applies on an international scale, such as when the British, at the height of their empire, made people feel like second class citizens in their own country—sort of how we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. People develop deep wells of rage in response tend to be people who have been seriously humiliated so if you want to really understand terrorism and terrorists, you need only look at the humiliations they have suffered at the hands of an oppressive power. This applies to the British in Northern Ireland, the Basques in Spain, the Algerians in France, and the Muslims whom we have tortured for years on end and then wonder why they hate us.

I have never even come close to losing my temper my whole life until a few years back when I got sent to prison on a drug charge. There, the guards think they have a license to humiliate you; and I must say, that it is a good thing they don’t let prisoners have anything sharp or I would have come very close to stabbing one of these motherfuckers in the neck. I never had a well of anger before, but I do now. It has taken years for it to subside to the extent it has, and it is still something I have to work on.

So, no, it isn’t genetic; nor does is spring from some well of incomprehensible evil. I’ve known literally hundreds of angry men teetering on the edge of violence, and every single one of them has been seriously humiliated, screwed over and betrayed in some fundamental way. If you ever wondered why gangsta rap is so all-fired angry, you should see the absolutely horrible and blatantly discriminatory way that blacks are treated in prison.

Damn_Tony's avatar

Yea I do, when get really pissed off I can hold it in, but then I somehow explode if the rage is still there. After some ass beating I am calm. And that usually ends it for me.

rozetta's avatar

It’s part of our instinct, as animals. So yes.

Val123's avatar

Well, all humans have the capacity to rage. How deep that well goes depends, I think, on how often you empty out that well. I think the less you empty is, the deeper it gets. I dump mine out in small increments on a regular basis. My well’s only about…5 inches deep!

Confuscious's avatar

My biological father and his whole family have serious rage and anger problems. I unfortunately inherited this. The smallest thing can trigger me. I literally see red when I go into a rage. I become a danger to myself and everyone around me.
I realise it’s very wrong and for that reason I have taught myself to keep this under control. I have a very tight hold on my emotions, especially my temper. Sometimes I slip up, but for the most part I can control it.
Something like this can be inherited, like in my case, but it doesn’t mean you have to act on it. That is your own personal choice. It can be controlled.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I know I do…my brother on the other hand does not…I call him Brother Theresa ;)

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I feel like the calmest person in the world, and at this time I would say no, I have no rage in me. But just wait until something sets me off, and a little red flame inside me just goes “whoosh” and turns into a blazing inferno. I can take all kinds of stress and not freak, but I have a few pet peeves that will do it every time. Whenever I break a nail, my kids run for cover (even now when they are all adults). It’s more of an inside joke, now. Also if I can’t find something of mine – that sets me off.

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