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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

The Six Disguises of Rage - Transforming generational rage for inner peace

Apr 29, 2009 07:36PM
Women are experts at holding it all together, seamlessly juggling career, family, household duties, care giving to aging parents and much more.  But there is often a suppressed or unacknowledged amount of rage that simmers under that confident surface. Ruth King, author of Healing Rage—Women Making Inner Peace Possible, says that women tend to go through their lives putting on a good front.

“We manage to look okay from the outside, hiding those periods of despair when we feel everything caving in on us by keeping to ourselves,” says King, a new Charlottean who facilitates workshops to transform the emotional body and mind. “We express confidence on the surface and feel dread or fear underneath. We know we feel chaotic and on the edge, but we hide it, sometimes beautifully, even from ourselves.”

King says disguises are the inner rage child’s armor—the coats we wear year round to cope with the chill of life, even on a warm day. They are our ways to be in control of a chronically frightening life and are symbolic templates of older stories of rage that require our attention. They have played a significant role in our survival but they interfere with our authentic presence in the world. “We continue to wear our disguises because we perceive these obscure expressions of rage as being safer and more acceptable than truth itself,” she says.

King’s research reveals six Disguises of Rage™ worn by high functioning women: 

      Dominance–you are highly critical and judgmental, controlling your world to avoid being controlled by it, and keeping others at arm’s length to avoid your terror of needing them.

      Defiance—you are perpetually angry and use anger to divert your need for love and approval, often from those who disturb you. You use anger to avoid intimacy with the truth of now.

      Distraction—you never have a minute, filling your time with self-defeating diversions to avoid intolerable feelings of emptiness, and to avoid the terror of occupying and resting in your body.

      Devotion—you take perfect care of others often sacrificing your own truth and well being to avoid knowing and receiving the care you desire and often secretly deserve. 

      Dependence—you deny your own personal power staying financially insecure and emotionally young out of your fear of losing support and affiliation with others.

      Depression—you seldom have the energy to do what’s best for you yet serve others well. You live a down-hearted lifestyle to shut down overwhelming feelings of grief and disappointment. 

According to King, disguises keep us from experiencing the pure nature of rage. When we don’t allow this experience, we can’t heal it. Rage should not be understood as a useless emotion—empty of knowledge or wisdom. Rather rage is intense fear—oppressed energy housed deep in our bodies and our bones. “Rage is the daughter of our traumas, twin of our shame, burden of our denied histories, foreign language of our emotional pain, AND the wisdom that helps us heal,” notes King. 

Of course, allowing yourself to feel the pure energies of rage does not mean you run amuck justifying your expression of rage. Healing rage is a process of gradually appreciating—through experiences and practice—that we are much more than what has happened to us in our lives.

“Fundamentally, we are challenged with becoming reacquainted with our basic goodness and life purpose,” states King. “This requires that we give up what is familiar behavior (our disguises), rest in the richness of our current lives, and commit ourselves to choices that support our healing.”


Ruth King, MA, is a respected voice on transforming rage and emotional wellness and weaves psychology, leadership development, metaphysics, and teachings from wisdom traditions into her practice. She is the author of Healing Rage—Women Making Inner Peace Possible. King currently works with organizations, counselors, educators, trauma workers, practitioners of the healing arts, spiritual counselors, artists, activists, mothers, and other women and men who influence the lives of others. For more info visit visit

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