When did you last lose your rag?

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Suzanne, 36, masseuse and mother

I was telling my mother how tired I was after a long day juggling work and children, that I needed her help and I just heard her say the word 'selfish' to me. It was like a red rag to a bull. I got so angry that again I was being told I was selfish at a point of need that I just lost it. I yelled at her in blind rage for about 25 minutes. She was sitting at the back of the car and I was in the front, which was nice because I didn't have to see her. I was crying and shouting and she just sat there. I had moved from being a reasonable, mature person to a child throwing a tantrum. Afterwards I felt drained, empty, self-loathing. But I also said things that I needed to say for a long time.

Emile, 33, builder

It was my son's first birthday. I had just split up with my partner and she lied that she wasn't having a party for him, but when I went round the party was on and she refused to let me in. I kicked down the door and then went berserk, ripping up the telephone wires, pulling a radiator off the wall, headbutting and punching the wall and screaming and shouting. I helped to deliver my son, I built that house - who was she to deny me? In my rage, I felt an almost superhuman strength, but what surprised me is that I was not out of control. I made rational choices as to what I destroyed - I was careful not to hit my ex-partner, for example. Later she took me to court and I was ordered to pay pounds 1,000 damages. I see now that I completely overreacted. After all, my son is only one year old. He won't remember if I was at his party or not.

Angela, 28, typist

I was under pressure to get a letter out for this writer I worked for. I was banging away on his old typewriter when I made a mistake and suddenly he smacked me on the back of my head and then, quite bizarrely, he grabbed my breasts. There was a moment of shocked, stunned silence, then I felt a rumbling from deep, deep inside me and I let rip with the most hectic scream: aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! And as I was screaming I threw over the table with the typewriter and everything on it and stormed out. It was complete rage. I've never actually felt so powerful in my life.

Gary, 45, care worker

A friend who had been depressed asked me to massage his head and while I was doing it, I felt an overwhelming urge to break his neck. I was sick of his depression and felt he was manipulating me for not spending time with him. In the end I just slapped him across the ears and told him it was all part of the massage.

Rose, 39, mother

I was lying in the bath exhausted after a long day when my daughter came in and did something that just flipped me. I reached out from under the bath and hit her. Hard. It was instinctive, quick and very shocking. Afterwards I felt so disgusted with myself, so full of remorse that I made a decision that I would never hit her again. Rage doesn't possess you unless you allow it to possess you, and there is a split second before you act where you still have time to decide, where you still have an element of rationality.

Aviva, 30, poet and musician

It was at a family reunion. Issues were being discussed and emotions were raw and on the surface. My mother wouldn't hear anything I had to say. Eventually I got so frustrated that I stuck my face right in her face, nose to nose, and just screamed. I flipped. It was beyond words, a primal scream. We looked at each other in utter disbelief, but it did break the deadlock. She could have hooked on to the "How dare you!" but I felt her acknowledge something real. There is something about rage that is almost like being possessed.

Jessie, aged 5

I feel rage a lot of times, maybe two or one times a day. I have rage when I want something that I can't have, when I want to give Mum a cuddle and she's too busy, when I'm told to be quiet and I want to be loud. Sometimes I have rage for nothing. I usually scream and throw a tantrum but sometimes I hit my bed and shout: "I'm cross." Slamming doors feels good too. Hitting? Naaaaaaaaaaaa.