Road rage … can we regain control of our reactions?

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Road rage … can we regain control of our reactions?

Recently in the media there were the following two headlines about road rage:

Report: Confrontation over parking spot in Beijing leaves toddler dead [i]

Man dies after Biggleswade Asda parking fight [ii]


When we read these articles about road rage resulting in death, is it a call for us all to stop? To stop and ponder the momentum we are living in that could result in the death of people ... over a parking space!!

What is really going on?

A week before these headlines I had first-hand experience of road rage ...

I was stuck in a traffic jam where a man completely lost it. He started screaming so loudly that we could hear him with our windows up, screaming at his wife to not tell him what to do. He then started a manoeuvre to get himself out of the junction and his driving was so extreme that he stalled, restarted and screeched up the road; all the time screaming and raging very loudly. He should not at that moment have been in charge of a vehicle. He was a deadly force in charge of a ton of metal.

The week before I had been in traffic congestion on the same piece of road and I had lost it because the driver in front held me and everyone else up. I pulled up beside the driver and mouthed, in full aggression, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???” I was shocked at my reaction and saw it as an opportunity to reflect on my state of being that had led to my overly aggressive response to such an insignificant event.

So what is going on under all this rage?

When we allow ourselves to get progressively more disconnected from our loving essence this builds a tension that can erupt in violence.

Every time we react to something and then act out in a reactionary behaviour, it contributes to an energetic pool of disconnection, which in turn feeds the violent behaviour. It is a vicious cycle. The other way round, every act that reconnects us back to ourselves, lessens this pool.

The key is to accept the realisation of our responsibility of what goes into the pool or not ... for those headlines could be about any of our societal problems, and if we want to keep them just as headlines and not really feel the impact of them, just imagine what it would be like to see someone die over a car parking space!

How are we responsible for a death in Shanghai when we live in Chile?

Of course it is not a direct link, but we need to understand that these incidents are not random acts of people losing control, but rather that there is a momentum that results in the loss of sense and control. The death of a toddler, albeit a more extreme example, begins with a first step away from living with the awareness that one can live lovingly, gently and tenderly. There is a continuum of disconnection that occurs; from slamming the door of your car to the extreme of picking up a toddler and slamming her to the ground so she dies. Although the toddler’s death is more extreme and violent, it is the same momentum that takes me a step away from the love and gentleness that I innately am. In other words, the same built-up momentum applies to any moment of 'losing it', be it road rage, fighting with a loved one, hurting oneself, etc.

We can stop the momentum; we can breathe our gentle breath, a simple tool for re-connecting ... I saw an infant on the underground and I was struck (yet again) by how utterly still and full of love the baby was.

We are that, we are love, still and full and every time we step away and behave otherwise, we create a momentum that ends in an unloving act.

We can stop. We can breathe gently. It is a choice.

Ready ... the next breath is yours to choose.

When we choose to understand our anger we acknowledge that every step away from our gentle loving nature is creating a momentum that can be destructive. By taking responsibility to stay connected to the gentleness we are, we can avoid damaging and violent behaviour.

  • [i]

    Staff, CNN. 29 July 2013. "Report: Confrontation Over Parking Spot In Beijing Leaves Toddler Dead". Retrieved from
    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/27/world/asia/china-toddler-death/index.html

  • [ii]

    BBC News. 4 August 2013. "Man Dies After Biggleswade Asda Parking Fight".
    Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-23568236

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    By Vanessa McHardy, MA Integrative Child Psychotherapist

    Vanessa loves to help young people and adults to have an understanding of how they learn and how they can express all of themselves in all areas of their lives. True learning is at the heart of Vanessa’s life in all ways.