Guyana Chronicle - Friday, 04 May 2012 22:01
DOMESTIC violence has been in the news and has been the subject of commentaries and editorials in the media. It is a major social problem in all countries of the world including Guyana.
This brief article examines the link between excessive anger and domestic violence with special focus on males because statistically most offenders, worldwide, are males. Four main reasons why males in particular get angry and remain angry within the context of the partner relationship are identified and briefly discussed.
The term anger refers to “excessive anger” throughout the rest of this article. Excessive anger is out-of-control anger whereby the individual’s behaviour is driven by his feelings more than his thinking.
One of the main reasons males get angry is to maintain power and control in the relationship. Power is the possession of control and/or command over others. Control is to exercise restraint or direction over others. Anger in this regard is usually a short-term and expensive emotion. Using excessive anger to control others will be short-term because sooner or later it will lose its’ grip over the other. It can be expensive because it can cost the male loss of significant relationships and legal fees. Often males use power for destructive rather than constructive purposes, meaning doing harm to others and/or oneself.
Another reason males get angry is on account of poor communication skills. Often they find it difficult to listen to what their partner is saying. The male may experience difficulty sharing feelings and stating what he wants. This often leads to misunderstanding the motives of his partner. Males often indulge in analysis and logic rather than feeling and expressing; this only serves to escalate anger. Anger then becomes the only safe feeling to express.
A third reason for excessive anger is using feelings of anger to avoid feeling other emotions such as feelings of sadness or depression. Often this image is reinforced by the media where “real men” are portrayed as angry men.
Another reason why males become and remain angry is the adrenaline rush. Some may even find it enjoyable in that it gives them a temporary, pleasant sensation along with some degree of power in those moments. Adrenaline is a key hormone which is involved in the stress or “fight/flight or freeze” response. The stress response is a built-in biological reaction for emergency situations.
This leads to the anger habit. Anger habit implies using excessive anger as a solution for every difficulty. Often the male does not realise this is a bad habit in the sense that he is not making conscious choices but only repeating habitual, past behaviours.
In conclusion, in order to reduce domestic violence we have to teach the perpetrator, mostly males in our society, not to be afraid to feel emotions such as sadness and depression which often lead to excessive anger.
Also not to use anger in order to get what he wants or to avoid getting what he does not want. In this way, he can build relationships based on equality and respect rather than power and control.