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Anger verses Violence

So often I get referral from the Courts or Probation with the expectation the client receive anger management. It's become a bit of a worn out term. If you were to ask a counsellor about the term the answer you'd probably get is "There's nothing wrong with anger in and of itself... it's normal and we all experience it. The problem is how intense it gets and what we do with it. Anger is simply our fight or flight response kicking in. In the context of an intimate relationship, it's when we experience a disconnect. He/she is not "getting you". They are not understanding or attending to what you need in the relationship in order to feel good about your connection to them. Chances are at the same time they are feeling the same; "you don't understand what I need". The problem with fight or flight is we're so self involved, we're nob longer listening (or maybe caring) as to what the other needs. We become at "logger heads" - in other words STUCK.

Violence is when our anger and aggression gets the best of us. Our intent is to take control of the situation (that's feeling chaotic) and/or beginning to strike out verbally or physically in order to punish what is interpreted as someone intending to hurt us. The result of course is harm done and potentially at the cost of the relationship.

Emotional management means taking responsibility for our emotions, ideally before reactivity gets to where we no longer make rational decisions (we end up hurting the very person we most cherish). Emotional management means learning and using tools that help us calm down and listen and understand each other so that we may best stay connected, or in other words, be loving towards one another.

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