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Violent Behavior

Question:

Recently I have noticed a pattern of violent behavior. I have become aware of it on 3 occasions. It’s been with men only and I am a woman. They’ll push a button and I’ll get so angry I’ll try to cause harm to them. On the last occasion I went after the guy with a knife. I have never been violent before in my life and everyone knows me as a sweetheart who is always helping others. What is wrong with me? Am I suppressing something that should come out?

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

Many times violence is the result of anger. I cannot tell you the direct source of this anger, and it is possible that you are suppressing something, but unmanaged stress often creates outburst of violence. If you have been under excessive stress try to figure out the source of this stress. Extra pressure from a work environment, difficulties in relationships, or any noticeable change in your lifestyle can effect your stress levels. One of the best things you can do to lower your stress levels is learn relaxation techniques. Often times these are simple things you can do such as read a book, take a long warm bath, listen to music, talk with an old friend, or go for a hike in the woods. Another thing to look for is a pattern to your anger. If the situations that cause these violent outburst are similar there are several things which might help you. First, if it is a situation that can be easily avoided such as a bar, try limiting your time there. If the situation leading to these fits of violence is unavoidable you can try imagining the situation while at home. Play out what happens and think of a more socially acceptable reaction you could take. Try going through this alternative reaction to the conflict several times and then if the situation arises remind yourself that you can deal with this and try to carry out your planned reaction. If you try to remain calm the anger of the moment will less likely take over your personality. Also try to figure out why these buttons provoke such an intense reaction. There may be a past issue that you need to confront. If none of these techniques are helpful, and the problem persist you could consider seeking counseling. Best of luck, – Anne

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