Thursday Thought — Looking at His Anger Problem
When a man chronically mistreats his partner, his anger is often his most obvious quality. The result is his partner is likely to believe that his anger is the problem, and therapists or other professional (and church leaders) who get involved tend to jump to the same conclusion. Many judges order abusive men to attend “anger management” programs, which won’t help. Why not? Because his rage has little to do with how he behaves.
His problems isn’t that he’s angry; it’s that he’s abusive. Let’s look at the difference. Angry behaviors are things like speaking loudly in a resentful tone of voice, waving his arms around, pacing back and forth, or storming out of the room. Abusive behaviors are things like call you names, twisting your words around, throwing things or punching walls, treating you like you’re beneath him, not letting you say your side of the argument, or cheating on you.
Compare these lists with respect to your own relationship. Are you partner’s angry behaviors the main reason why you are feeling bad? Doesn’t the problem actually have much more to do with his abusive behaviors? A partner who is too angry can cause you stress, but abusive behaviors are far more destructive. Almost every time a woman complains about her partner’s anger, it’s really his abusiveness that is harming her.
This is why “anger management” doesn’t do any good for an abusive man. If he learns techniques to lower his anger level, he simply shifts to being abusive in a more calm or calculated way — in other words, his abusiveness continues, it just gets less angry. What good does that do?
An abusive man can’t change by dealing with his anger, his drinking, his childhood, or any other issue in his life. He can only change by facing up to his abusiveness, and dealing with that problem head-on.
[Entry from Lundy Bancroft’s Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?* pp35-6]
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