Dickson Post

Power, not anger, often is motivation behind violence


Once again it is time to talk about domestic violence. One thing that doesn’t get discussed enough is the anger that is associated with it. People are often surprised when I say domestic violence is not an indication that the perpetrator has an anger problem. We actually have classes for domestic violence and we have different classes for anger management and they’re not interchangeable. Even people that attend domestic violence classes sometimes say they’re in anger management classes. Maybe that sounds better to them. Having an anger problem doesn’t sound as bad to people as having a domestic violence problem being violent against loved ones. There is a big difference and on some level we all know it.

We have talked about power and control and that is what domestic violence is all about. Perpetrators often believes that they should have all the power an be in control and that they are entitled to being in charge. They want to rule the roost, be the king or queen of the castle and feel anyone that questions it is in the wrong. 

Anger comes when the perpetrator’s power is questioned. If one does not do what the perpetrator wants or won’t stop doing what the perpetrator wants them to stop doing, they become angry. They may feel that they’re not in control and will do whatever they need to do to get that control back. The problem is that they were not entitled to the obedience they expected. 

Yes, anger is often present when domestic violence occurs. However, it’s not anger that causes the domestic violence; it’s where the anger comes from that causes domestic violence. The belief that no one can defy them causes a lot of problems including domestic violence.

People with real “anger problems” tend to be more along the line of hotheads with road rage. They can’t get along with anybody. As a matter of fact, most perpetrators of domestic violence do not show their violence to people outside of their home and some family members. When violence occurs, neighbors, coworker, friends and people they see on a regular basis are shocked and say they just can’t believe that such a good person could have done that. They may describe them as being very gentle, very kind and say they’ve never even seen him angry.

I know of many situations where the perpetrator has “acted” very angry and in a rage, saying later that they lost control and blacked out. They often say they don’t even remember what happened. In reality they weren’t even angry. I know that that’s hard to believe, but I promise you it’s true. They needed to use that appearance of anger and rage to get what they wanted. Like I said, it is all about power and control.

Our next 23rd Judicial District Coalition to end Domestic Violence meets at noon on June 2 at Main Street Interventions. You are invited.

Patti Flores-Pugh is the Founder and Director of Main Street Interventions. For help or to help you can call the following numbers: The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); Women Are Safe’s crisis line 1-800-470-1117; Dickson Area Crisis Line – (615) 740-8329; Main Street Interventions (615) 740-7100; National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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