Anger Management Issues vs. Domestic Violence Issues

Anger management interventions are often mistakenly recommended, or even court-ordered, for individuals who perpetrate domestic violence. This is, in the vast majority of cases, not an appropriate referral and not appropriate treatment for perpetrators of domestic violence. There are significant differences between an individual with chronic anger management problems and an individual who is aggressive with an intimate partner. People who engage in partner abuse are exerting power and control over the partner. In most cases, the behaviors seen in domestic violence situations do not generalize to persons outside that relationship.

Perpetrators of partner abuse will typically be aggressive with each intimate partner once the cycle of partner abuse has begun and so many will have serial abusive relationships with intimate partners. Anger management classes do not address the specifics of battering and other forms of domestic violence although, superficially, anger management may address certain similar issues. For example, many of the thinking patterns and behaviors seen in individuals with anger management problems will also be present in those who are involved in domestic violence perpetration; however, there are significant differences in the dynamics.

One of the reasons batterers, or perpetrators of domestic violence, continue partner abuse is that they do not obtain the proper treatment. Referral to anger management instead of to domestic violence offender treatment, or batterers’ intervention programs, fails to provide the batterer with the awareness and skills needed to break the cycle of intimate partner abuse. Further, referral to anger management can, in fact, give a batterer justification for continuing violence against a partner. This occurs when the concept of ‘out of control’ anger is used to justify behaviors of domestic violence that are choices for the batterer.

Perpetrators of domestic violence will often excuse their own behavior by saying they were ‘out of control’ or ‘blacked out in a rage’; however, these individuals demonstrate great control over their behaviors in many ways. For example, most perpetrators of domestic violence will be able to assume ‘cool, calm and collected’ demeanors if others such as the police intervene. If the individual were truly ‘out of control’ his anger would shift from his partner/victim to the police when they appear.

Domestic violence is about the choice to have and demonstrate power and control over one’s intimate partner. Anger problems involve impulsivity, poor stress management and chronic feelings of various degrees of anger. An individual with anger management issues will typically not be able to discriminate about when and where anger occurs. Additionally, someone with anger management issues will not consistently choose who is the target of anger but will likely have anger toward multiple people for multiple ‘reasons’. Domestic violence, on the other hand, typically occurs behind closed doors and has a specific and intended victim. Anger management problems, conversely, are evident wherever the individual goes.

For Anger Management & Domestic Violence (BIPP) Classes in Houston, TX call 281-477-9105 and/or send an email to gregory@emote-institute.com.

Gregory Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute
http://www.ami-tx.com
http://www.dvi-tx.com
http://www.emote-institute.com
http://www.gregorykyles.wordpress.com

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