Aggression, Anger Management and Domestic Violence

Aggression is a behavior that harms, or seeks to harm, someone. It also is behavior that does or attempts to do property damage. Aggression includes mental, emotional and psychological abuse as well as violence such as physical assault, vandalism and other destruction of property (even one’s own). Other aggression can also be reckless and endangering behaviors such as driving recklessly, the reckless handling of firearms or other behavior that could potentially harm another person or property. Reckless and endangering behavior conveys a strong message that the safety of others (and their property) is not important. Furthermore, reckless and endangering behaviors ‘say’ that if others are harmed or there is property loss that is not important. Verbal abuse—the use of words to coerce, threaten, intimidate or humiliate another person, is also considered to be aggressive behavior.

Stalking through physical presence or by technological means such as phone calls, text messaging, and emails is also aggressive behavior.
It is a myth that anger leads to aggression or that aggression is a natural expression of anger. Many erroneously believe that the emotion of anger will, over time, build to the point that anger will be expressed through aggression. There are some individuals who go very quickly and habitually to aggressive behavior whenever the emotion of anger is felt and for these people, aggression naturally flows from their experience of the emotion anger. Many individuals with anger management problems never use aggression but benefit significantly from the skills and techniques taught in anger management classes. Anger without physical aggression is still an anger management problem.

Another form of aggression is used by individuals who engage in intimate partner abuse. This type of aggression stems from a choice to exert dominance over the intimate partner. In these situations aggression can be done without the buildup of emotion as is seen in people with anger management problems. Although a batterer of intimate partners, if observed during aggression, may use the same behaviors as those who express anger through aggression, battering is not typically an issue of anger management.

Domestic violence has its roots in very different dynamics than does aggression that is the result of unmanaged anger. Very specifically, domestic violence stems from beliefs and attitudes about intimate relationships and the need for dominance, power and control over partners that are considered ‘less than’ the aggressor in worth and status. Management of battering requires treatment that is significantly different than treatment for anger management. The issues of interpersonal power and control dynamics within intimate relationships must be addressed and corrected. Anger management, on the other hand, addresses the ineffective and, at times, dangerous mishandling of strong emotion.

People with anger management problems can learn to use techniques that prevent aggression. Anger management involves the controlling of anger escalation so that aggression does not occur in those who escalate emotionally to such behavior. In contrast, domestic violence treatment focuses upon the beliefs and attitudes about intimate relationships and partners that make partner abuse and aggression an option or choice.

Anger Management & Domestic Violence (BIPP) Classes in Houston, TX

Gregory Kyles, LPC, CAMF
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute

Domestic Violence Costs $8.3 Billion Annually

from Forbes

Today domestic violence is known as a social, business and health priority in addition to being a criminal issue. Not only does it cause personal suffering, but domestic violence also reduces productivity, leads to absenteeism and drives up health care costs. And unless people are trained to look for it and ask about it, domestic violence is rarely identified.

Full Article:

Gregory A. Kyles, LPC, CEAP, PHR, CAMF
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute of Texas

Thinking Distortions in Anger Management Problems

anger 13For people with anger management problems, patterns of thinking are key in building and maintaining high levels of stress and anger.  Patterns of thinking also trigger and ‘validate’ the angry person’s choice of behaviors used to express anger.  For people who have difficulty with stress management, stating their needs directly, confusing anger with assertiveness and managing their emotions and emotional behavior, examining their patterns of thinking helps a great deal.

Thinking distortions–sometimes called thinking errors or thinking mistakes–are ways of thinking that support and fuel anger problems.  These patterns of thinking are learned and can be unlearned.  Anger management classes can help people with thinking distortions learn more effective ways of thinking that will reduce anger levels and eliminate problem behaviors.  This happens as anger management classes focus on building skills that increase emotional intelligence or how one will understand, use, manage and express emotion.

Thoughts and emotions are inseparable.  Thinking patterns trigger how we will emotionally respond to people, situations and events. Since thoughts are directly related to emotions and since anger is first and foremost an emotion, patterns of thinking are the basic building blocks of anger management problems.
Some of the common thinking errors that lead to problem behaviors and anger management issues are:

• Making excuses for one’s behavior
• Blaming others
• Justifying one’s actions
• Re-defining issues and problems to avoid focusing on one’s own responsibility and to put the focus on something or someone else
• Using super-optimism to convince yourself that, despite your behavior, things will go your way
• Lying by stating an untruth (commission); leaving out pertinent facts (omission) or by pretending to agree when you do not (assent)
• Making fools of others as a way of taking the focus of yourself
• Building up to dramatic behavior by accumulating ‘evidence’ that you should
• Assuming what others are thinking, feeling or are motivated by without asking them
• Ingratiating—‘sucking up’ to others to get your way, take the ‘heat’ off you
• Minimizing the importance of an issue or your own behavior
• Using power plays to manipulate others
• Playing the victim to ‘turn the tables’, get sympathy rather than be held accountable
• Creating drama to confuse the situation, exert dominance and control
• Not taking ownership of responsibility for your behavior, your part in the problem or the solution that is needed
• Maintaining and image that is important to you rather than dealing with real issues and feelings at hand

Anger management classes will help you identify the thinking patterns that you use and understand how they contribute to chronic feelings of anger and acting out behaviors.

Anger Management Classes in Houston, Texas

For additional information about anger control skills visit or call 713-477-9105.

Gregory A. Kyles, LPC, CEAP, PHR, CAMF
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute of Texas


anger 9aPseudo-violence or ‘near violence’ are the behaviors that threaten, menace and seek to control others without actual physical, ‘hands-on’ aggression.  These types of behaviors seriously impact others and are forms of emotional, psychological and mental abuse.  People with anger management problems often attempt to be controlling of others through intimidation, menacing and other nonverbal threats such as:

  • Posturing in an intimidating way; using body size and presence to communicate “I’m in charge” or “I may hurt you”.  “Getting the message across” by getting too close to others, standing over others, etc.
  • Using forceful gestures such as jabbing, pounding, waving hands, pointing, clenching fists
  • Forcefully handling objects
  • Using facial expressions to communicate anger—rolling eyes, ‘smirking’, staring, clenching teeth, widening eyes
  • Driving recklessly
  • Using body movements such as pacing, moving rapidly, ‘circling’, tapping, bouncing leg, etc.
  • Using defensive body language such as crossing one’s arms, turning one’s back, shaking the head, refusing eye contact, holding up a hand to ‘stop’ the other
  •  ‘Accidently’ bumping into others, dropping things to break them, knocking things over
  • Stalking—appearing unexpectedly, following others in their daily routines, driving by their homes or in their neighborhoods in order to be seen

Such behaviors strongly communicate anger and are forms of manipulation, menacing, and intimidation. They are intended to induce fear.  They are also used to exert dominance and gain control over others and/or situations nonverbally.  While such displays of anger do not use words, they still powerfully communicate anger and threat to whoever is present.  The angry person displays such behavior while focusing upon having others witness it and respond submissively or in fear.

Anger can become obsessive as in stalking behaviors in which the angry person becomes preoccupied with the target of the anger.  Anger can also have other obsessive qualities that do not result in such extreme behavior.  Having thoughts that cannot ‘let go’ of the notion that others have wronged you, need to ‘be taught a lesson’; ‘won’t get away with that’ or other such triggers to a desire for revenge or retaliation are also obsessive.  The amount of time spent in such thoughts can interfere with other activities and eventually can lead to dysfunctional behavior such as outbursts and other confrontations, as well as self-sabotaging and self-destructive behaviors in the workplace and in significant relationships.  The thoughts that preoccupy us will determine behavior.  Frequent anger-related thoughts are a strong indication of anger management problems and a need for an anger management assessment.

Anger Management Classes in Houston, Texas

For additional information about anger control skills visit or call 713-477-9105.

Gregory A. Kyles, LPC, CEAP, PHR, CAMF
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute of Texas

Anger vs. Aggression

anger man7Many people mistakenly believe that someone with anger management problems is physically violent.  Actually, many people who have never been physically aggressive have anger management problems.  Any anger problem can benefit from anger management classes. It is the cost of anger to yourself and others that will determine your need for help.

Keep in mind that since anger is an emotion, it is not necessarily problematic in itself.  However, anger does occur along a continuum of feeling that can be mild, moderate or severe. It is important to decide where your anger fits on that continuum.   Additionally, the frequency of anger is an important factor in considering whether anger is problematic or not. It is the level of stress you experience, your ability to do effective stress management and the consequences of poor stress management that determine whether anger management classes are appropriate for you.

Culturally, we have many ways to describe anger management problems that can confuse the issue when you are trying to decide if anger management classes are appropriate.  For example, you might think about your current situation as “feeling upset”, “irritated”, “overwhelmed” or “frustrated”.  You might believe that if others would change or be more reasonable, you would feel better.  You might think a change in environment is the solution.  Focusing on the environment and others may be confusing the issue, too.

Many people with anger problems do not want to think of themselves as having problematic anger.  Often, again, this is because many equate anger problems with “being out of control”, being violent and harming others in serious and physical ways.   However, chronic feelings of anger are problematic in themselves.  Chronic anger, however “mild” is often directed toward others in verbal outbursts, sarcasm, criticism, and communication styles that are ineffective.  Nonphysical anger can sabotage employment and relationships and create health problems.

Verbal anger is typically experienced by others as verbal abuse and can cause mental, emotional and psychological harm.  In the workplace, verbal anger can be viewed as harassment and/or creating a toxic work environment.  In fact, verbal anger alone can be considered a form of mental, emotional and psychological violence.  Individuals with chronic feelings of anger are likely to interact with others in ways that are mentally, emotionally and psychologically abusive.  Even passivity, or avoidance, can impact others in abusive ways.  Passive aggression in relationships, for example, punishes others without obvious displays of verbal or physical aggression.  Passive expressions of anger can also be harassing such as the intentional failure to fulfill commitments and job responsibilities, for example. Such behavior is considered problematic workplace anger.

Problematic anger can cover a wide range of behavior.  However it is manifested, however, it remains problematic—for others who are involved with the person who has anger management issues as well as for the individual who has them.

For additional information about anger control skills visit or call 713-477-9105.

Gregory A. Kyles, LPC, CEAP, PHR, CAMF
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute of Texas

How Do I Know if I Need Anger Management Classes?

There are many ways to know if you need an anger management class, but only a few examples are listed here.  If you are not sure if you need an anger management class, consult a professional and get an anger management evaluation.
Some indications that you have an anger management problem are that you are controlling, use intimidation or manipulation, feel chronic hostility, have frequent interpersonal conflicts, or are known by others to be an angry employee, an angry boss or angry spouse.  If you are questioning whether your anger is problematic, the following questions may help you better decide:

Do I use anger in the workplace?
Do I have trouble expressing feelings other than anger?
Do I engage in angry behaviors to the point of harassment or abuse?
Do I confuse assertiveness with anger?
Have I ever thought that I need help to manage my anger?
Have I been told that I use intimidation or manipulation in relationships?
Have I been told that I am controlling?
Do I find myself blowing up in times of stress?
Do I have chronic stress?
Do I do property damage, make threats, get into physical fights, and yell?
Do I find myself focusing on things, situations and people and becoming angry?
Do I find myself interrupting others, becoming impatient, not able to listen?
Do I resist seeking compromise, or coming to an honest compromise, when there is conflict?
Do I have trouble stating my needs and become resentful when others do not meet them?
Do I have effective techniques for stress management?

These are some of the questions that can help you decide if you may need anger management classes.  The professional who will conduct an anger management assessment will ask similar questions to help you determine if anger management classes can decrease your stress, lower anger levels, improve your coping skills in everyday life, improve your relationships, and better equip you to meet your own personal goals. If you have problematic anger, anger management classes will help you in all these areas by increasing your emotional intelligence—your awareness of emotional states, and your knowledge of how to manage them appropriately.  As your emotional intelligence increases through anger management classes, you will find that many, many areas of your life improve.  Anger is a natural emotion, but what we do with anger can make our lives unmanageable and problematic or can create a life in which we are more successful and less stressed.
An anger management assessment will identify your current emotional intelligence—what you know about emotions in yourself and others, how to express emotions appropriately and how to manage them successfully.  Anger management classes will increase emotional intelligence giving you the tools you need to be less stressed, in more satisfying relationships, manage your workplace experience more effectively and, overall, improve your daily coping and performance.

For additional information please visit

Anger Management Classes and Anger Management – Executive Coaching available in Houston, Texas.

Gregory A. Kyles, LPC, CEAP, CAMF
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute of Texas
Houston, Texas

What is Anger: Identifying the Need for Help with Anger

Anger is an emotional state. It can be triggered by both internal and external cues. As an emotion, anger is a natural response and serves many purposes. It is based in human biology (as are other emotions) and serves us through the survival drive in its most fundamental form. Anger is a strong protective force. It creates physiological responses that signal us and prepare us to take action if needed by the drive to survive.

Apart from its basic and instinctual purpose, however, anger is also useful in protecting one’s self psychologically and emotionally. Feelings of anger can signal, for example, that one feels taken advantage of, dismissed or violated in some way. It helps us to set boundaries when such conditions have arisen.

Whatever the trigger, the presence of anger implies the perception of threat. A threat may be one that actually endangers physical well-being, giving us the energy to protect ourselves and others. Or, the perception of a threat that is potentially damaging to our emotional and psychological integrity can also ‘ramp us up’ to protect as well.

Anger is typically driven by perception and interpretation of events and situations. Do I perceive danger? Do I perceive threat? These are the unspoken, often consciously unthought-of questions that our anger will answer. Additionally, anger is a subjective, very personal response. What angers one may not even be noteworthy to another. In many important ways, personal history and how we have learned to cope with others and the world will determine whether or not anger is experienced. Similarly, personal history and coping patterns will determine how angry one will be.

Anger becomes problematic when behaviors follow that are harmful to yourself or others. Anger is also problematic when behaviors create the risk of harm to self or others. For many individuals who do not behave in anger to the point of aggression or physical self-harm, anger can be sabotaging enough to create significant problems. For example, anger is problematic if one’s goals and/or emotional and psychological wellbeing are compromised by anger. Similarly, the individual who is chronically angry may sabotage his own goals and/or emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Certainly, anger is problematic when aggression and violence are used to express anger. Harm to others through physical expressions, or threats of such, can have serious social and legal consequences. Ultimately, the feeling of anger and the use of angry behavior can control one’s life. Consequently, negative consequences occur and accumulate. While anger itself is a normal, very human emotion, aggressive behaviors are typically not, when one losses control of their anger and it becomes harmful to themselves or others – this is the behavior that needs controlled. Aggressions, and threats of aggression, are emergency responses, therefore patterns of angry behavior that are ‘out of proportion’ for the seriousness of the triggering event needs intervention.

Managing anger can be learned by attending an Anger Management Program, please visit for additional information.

Anger Management Classes and Anger Management – Executive Coaching available in Houston, Texas.

Gregory A. Kyles, LPC, CEAP, CAMF
Anger Management Institute of Texas
Houston, Texas