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.

For Anger Management Classes and Battering Intervention and Prevention Program – BIPP Classes in Houston, TX call 281-477-9105 and/or send an email to

Gregory Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute

What Are The Laws Concerning Domestic Violence?

Years ago, there were no laws that regulated domestic violence.  A mans home was considered to be his castle and what he did inside that home, regardless of whether he beat his wife or kids, was his own affair.  Women who sought help for spousal abuse were often told by community members and even church clergy to endure a beating and were often blamed themselves for having brought the domestic violence on themselves.  Those who did concede that this behavior was inappropriate would often blame alcohol abuse for the problem.

Today, there are laws in every state that affect how domestic violence is handled.   They vary from county to county, although police officers are required to file a report and make an arrest in the case of any domestic violence action.  In many states, there is a cooling off period where batterers are put into jail for twenty four hours, giving others in the home to go to a shelter or another place.  The batterers are usually given a certain period of time in which they have to stay away from the victim.  A victim can receive counseling and also get a restraining order against those who perpetrate domestic violence against them.   Needless to say, the laws against domestic violence have gotten stricter as time has gone on, although many victims drop the charges against the abuser.

In most cases of domestic abuse, the police are called repeatedly to a home because of this problem.  They file a report, the batterers go to jail, get out and then the couple reconcile.  A wife beater will often blame a problem for their behavior and promise to change.  This usually does not work and the violence continues  In most cases, domestic abuse will start to escalate as time goes on.  It might not only include the spouse but also children as well.  When it comes to child abuse, authorities will remove children from any dangerous situation and place them in the care of relatives or with the state.  Teachers, scout leaders and others have an obligation to report any signs they see of child abuse to authorities so that it can be investigated.

There are laws today that protect innocent people in a family from batterers.  In many states, those who are convicted of domestic battery are ordered to undergo a battering intervention and prevention program (BIPP Classes) that teaches them to modify their behavior so that they do not continue to perpetrate violence.  These programs work when the batterers realize that the fault lies within themselves, confront their past as well as their own crime and then learn behavior modification so that they do not resort to abusive behavior in the future.

For Anger Management Classes and Battering Intervention and Prevention Program – BIPP Classes in Houston, TX call 281-477-9105 and/or send an email to

Gregory Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute

What Is Emotional Abuse – The Effects Of Abuse

Mention abuse or abusive behavior to most people and they will automatically think about violence, such as wife beater crime that they see on television.  They will conjure up an image in their head of a man who beats his wife and possibly his children being led away by the police in handcuffs.  However, domestic abuse takes many forms, including emotional abuse which can be just as damaging and leave the same scars on the victims.

Emotional abuse can take many forms.  Both men and women are equally liable for emotional abuse in a relationship.  In most cases, this form of abuse is not relegated strictly between the spouses in a family situation, but also on children.  Emotional abuse differs from verbal abuse as it is more subtle.  Where we may see verbal abuse as name calling and loud tirades of screaming, emotional abuse can be something as subtle as constantly putting someone down for any efforts that they make.

Anyone can be a victim of emotional abuse.  The tricky thing about this form of abuse is that technically it is not a crime.  While batterers will face a criminal charge for attacking others with violence, emotional abuse is something that usually occurs for the length of the relationship.  Emotional abuse from a parent to a child can even follow them into adulthood.

One form of emotional abuse that is not often discussed is a parent who continually looks for shortcomings in their child.  A child may strive desperately to please their parent or parents in their endeavors, only to be cut to the quick when the parent rejects their efforts.  Those who perpetrate emotional abuse usually have a very low self esteem and are people who although may appear congenial to others, are difficult to please by those around them.  A child who grows up with emotional abuse will typically have a very low self esteem that will make them act out in various ways.  They may seek to gain emotional fulfillment by looking for it through others, often not in healthy ways.

Abuse is all about control.  This goes for sexual abuse, violence, spiritual abuse as well as emotional abuse.  Those who perpetrate any form of abuse are usually seeking to control another person through their behavior.  Some of the abusive behavior is evident and can be spotted and even prosecuted as a crime.  However, in the case of emotional abuse, the crime is hidden.  Many children who are the victims of emotional abuse by their parents never even realize the extent of the abuse until long into adulthood .  In many cases, children who are victims of emotional abuse will perpetrate the same abuse onto their own children, often without even realizing that they are doing this.

For Anger Management Classes in Houston, TX and BIPP Classes in Houston, TX call 281-477-9105 and/or send an email to

Gregory Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute

Developing Empathy through Emotional Intelligence

Empathy is an important ingredient in learning greater self-control for individuals who have anger management problems.  Empathy is the ability to identify with others through understanding how they feel.  It is increased by better understanding the thoughts, attitudes and overall experience of other people.

Emotional intelligence increases the ability to understand the experiences and feelings of others and to use this information to interact more appropriately with them.  Becoming more aware of one’s own feelings (through increasing emotional intelligence) also helps one become more aware of the feelings of others.  Self-awareness helps us to empathize with the feelings of others.

Empathy for others helps us make more appropriate decisions about how we will view others and treat them.  Empathy also helps us evaluate the motivations of others in a more realistic light.  Consequently, this type of information can be used to adjust our own perceptions and to make better, more socially-informed choices about our own behavior.

Understanding others better can dramatically decrease conflict and the perception of threat from others.  In this way, empathy helps to make sense of others’ behavior so that their experiences do not have to trigger an angry response in ourselves.  With greater empathy, communication improves and interactions have less conflict.

Learning and practicing greater empathy for others helps increase awareness of the emotional cues others give us during interactions.  Empathy helps us ‘read’ another person’s expressions and communication with a greater understanding of that person’s experience and motivations.  With better information about the other person, we are then able to make more informed choices about how we will respond to them.  Empathy helps us perceive and use emotional information so we can then reduce the stress of daily interactions.  Empathy helps us be less defensive; more in tune with what is actually being communicated by others and less stressed by any misinterpretations we may make.  Empathy also ‘allows’ others to make mistakes and we are less apt to respond defensively, take things personally or ‘hold grudges’ when mistakes are made.

For Anger Management & Domestic Violence – BIPP Classes in Houston, TX call 281-477-9105 and/or send an email to

Gregory Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute

More on Using the EQ Map to Develop Emotional Intelligence and Manage Anger

The EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) Map is an assessment tool used in anger management to help you understand why you have difficulty managing your anger.  Furthermore, the EQ Map will help you identify the origins of stress in your life since stress is directly related to anger problems.  The EQ Map also helps pinpoint what problems you have in managing that stress effectively.  It will look at the specifics of problem behaviors in relationships, how you communicate with others, what triggers your anger, stress and problematic behaviors.  By mapping out this type of valuable information about why you have difficulty controlling your anger, the EQ Map becomes a useful tool throughout your efforts in anger management classes and afterwards.

Learning what you typically do when faced with stressful situations, in relationships, in conflict and on a daily basis to manage all of these typical life occurrences empowers you to make changes.  Identifying the exact nature of your anger management problems will enable you to identify the correct and effective solutions. Overall, anger problems can be managed by reducing stress and learning coping skills that will help you in stating your needs through assertiveness, reducing interpersonal conflict by seeking compromise and managing anger by focusing upon improving communication skills and appropriate ways of expressing feelings.

The EQ Map will identify your emotional intelligence—how well you are doing in all of these areas at the time of assessment.  Once your baseline of emotional intelligence is known then you can set realistic goals for learning the necessary skills to reduce stress and improve anger management.  When emotional intelligence is improved your ability to monitor yourself as you grow more stressed will improve.  Your ability to better regulate your emotions will also improve and you will be able to de-escalate yourself before anger becomes problematic.  By learning your triggers—the things that are likely to cause stress and escalate anger—you can prepare yourself for better handling these situations and events.  As your awareness of these things increase so will your ability to have greater self-control.  For people with anger management issues, learning how to have greater self-control will dramatically decrease such problems and allow the more successful accomplishment of goals, improve relationships, improve health and improve the overall quality of daily life.

An investment in anger management classes is truly an investment in yourself, your family, your relationships, your health and your goals.  Becoming more emotionally intelligent is an education that pays off in all areas of life for people who struggle with anger management problems.

For Anger Management & Domestic Violence – BIPP Classes in Houston, TX call 281-477-9105 and/or send an email to

Gregory Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute

Managing Anger–What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that, when used together, increase the ability a person with problems controlling anger has to decrease stress and reduce anger.  Emotional intelligence improves the person’s social functioning.  It is an awareness of the emotions, emotional triggers, emotional cues and emotional behaviors of one’s self and others.  Learning to monitor these in one’s self increases the ability to have self-control over emotional behaviors.  Learning to monitor these in others improves interactions, relationships and one’s ability to function more appropriately when dealing with others.

Emotional intelligence can be thought of as a sort of IQ of the whole person.  Rather than just a measure of intellectual ability (IQ), emotional intelligence (EQ) takes into account the emotional and social functioning of an individual and, in doing so, gives a more holistic view of how well a person functions.  Emotional intelligence complements the intellect and helps a person make better, more informed decisions and to have better social judgment.

Emotional intelligence works in 4 areas to improve how well a person functions.  These are:

• Self-awareness
• Self-management
• Social awareness, and
• Relationship Management

Individuals in anger management classes will create and work with an emotional intelligence map (an EQ Map) that evaluates these areas of functioning.  Additionally, the EQ Map will evaluate their current environment and what stressors are presently affecting their lives.  It will also identify their coping skills as well as influential personal values and beliefs that affect coping and behavior.  In examining these things, people who have trouble controlling their anger will develop a better understanding of how stress, values, beliefs and their usual coping skills contribute to their anger management problems.  This information can then be used to better understand their social functioning and what problems occur in interactions to create an anger management problem.  As well, this information can highlight what emotionally intelligent skills are missing and should be learned to increase self-control and social functioning.  The EQ Map will help identify the individualized and specific set of skills a person with anger management problems will need to learn and practice.

Emotional intelligence empowers a person to manage emotions, behavior, interactions and relationships.  The uses of emotional intelligence decreases distress and stress.  Additionally, learning emotionally intelligent skills in anger management classes can not only dramatically improve behavior and performance in what are commonly thought of as social relationships, but also in the workplace and community at large.  Overall functioning improves as emotional intelligence and social functioning improve.  The skills are teachable and learnable.  Better self-control requires only the willingness to learn and to practice these valuable skills.

For Anger Management & Domestic Violence – BIPP Classes in Houston, TX call 281-477-9105 and/or send an email to

Gregory Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute

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 Kyles, LPC
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute