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Anger, Violence and Social Construction.

 

by Hazel Thompson

 
Anger is an emotion, violence is an action but it is more likely that anger will move into violence if this is learned behaviour from influencial others or if we hold beliefs that justify or excuse violence in particular situations. 

Anger is an emotion, violence is an action but It is more likely that anger will move into violence if this is learned behaviour from influencial others or if we hold beliefs that justify or excuse violence in particular situations. There are many messages/discourses that circulate, almost unconsciously, in ‘society’ that give subtle or not so subtle influence/permission/promotion of the use of violence as being an ok response or problem solving strategy when we are ‘pushed’ in challenging situations. Some are listed below:
  • An eye for an eye (tit for tat).
  • Spare the rod, spoil the child.
  • Give as good as you get.
  • They deserve it, I’ll teach them a lesson, revenge is sweet.
  • You can mess with me but not my family.
  • Hit first, ask questions later.
  • Can’t let people walk over you.
  • With fear comes power.
  • Do unto others before they do unto you.
  • You push me and I’ll push back ten times harder.
  • You hurt me so I’m going to hurt you more.
If we want to deconstruct our own attitudes to anger/violence, it can be useful to review the role modelling and discourses we have been subjected to and to consider: What have I taken on unconsciously? Does this influence the way I react or respond when angry? Do these ways of thinking and acting actually fit with my own values and morals? Do they fit with who I am as a human being? And what, if anything, would I like to do differently?

Alternate role modelling and social messages/discourses make stands against the use of violence for example:
  • ‘It’s not ok’.
  • Gain respect by being respectful.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • Love thy neighbour as thyself.
  • Turn the other cheek.
  • Treat others as you’d like to be treated.
  • Never raise your hand to anybody.
  • Rise above it.
  • Violence begets violence.
  • Don’t be a clown, shut it down.
  • An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
  • No hands, no feet, no put downs.
What do you believe? Our beliefs, conscious or unconscious influence the way we think, feel and behave…..
  

Article posted 12 March 2019

 
Hazel Thompson article on anger
Hazel Thompson is a professional counsellor with a private practice in Auckland
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