How to Stop Being Abusive to Others- Controlling Irrational Responses, Eliminating Rage

Both women and men can develop the tendency to be abusive towards other people. Most societies tend to focus on male abusers but the fact is that this is not a fault that is confined to any one gender.

When someone abuses another person, they may do it for several reasons. They may want to establish a sense of dominance over the other person. They may be seeking to act out their own feelings of hurt. There are people who may never want to change. This article is not written for them.


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This article is written to help people who really want to change their behavior and are looking for resources that will help them to do that. The fact is, sometimes abusive behavior is learnt. We grow up around people at home, school or in our communities who respond to stressful situations in a specific way and we take on the characteristics of these persons.

We may copy others even when we know that the kind of behavior they exhibit does not produce results. For example, we may see a woman rant for hours on end about how useless her partner or children are and feel embarrassed. She puts down others and we know that she only does it because she feels worthless about herself.

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Yet, strangely enough, in times of stress, a man who grows up seeing this can do the same to his own partner and children. He may even display this type of behavior in the workplace. As a result, he loses respect in the eyes of his partner, children and his subordinates at work.

The solution is not to hide the behavior. The solution is to experience a change from the inside out. How can this happen? First, the individual has to acknowledge that they have a desire to change. This may not seem like much, but it is an important starting point. In Christianity, people speak about repentance. I will describe repentance here as a recognition that we are on the wrong road and need to turn back and seek out a path that gets us to where we really want to go.

Changing Your Thinking

There are new habits you will have to form that allow you to express yourself differently and change the way your perceive yourself:

  1. Instead of looking at yourself as someone who is powerless to act the way you want to, see yourself as someone who has control over your feelings
  2. Change the way you look at problems to short circuit the frustration that can sometimes lead to hasty decisions
  3. Learn to express how you feel about a situation without attacking. Focus on expressing your feelings without blaming
  4. Focus on developing real solutions to your problems

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Take time with yourself. You will need to respond in the manner suggested above at least 21 times before a new habit begins to take hold. A trained counselor can also help you achieve your goals.