How to cope with Impulsive Aggression

Friday, May 9, 2008

Aggression can create all kinds of problems in life.

Understand what aggression really is. Aggression is big emotion with destructive behaviors added to it. Those destructive behaviors can be directed toward oneself, other people, or things.
Learn about the emotions that underlie aggressive behavior. Emotions are a natural and healthy part of life. Even though aggression looks like anger, it's oftentimes a behavior based in fear. When someone is scared, they can quickly move into Fight or Flight mode. People who are prone to aggression are usually showing the Fight aspect of fear. Often, they don't even realize they are scared, because it looks and feels so much like anger. Fear of abandonment or ridicule are common fears in an aggressive person. These fears are so strong that it can feel to the person like they are fighting for their life, even though logically they know they're not.
Express fear and anger in healthy ways. Emotions are just energy moving through certain parts of the body. (Anger energy is located in the back, moving up the back of the neck, side of head and jaws. Fear is in the belly, and moving upwards) Breathing with the feelings, moving the body in ways that move the energy, and playing with the energy vocally are all ways to successfully move the energy up and out of the body. Even saying "I'm scared" or "I'm angry" can be helpful.
Choose to express the emotion, instead of the destructive behavior. Moving your body to move the emotion out through the body is healthy. Using your body to intimidate, punish, vent, or attack yourself or others is an unhealthy choice, and likely to lead to trouble.
Communicate about the feelings when you're aware of them. Saying "I felt scared when I saw you speaking to that guy at the party" or "I feel scared you're going to find someone you like better than me" can prevent acts of aggression, because things are being dealt with in real time.
Get some counseling or coaching to unwind the issues that underlie the fear and destructive behaviors. It is totally possible to change aggressive tendencies quickly when given the right support.

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