May 28

Violence is an ‘unforgettable’ valve. Already as a toddler, each of us learned that violence can at least provide short-term benefits – an experience which was stored deeply in the brain. From then on, whenever we don’t feel understood or not heard in a conflict, and in any situation that feels threatening, there will be at least a subconscious thought playing with the possibility of using psychological or physical violence to gain ground.

Education and maturation of our personality however allow us to learn other means of conflict resolution as well, which is the reason why very few adults are using physical violence. But then there are also people who find it harder than others to control their emotions. Their conflicts escalate much more easily: at first, mostly verbal, but sometimes they can end up in the form of physical attacks or reprisals.

The roots of the propensity to violence are almost always socially conditioned: the vast majority of perpetrators of violence grew up in economically poorer and atmospherically difficult families, often there are feelings of depression, a lack of perspective or a feeling of ‘not being able to achieve it.’

Unfortunately, the use of force almost always results in massive problems in partnerships, friends and society. Also, studies show that due to higher stress loads, the tendency to violence harms various organs and can make physically sick. Therefore, psychological and psychotherapeutic impulse control programs have been developed which can help affected people to learn regulate their emotions better and regain their ability to be ‘the boss of one’s body’.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010)

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