How to Manage Aggression?
By: Prof. Ayesha Kashif
Aggression is considered to be one of the human motives. It comes under the category of psychological or social motives. Although psychological/social motives are not important for one’s existence or survival; but these motives play so much important part in our lives that sometimes our whole life is spent to achieve these motives. Sometimes these motives are so persistence in us, that they became the permanent characteristics of our personality.
What is Aggression/Anger?
Aggression refers to any behavior that is hostile, destructive and violent. Aggression is considered to be a psychological plus physiological state in which you try to hurt the other party. We hurt; attack, or sometimes kill each other during aggression. Broadly speaking aggressive behavior has the intention to inflict injury or to harm the targeted person. Examples include physical assault, using abusing language, throwing or destroying objects or even self harming.
Categories of Aggression:
Broadly speaking aggression is classified into 2 main categories
1) Hostile Aggression
2) Instrumental Aggression
As described earlier, hostile aggression has the aim of harming, hurting, injuring or sometimes killing the other person; examples of hostile aggression are slapping, punching, kicking, abusing etc. The hurting in hostile aggression may be physical, mental or both.
Instrumental aggression is somewhat different from the hostile aggression. Its aim is not to hurt or injure the other party, but the person uses aggression in order to satisfy some other motive. In fact the person uses aggression as a way to achieve his/her goals. For example a teacher shows aggression in the class to maintain the discipline of the class or a child throwing things to get an ice-cream of his choice.
In this article, we will be focusing more on the Hostile Aggression. Hostile aggression in itself has few sub-classifications; all these types are interrelated and interconnected to each other. One can show his/her aggression either by choosing one way or more then one way. We will briefly discuss them.
i) Physical/Verbal Aggression
ii) Active/Passive Aggression
iii) Direct/Indirect Aggression
As the name indicate this type of aggression aims to hurt or injure the victim either physically or by words, and sometimes both. The typical example of physical aggression is when we physically injure the other party. The physical torture might also be accompanied by different weapons like hunters, guns and pistols etc. Whereas in verbal aggression the purpose of the person is to harass or harm the victim by his/her words. This type of aggression is most common as in our day to day life we often see people using abusive language or shouting at others.
In this type of anger, people show their aggression either by their overt behavior of they show their aggression in a passive way by frustrating the other party by their behavior. In active aggression your aggression is obvious and visible to the victim. Example of active aggression could be stabbing, shooting or killing an enemy. Passive aggression has even more interesting characteristics in itself. People adapt this way of aggression when the other party is more influential or powerful or he/she does not have enough courage to show the aggression overtly. In passive aggression the aim of the person is to frustrate the other person and in that way they satisfy their aggression. One of the most common examples in husband and wife relationship is when one spouse deliberately stops talking to the other one or start ignoring his/her partner, or listening to loud music when the other one is sleeping, or a servant deliberately burning the clothes while ironing or putting intense salt or spices in the dish to satisfy his anger.
The difference between direct and indirect anger is that in direct aggression to come at the front or show face to face aggression, whereas in indirect aggression you take the help of the 3rd party to harm the victim without showing yourself at the front. The most common example of indirect aggression is when someone hires a profession killer to shoot the enemy.
A few of the common examples in which the person shows a blend of aggression categories are discussed here for further clarification.
· Kicking or slapping the victim (direct, active, physical)
· Abusing or shouting over the victim (direct, active, verbal)
· Cracking a dirty joke over the victim (direct, passive, physical)
· Spreading wrong propaganda against victim (direct, passive, verbal)
· Pushing someone standing in a queue (indirect, active, physical)
· Stop talking to the other person (indirect, passive, verbal)
· Rejecting or refusing to do an important assignment (indirect, passive, physical)
Few Tips to Manage Your Anger/Aggression:
· Give a vent to your anger. Anger gets aggravated if it is accumulated inside you for long period of time. So instead of shouting at the people in anger it’s always a good idea to shout loudly in an empty room. Shout, scream, cry or even breaking a plate can calm down your aggression.
· Try to relax yourself by taking deep breaths. It usually helps a lot.
· Involve yourself in some physical work like cleaning the bathroom or washing dishes or sometimes its good to throw your cloths out of your wardrobe and start arranging them again.
· Learn to act and not react. Reaction towards something usually embarrasses you when you come out of the sate of anger.
· Avoid the anger provoking situation. Try not to discuss those hot topics that vent your anger. Try to have less interaction with those people who stimulates your anger.