Violent Behaviour

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Violent Behaviour

Topic Overview

Anger and arguments are normal parts of healthy relationships. But anger that leads to threats or violence, such as hitting or hurting, is not normal or healthy. Physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse are not acceptable parts of any relationship.

Violent behaviour is any behaviour by an individual that threatens or actually harms or injures the individual or others or destroys property. Violent behaviour often begins with verbal threats but over time escalates to involve physical harm.

Violence is learned behaviour, so it is especially important to help your children learn that violence is not a healthy way to resolve conflict. Set a good example by handling conflict in a calm and thoughtful manner. Never use violence, such as spanking, pinching, ear pulling, jabbing, shoving, or choking, to discipline your child.

The risk of violence may be greater in men or women with:

  • A history of childhood abuse.
  • A history of violent behaviour.
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness.
  • Alcohol or drug use or abuse.
  • Mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or personality disorder.
  • A history of arrests.
  • A history of attempted suicide.
  • Feelings of suspicion or hostility.

Violent behaviour may occur in cycles. First, there is conflict and tension. This is followed by abuse of another or destruction of property. This pattern usually repeats itself and gets worse over time. If there is a cycle, learning to recognize it may help you prevent violence from occurring.

If you are angry, hostile, or have violent behaviour, it is important to find help. You can learn ways to control your feelings and actions. Call the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence toll-free at 1-800-267-1291 to help you find the help you need.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Martin J. Gabica, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brigid McCaw, MD, MS, MPH, FACP - Family Violence Prevention
Last Revised June 8, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.