On violence…

April 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

In a short paragraph in a paper distributed to all the residents in the municipality where I live I read something interesting about two male counselors/therapists helping men at a centre in the neighbor city.

I have tried to translate the notice to English:

Aggression and violence destroy many people’s relations. In most cases it is men that exercise the violence (not women) and up to now there have not been any offers concerning help to changes to these men.

And violent behavior is not only physical but also emotional/psychological and of course also sexual (in form of impropriate touching too). In disrespect for the other person (child).

A man using violence against his partner (kids and other people) needs help to get in contact with the emotions and experiences that make him use violence. I think all this can be dated back to early life. See what Alice Miller has written for instance.

Using violence leads to failures and damages both for the man himself and for other people (not least his children).

What these men need is courage to admit that they are exercising violence, and help not to blame other people, and they also need will to change their behavior.

However, it is important to emphasize that it is only the practiser of violence who is responsible for the violence he exposes other people to.

To help the man to analyze what is happening in his life, and to analyze how different occurrences stick together with his behavior, can be a step in the right direction towards a change.

Men using violence basically don’t feel so well.

And then I happened to read something from the American neurologist Jonathan H. Pincus’ book “Base Instinct – What Makes Killers Kill.”

My further reflections on what I read were:

People have tried to find genetic explanations to tendencies to violent behavior. Pincus refers to the Richard Speck case (see the picture above, click on them to make them bigger).

If you believe or presuppose that (small) boys have inherited tendencies to anger, fury, outbursts of rage, maybe even violence, maybe you believe you  need to stifle those traits and treat them “accordingly.” In a belief that this maybe will stop them from further developing those traits.

However, is it this that in reality makes small boys and latter grown up men violent – and more violent than women, who were less roughly treated when they were small girls (but they were treated in other ways, which in turn caused them problems, but of other sorts)?

On top, small boys were also often handled more roughly than small girls to make the small boys tougher and not girl-like.

We can see remnants of this in our treatment of small boys and girls, in our attitudes towards them, in our expectations, or lack of expectations, on them. The reasons for this is that we in turned were taught this very early in life; how we are and (thus) also how other people were. Behaviors and attitudes that are difficult to shake off, and things we many times are not even aware of because we learned them so early in life.

With great difficuly, and probably a lot of pain, we can change though. If we are allowed to admit to  and acknowledge what caused all this in the first place. For this we need a therapist that is not in denial him or herself.

Read the article “Frenzy” by Thomas Gruner about Pincus’ book.


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