Aggression- Its effects on family relationships

Human emotions, both positive such as happiness, excitement, and negative such as anger, sadness can play a very significant role in relationships. At the same time, the intensity of these emotions can equally be important in deciding the healthy and unhealthy properties of the relationships.By intensity, we mean, the strength or depth of the emotional reaction one expresses towards a personal, emotional or close relationship.

Emotions, specifically anger, have the capacity to stir the persons whole being or personality at the moment of its expression. Rapid physiologic, including hormonal changes, may take place with a high adrenaline rush that increases the function of major body systems such as rapid increase in heart beat, and restless  movements of the body. If the environment or persons at the receiving end are not able to understand the intentions or reasons behind this high intense expression, a disequllibrium creating misconceptions may result.  For example, if a family member is extremely aggressive (exhibiting high intensity of anger or emotion) and the person or persons at the receiving end miss the actual intention of why he or she is aggressive, an actual damage to the relationship may result as a consequence.  The person at the receiving end may misconstrue that the “aggressive” person is trying to physically harm them while the “aggressive” person may be trying to express his anger or frustration through their behavior.  Unless both sides understand each other, a strain the emotional relationship results.

When one is in a highly emotional intense state, one loses awareness of oneself, the surroundings and the persons in the environment. Continuous state of body and mind in such a high emotionally intense state can damage the health- both physical and psychological. More over it can be very stressful to close family members leading to a strain emotional distance over a period of time.

It is very important that one understand and works towards maintaining an emotional balance to preserve harmony with relationships. When one is emotionally intense state of body and mind, one loses the ability to reason and logical capacity and may cross safe boundaries of propriety, and possibly abuse close family members. Repeated episodes of such situations can permanently damage the emotional relationship making people feel alone, depressed and vulnerable. Not only that, repeated expressions of negative emotions can themself become habitual leading to more and more such “disasters”.  The unpredictability can be very threatening to significant or close family members living under the same roof.

In order to preserve one’s relationships, it is important to be aware of the situation as a first step. Showing agression in a high emotional state can appear to be an immediate rewarding experience for the person expressing; however, it can be more damaging in the long run. The receiving person may obey or become submissive for the moment but can become increasingly resistant over time and create an increasingly negative relationship. The ability to share openly between members becomes constrained. It is important that family members become aware and are willing to work towards this.

Certain precautions can be done to avoid such events-preventing emotional outbursts, anticipating and moving away from stressors, discussing stressors with family members,  and discussions post episode with all sides willing to listen to each other, working out a balance, by finding alternate creative  expressions or expectations, or writing a diary or notes to understand and reflect, learning to express frustration or upset by discussing than showing anger. If relations are still developing a distance in spite of best personal efforts, it is always advisable to seek professional help and even undergo an anger management program. It is advisable not to take any “emotionally charged” major decisions when one in a high emotional state of aggression.


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