Anger Management Courses Teach Violence.
Why anger management courses need to change.
One of the first steps violent offenders must take when they are caught offending is participate in an anger management course, either in the process of, or to avoid, court action.
“ Evidence shows that abusive men who complete anger management programs do not stop abusing. They merely choose another tool to reach the same end.” — Kellie Jo Holley.
When my abuser first came home with his anger management booklet I could have hit him with it; that would’ve done a better job than the 12-week program the booklet outlined.
In his words: “They put me in a room full of crackheads.”
My thoughts: “ Well, as we all know, you’re probably one too.”
Long story short, I put his erratic behaviour and endless days up followed by days of sleeping down to medications and believed him the multiple times money went missing. I now suspect our groceries and other bills weren’t as expensive as they were made out to be either. Oh, the stories I could tell!
Back to the point:
So, we’re in our usual argument/discussion spot when he starts going through the booklet highlighting all the abusive things I do because remember anything that he did was actually me, that’s abuse 101.
I can’t believe the arrogance of these programs, whoever writes these booklets assumes violence is done by neanderthals who must be trained in the way of the civilised human.
In a nutshell:
- Anger is bad.
- Here are some things you can do that will hurt people.
- Here’s a list of the pain you caused.
- Some political and academic crap about masculine norms.
- How you should behave.
- Homework for neanderthals.
The booklet was basically a training manual on how to abuse your partner. I actually had to suffer tactics that he never used before because he learned them at a violence training camp/anger management course.
Here’s why we need change.
- Anger can be a constructive negotiating tool that has benefits.
“The worst kind of anger management class teaches men to “get in touch with their anger” and to “express it” or “get it out.” …Studies have shown that this approach actually makes people angrier and more hostile,… training their brains to associate controlled aggression rather than compassion and reconciliation with anger.” — Steven Stosny, Ph.D.
2. To learn the benefits of non-violence.
Changed behaviour requires collaboration, there is no true collaboration in these programs. You’re given the impression there’s collaboration because you're meant to ‘participate’, but most people just follow the rules and wait out their time.
More constructive skills such as negotiation and setting boundaries could be practised along with debates around existing conflicts, either personal or social, to open up discussion about conflict and the effects of violent and non-violent behaviours.
Oftentimes the right people are running the wrong programs. The people that run some of these programs and provide similar services are dedicated, motivated, and influential people whose talents are wasted because they’re dictated by rigid, outdated structures.
3. Update today’s knowledge around the psychology of violence.
Anger management programs are still based on men learning how not to be violent and women learning how to recover from violence. When are we going to acknowledge the fact men suffer from violence too and that there are gender-specific tactics? That’s a story for another day; it’s been sitting in drafts for some time now.
“most base their instruction on ideas from second-wave feminism, striving to educate men about the ways in which the harm they visit on their romantic partners mimics the larger, repressive structure of patriarchy.”
We also don't acknowledge the physiological elements of psychological abuse and how important it is that we correct those biological imbalances before we can truly heal the psychological side of the problem.
4. Remove the violence training elements.
Little benefit can come from listing abusive tactics, if they’re in a program, they probably already know a few, and adding tactics to that list is only making the situation worse.
You can volunteer to join an anger management program, victims are offered the opportunity to follow the same program, at separate times from their offenders.
I completed one course with a parenting element that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I also walked into another support group that began with prayer and had a very strong religious agenda, so you really need to find what suits you.
Thank you for reading.❤
P.S I’m not anti-religion, I was just not comfortable with it being a part of my healing process. My mother’s Christian, if I need spiritual growth, that’s my mum’s job, bless her.
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