Lingering anger arises out of domestic violence. Children feel it and adults actually nurture it. Here we’re going to look at anger’s origins in domestic violence, and explore how an adult can recognize the anger for what it is and learn to channel it into something positive.

The first thing most children of domestic violence learn is helplessness. They feel helpless to prevent it, to stop it, to do anything about it. This helplessness evolves into a deep sense of powerlessness as these children grow into adults, but there’s a way out.

How can a sense of helplessness lead to anger? First, a child seeks a way to feel in control. Then that child will look to role models – the adults in the household – and do as they do.

Children of domestic violence believe that anger is the most common solution to feeling helpless or powerless. They see how their parents or caregivers use anger to respond to violence, and how they use it to respond to nearly everything in their life: disappointment, an accident, a word, a bad day or a miscommunication. They begin to believe that anger is a reliable way to regain control in a situation, or to at least regain a sense of power.

And so the vicious cycle continues. Anger breeds anger. All it takes is just one smaller step and that anger becomes violence, and the abuse or threat of abuse continues into a new generation.

So how do we battle the anger? How do we gain the control that we desire? Anger comes from a childhood living under the threat of violence, or having witnessed domestic
violence. It can linger into adulthood. The good news is that we need not fight fire with fire. You don’t have to feel helpless or attempt to battle your anger, nor bury it or deny it. Instead, you can begin now to unlearn the lie that your anger controls you and your life. You can decide that the onset of your anger can be an asset, and you can choose to master it.

Please share in the comments below: what has been your dominant experience of anger up until now and how do you see a way to changing this?