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Types of aggression in the marital and family space

by Tamir Ashman

'If society is in danger, it is not because of man's aggression,

These are due to the suppression of the personal aggression of individuals'



I have yet to meet a person who does not have aggression.  I have met many people who do not acknowledge their aggression, like refusing to look her in the eye. We all have a relationship with the mirror, the real   the concrete, and the metaphorical - our ability to look inward - the ability for self-awareness is a central tool for starting a process of change.

Imagine that you come to me for a conversation and I ask you to tell me frankly about the violence in you towards your spouse, towards your children, towards yourself. Can you really honestly answer this question?

When I interview men who are referred for treatment for their violent behavior, I do not ask them to tell me about their violence. I've tried it before, it just doesn't work. I wasn't ready to answer that kind of question either.

No person likes and does not want to see themselves as gods, an invitation to this kind of observation increases the level of anxiety and resistance in the patient. Most of us are not ready   to identify ourselves with such pathological concepts. Most of us define as violence behaviors that are outside of our own repertoire of behaviors. It is very human. You can call it denial or suppression.

As a solution to this problem I propose the word - aggression as a synonym for violence. 

The question I invite us to ask in the article is not to ask whether we are violent or aggressive.

These dare to ask - to what extent do we behave aggressively towards ourselves and towards others?

To help address this question, in this article I list the types of aggression in the intimate marital and family space. I will bring examples of different aggression styles from the sharing of men and women who come to personal couple and group conversations.

It is important to understand,   that the energy or the aggressive communication can be directed towards ourselves (self-criticism, castration, lack of self-belief, self-destruction and suicide) and it can be directed towards the other.

It is also important to debunk a myth about violent outbursts in marital relationships.  The attacking party doesn't really lose control. Or more precisely, loss of control is a very rare situation, almost always the attacking person is within a framework of boundaries that he defines for himself before his attack.

I invite all of us, men and women, during the reading of the article, not to distance the aggression in the search for it in the other to us and read a brave reading that looks for the similarities and what we have in common with the definitions.

Emotional/mental assault – any behavior aimed at harming the self-esteem or self-image  of the other.

The main therapeutic work in domestic violence focuses on this style of violence. This violence characterizes both men and women in the marital space. It is even more destructive than physical violence. This style of violence can be defined as disrespect between partners.  When a person attacks on a physical level he is often aware of his actions and will often feel guilty for his behavior. In mental violence, often the spouses who are not aware of its severity, choose not to define it as a violent outburst, and do not set a clear limit for it.

The way in which spouses emotionally attack each other   is so varied and creative, I will mention a number of examples but the list is certainly endless - insults, humiliations, an unbridled attack of criticism, decisive throwing of the truth towards the other, thunderous silences , bites, going down on the spouse near friends and family members. Attack the other through a look that expresses contempt and disdain. Do not let the other party complete a sentence without being interrupted. Do not praise, do not support the other. Not providing recognition of the other's feelings. To talk about the other in disrespectful words.

Roaring Silence – a type of mental assault,   This type of aggression is so common in intimate relationships that I decided to give it   d_separate definition.   This attack is a very ancient attack in human history. The essence of man is to belong to a community, and to belong to relationships with others. The heaviest punishment in Judaism is the community's boycott against the individual.  For those in his life story  he was boycotted in elementary school or who once boycotted someone knows firsthand how violent it is, how traumatic it is.

Thunderous silence is a situation in which the attacking party confiscates the other in the relationship, and refuses to acknowledge that there is a relationship at all.  This is a deliberate silence aimed at controlling and hurting the other. The thunderous silence is a devastating means of communicating the vulnerability of the attacking party.

physical assault – This is the best known style of violence. Any behavior aimed at attacking the physical space  of the other. This is a wide range of behaviors for example - slapping, punching, kicking, shaking and shaking, spitting, pinching, forcing contact by force.  I also define screaming and yelling as physical assault.

Physical violence is relatively easy to solve. As soon as an unequivocal boundary is placed on the side of the attacker, such as a complaint to the police or the opening of a divorce case, the physical violence stops.

In my experience, it is an illusion to think that the violence is over, on the contrary, when the aggressor is deprived of the possibility of a physical attack, the aggression will seek new paths.

threats- Any behavior aimed at the threat of violence or aggression. Ultimatum, threat of separation, threat of attack. Raising a hand or an object in the air, threatening body language, in situations of a fight and conflict to threaten to leave and break up the relationship 'Tomorrow I'm going to the rabbinate, can you hear me?!'

Assault on property – a situation where the tantrum   the anxiety and helplessness is thrown towards inanimate objects. Slamming a door, throwing objects, vandalizing objects, engraving words on the walls.

Social assault –   is defined as an attempt by the attacking party to isolate and isolate the attacked party, at the social level. control and manage the support systems of the attacked party. Determine with whom it is permissible to be in close relations and with whom it is forbidden.

The assumption that usually stands with the attacking party is that if the attacked party is without social support, he will be more dependent on the attacking party and the anxiety of abandonment and separation of the attacking party decreases.

Scapegoat-  An attack in which the attacking party in the relationship throws  and blames and slams the attacked party with feelings, situations, problems that occur in the relationship and family. For example - when there are difficulties with one of the children, the attacking party refuses to consider his responsibility for the child's difficulty and blames the attacked party for his full responsibility for the situation. When there is a crisis in a relationship, the attacking party refuses to see his part in the crisis, and attributes all responsibility for the crisis to the attacked party. When there is a decrease in sexual desire in the marital system, the attacking party will blame the attacked party. This type of aggression creates a critical atmosphere in the relationship, there is no understanding and observation of the relationship as a single system that is affected through the unique dance of each partner, who share common responsibility for its conduct. And this style does not make it possible to look at the problem in an integrative and joint way. This attack creates a difficult experience of loneliness and despair in relationships.

financial attack – This attack is characterized by the attacker's control over the economic resources of the  system. The attacking party restricts or releases funds and resources. Through this behavior the attacking party maintains control over the attacked and in the short term the fear of abandonment decreases.

Child use-   Mainly typical in situations of separation and divorce. The attacking party treats the children as an inseparable continuation of the attacked party. Uses children to hurt the attacked party. Actions of inciting the children against one of the parents, attacking the consistency in the viewing arrangements, etc.

Internet attack – In today's culture, the computer and the Internet are a kind of  continuation of the person. People deposit their pictures, thoughts and memories on the computer. I find in recent years an increase in attack   through the Internet. Insulting and offensive advertising towards a person in the media networks, remote hacking into the personal email box, infecting a computer with viruses, deliberately erasing the computer's memory, posting insulting videos on YouTube and more.

In conclusion: The aggressive behavior is part of the human range. Many of us are exposed to violence and aggression in the marital system, but we are afraid to define it as such. As long as the couple treat the aggressive action with indifference, do not define it as violent and do not set a limit to it, it may be established as a norm of communication between the parties.

When the atmosphere between the couple is characterized by disrespect, impatience and the lack of listening and support, it can be defined as a violent relationship.

Untreated violence often worsens itself. Each violent outburst of the couple makes both of them more wounded, more traumatized and the basic training in the other diminishes.

Spontaneity, instinct, creativity and passion are disappearing in a relationship. The relationship is dying, it's just a matter of time.

It is important to remember, when a couple turns for help, hope begins to return to the relationship. The attacked side begins to gain recognition and empowerment. The attacking party learns during the process to communicate his inner world in a healthy and assertive way. It is important to remember that aggression/violence is always just a symptom of deeper things (fear and anxiety about intimacy, hatred, self-flagellation, rigid self-control, latent mental depression,  and more).

When the attacking person in a relationship enters a therapeutic structure (personal, marital, group), the venomous and toxic behavior becomes a 'gateway' to his inner world. From its poisonous state it is transformed into a healing medicine. From war it turns into recovery.

Format for bibliographic citation (APA):

Ashman, T. (2010).Types of aggression in the marital intimate space  [electronic version]. Nadela on 24/10/2010, from the website  articles -

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