Controlling behavior in a relationship, such as monitoring a partner’s calls and text messages, or trying to influence what clothing he or she wears, might indicate a pattern of behavior culminating in abuse and violence.
So concludes a doctoral student in psychology and a team of psychologists conducting a study at the University of Arizona.
The coercive need for control is what gives rise to abusive behavior, not anger. Without regard to gender.
And violence is not a reflection of loss of control, but a means to achieve control, through fear.
The study also finds that men and women engage in similar coercive behaviors and abusive tactics.
One key conclusion of the study is that anger management training, widely ordered in criminal domestic violence cases and sometimes in restraining order cases, doesn’t really address the real problem.
Abuse, as defined by the study, includes psychological abuse, sexual assault, intimidation, coercion, physical abuse, threats and more aggressive physical violence.