Differences between aggressiveness and violence

Aggression and violence are two terms that are usually associated but are not synonymous . Although both are part of human beings, this does not mean that all individuals will show similar responses to the same situations. Only a part of the world population lives subjected to violent experiences, and some others are prone to show aggressive behavior.

To explain what are the differences and also the similarities of both terms, an exhaustive analysis must be made of both their possible origins, as well as their influences or consequences . Below we will delve into this topic to understand what is both aggressiveness and violence.

Similarities and differences between aggressiveness and violence? 

Aggression is an instinct that is innate , both in humans and in other animal species. Instead, violence is a social and cultural element, typical of human civilization. Violent acts are not described in other species of living beings, but certain individual reactions of an aggressive nature are described.

The reasons that explain the origin of aggressiveness are found in certain biological structures . Some parts of the human brain, specifically some neuronal assemblages, respond to stimuli that are responsible for generating aggressive responses.

So aggressiveness is a behavior that arises from the natural instinct whose utility is self-defense. It is one of the characteristics of adaptation and survival in the face of danger that develops from childhood. It is a quality that has a biological origin, that is, it depends on neurochemical reactions for its regulation. Another important factor for understanding aggressiveness is that it has become another sociocultural aspect due to its relationship with violence.

Violence is not a natural behavior and it is not the result of a cognitive process such as instinct. It is a sociocultural product that depends on certain social roles such as ideologies and values . Then, violence becomes a behavior that is learned, to carry out certain harmful acts that are premeditated and intentional.

This is where there is a marked difference between aggressiveness and violence. Violence will always have a planned origin , thought out in advance, whoever performs these acts has prepared to act violently. Instead, aggressiveness arises from an unconscious impulse , it can even be said that you do not have control over yourself.

Aggression usually occurs when an individual must submit to situations where there is a threat. Then spontaneously, a defensive behavior begins to manifest itself , which does not recognize limits in the face of the need for protection.

Violence is learned because sociocultural experiences and norms regulate this behavior. It is another feature of every society, which used to show the violence in their means of communication . Violence aims to maintain control and power over other individuals, whereas aggressiveness focuses on self-protection.

An aggressive person is not necessarily violent. Instead, violence has a social component that is learned, which does not happen with aggressiveness that depends on a genetic propensity . In both, feelings of anger and frustration are manifested but in different ways and intensity.

The point at which both terms find similarities or relationship is in how they influence each other. Violence is considered to be the execution or transformation of aggressiveness in a collective way, a person decides to attack or harm another human being for a common reason. This is a way of acting that is not associated with another animal species, violence is only associated with humans. 

What to do in case of violence or aggression? 

Among the many negative consequences that these behaviors leave behind, it is observed in dysfunction in social relationships . There are several ways of exercising violence such as sexual abuse, workplace harassment, terrorism, murders, family abuse, school abuse, wars and other similar manifestations.

Violence is defined as a set of aggressive acts whose purpose is to achieve damage or control the victims . Those who suffer its consequences experience depression and stress, among other psychological and physical conditions.

Because violence is the product of the eventual development of violent attitudes in a society, it could be argued that it is possible to prevent this from happening if certain appropriate measures are implemented. Human beings are capable of committing violent acts that over time have begun to be criticized and reproached, this is the case of gender violence.

So, if people were willing to massively promote measures to avoid the use of violence as a method of control; positive changes would be observed. By learning, practicing, and also developing more positive social behaviors without causing harm to other people, you would be living in a violence-free society .

As for aggressiveness, these are usually the result of moments when people suffer from stress or frustration . When there are not enough psychological tools to deal with these situations, these individuals are more vulnerable to showing behaviors of this type. Self-harm, tantrums, beatings, insults and other similar actions; all can be interpreted as symptoms of aggressiveness.

When it begins to be a vicious cycle and it is accepted not to have control over these emotions and impulses, it is recommended to go to a medical specialist trained to treat these conditions. It is considered to be a delicate pathology that can occur in people of any age, treatments based on drugs or therapies can be applied according to each case.

Both violence and aggressiveness can be the result of affective deficiencies or social limitations . When certain emotions are repressed in an uncontrollable way, reactions of this type are manifested. When you lead a healthier life where mental health and social well-being are important, there will be less chance of suffering from aggression or violence.

It is important that children begin to educate themselves on these issues and also to learn to express their emotions . When these issues are adequately addressed at home and at school, also in the media, it will cease to be a taboo subject and proposals will begin to emerge whose objective is to counteract its manifestations.

Both are considered to be a social problem and also a public health problem , due to their great impact on various areas such as educational, cultural, economic and religious, as well as others. Due to its wide manifestations, managing to contain the expression of violence has turned out to be complex.

Violence is common in situations where people are subjected to the will or demand for obedience of others. The abuse of power and authority results in the violation of people’s fundamental rights, not only causing physical damage; but also the inability to think and make decisions freely.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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