The Difference in Anger Management and Abuse

anger management

Abuse doesn’t always equate to anger management therapy.


Many people believe that abusers attack their victims out of anger, and that can be the case. However, anger management may not be the real answer for why someone lashes out or a way to explain away an abuser’s actions. There are plenty of things that can make us angry without causing us to batter or abuse another person or animal.


Dissecting abuse


The majority of abusers become angry and react, but many professionals argue that “domestic violence is the result of the need to control and gain power in a relationship versus uncontrollable anger,” according to Theravive. Often, the underlying drive for power can include feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment and guilt.


Identifying an abuser or batterer


According to Counselor Connection, there are some characteristics of batterers or abusers:

  • Typically, since batterers are men — they objectify and don’t see women as people. They don’t respect women as a group. Overall, they see women as property or sexual objects.
  • A batterer has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He may appear successful, but inside he feels inadequate.
  • A batterer externalizes the causes of his behavior. He blames his violence on circumstances such as stress, his partner’s behavior, a “bad day,” alcohol or other factors.
  • A batterer may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence, and is often seen as a “nice guy” to outsiders.


Dissecting anger/anger management


Counselor Connection defines anger as “an emotion depicted by resentment, bitterness, and/or hatred toward someone or something that we may feel has harmed us or done us wrong.” While anger can be a very intense feeling that’s triggered by many outside forces, it can also be a positive force that motivates someone to leave a negative situation.

The differences in abuse and anger management


A person who struggles with anger management problems is often dealing with a distorted thinking process and demonstrates deficiencies in skill. When confronted with his or her behavior, a person with anger management struggles is likely able to accept responsibility for his or her actions and accept the consequences that follow.

Conversely, an abuser or batterer an abusive person also struggles with a thinking process that isn’t always set in reality. This person can exhibit a lack of prosocial skills and often externalizes his or her anger. An abuser tends to blame others or circumstances for his or her behavior, as opposed to taking responsibility for it.


Let North Brooklyn assist you


If you’re struggling with management issues or a relationship you’re unsure is healthy, North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy can help you. Our licensed and certified therapists are here to help you discover coping skills for your anger, as well as assist you in unpacking your relationship. Please contact us today with any questions you may have in regard to our specific services.