Scientists have been looking for a violent gene in the makeup of criminals and killers in an effort to prove that some people are inherently more violent than others. As of yet, they have not made any headway in this type of argument. Most violent people have lived a violent past. Most psychologist and doctors agree that violence is not something that someone is born with, but a learned behavior that develops over time.

Some people are more violent, but they are not born that way. Those who are more violent have been taught that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict. They were not born violent, but most likely witnessed violence at an early age. They saw their parents fighting and watched how they resolved conflicts. If violence was part of the conflict resolution, then they saw this as appropriate. Children end up learning how to have a relationship from adults and family members around them. If a child grows up in a home where violence is accepted, then they are more likely to be more violent as an adult.

People who are exceptionally violent are usually the victims of violence or abuse at an early age. They have little empathy for their victims and can only think of their own gratification. Serial killers and career criminals fall into this category. Their backgrounds usually detail horrific cases of abuse.

The way to determine if someone is violent is to see how they react to conflict. A spouse abuser will not usually exhibit violence towards the spouse at the early stages of the relationship, until he or she is secure with the relationship. Most wife beaters, for example, will not lay a hand on their wives until after the wedding. Then they let their guard down. The abuse usually starts out small and then escalates.

If someone reacts to conflict with an inappropriate amount of rage or finds it difficult to face the conflict, they can be a violent person. Not all violent people react quickly to conflict. While some will fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, others will hold in the anger until it reaches a boiling point, at which point they lash out. Both aggressive and passive aggressive behavior can often lead to violent behavior, especially if someone grew up in a household where violent behavior was an accepted way of life.

People are not born to be violent. This behavior is taught to them from the time that they are children. Studies indicate that violent people can learn, with proper therapy, to unlearn their violent behavior and live a non-violent life.

Domestic Violence Institute of Texas offers Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP) Classes in Houston, Texas.

For additional information please call 281-970-6611 or visit our website

Gregory A. Kyles, M.A., LPC, CEAP, CAMF
Director, Domestic Violence Institute of Texas

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