For this week’s Forum, respond to the following: Based upon your readings this week and upon your own observations, do you believe that there is any positive value to aggression (this can include both reactive and instrumental aggression, as well as relationship-based aggression, such as online bullying)? If you were “king/queen of the world,” would you eliminate all forms of aggression? Why or why not? Can any valuable life lessons be learned through being the victim of aggression, or is all aggression inherently harmful to both aggressor and victim?
Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum. (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post. This is not providing an analysis of the original post. Respectfully address it and even ask clarifying or additional questions.)
Based on our readings this week I am a little torn about how I perceive aggression in both a positive and negative light. There is such a thing called healthy aggression to me. Everyone is inclined to be aggressive in one form or another. Be it reactive towards someone who has provoked you or relationship based. Humans are naturally aggressive it is in their nature to react towards perceived threats. Reactive aggression could easily be seen when someone provokes you by insulting you or threatening you. Relationship based aggression to me is used to break down a tyrannical matriarchy. This can best be seen in the movie “Mean Girls”. There was good that came from breaking down that social hierarchy. But like most situations there is always two sides to a coin. When does the fight for the greater good become you stepping into the shoes of your oppressors?
If I was empress for the day, because let’s be honest if I am going to be the top dog in life the highest position is emperor or empress and that is where I want to be, I would keep aggression present in the world. There is good that comes from aggression and that is the fact that people in the heat of emotion will grow as a person. To me when you can stand up for yourself then you have grown a backbone that allows for you to achieve so much more in life. There are learning moment when you look at the side of the aggressor and the side of the victim. The aggressor has established themselves as someone of a higher power and the victim has hence allowed themselves to be a victim. When that victim steps up and stands up for themselves they learn that they are not a victim but someone who has an equal setting in life. Holistically speaking aggression is the survival of the fittest to me.
Being raised the way that I was raised, I believe that aggression is harmful. Aggression can be defined as behavior that is physically, and psychologically harmful to both the victim and the aggressor. I was raised to be assertive, not aggressive. To not try and inflict my will and way on others, but to stand up for my rights, and to assertively ask for that which is rightfully mine.
Aggression can take on many forms: physical, verbal, mental, and emotional. When we think of aggression, we usually think of it as being just physical such as pushing, or hitting; psychological aggression can also be damaging.
Our lesson teaches that there are categories of aggression, instrumental and hostile aggression. Instrumental aggression is the bad aggression that is harmful and used to induce fear or intimate another person. Hostile aggression is similar to instrumental aggression, only hostile aggression is fueled by emotions, or someone trying to affront our self-esteem. Anger and insult often triggers hostile aggression.
We try to teach our kids conflict resolution, and to be assertive, as I was taught, and not be aggressive, but I’ve had some friends and family tell me that some aggression is necessary, in this day and time especially for our children. It is often used as a survival technique, so that bullies won’t think that they are scared. I’ve had my mother tell me not to take “all the fight” out of them (referring to my daughters). I just feel that there are better ways to handle conflict other than being aggressive or bullying. Now aggression has been taken to a new level. It is dangerous, and if one doesn’t know how to deal with it, it can be mentally damaging; suicide has been the results of instrumental aggression. In our lesson, we are taught various conflict resolution methods (negotiation, mediation, and arbitration). It also states that inadequate communication can make conflict worse.
If I were “Queen” of the world, I would eliminate all forms of aggression. To force one’s views and stance on another person, or group of people, bullying, is unacceptable in this world. Violence, and hating is not the way it should be. I don’t care what my friends and family say, I taught my daughters to respect the views and wishes of other people. We are all different, with different opinions, and desires, and that it is all right to be that way.
Aggression is the intention to harm someone who does not want to be harmed (Stangor, 2013). This cam be seen in many aspects of life from road rage to some parents or fans at sports games that argue and challenge the referee’s decisions. I think that many types of aggression are more harmful than helpful to any particular situation. Often, the aggression shown only serves to escalate the situation rather than help the overall emotions to remain calm. I think this is why when hostages are taken, the negotiator is often someone who can keep their emotions in check, and they are trained to keep their voices soothing and calm. In other words, they are trained to keep their aggression in check so that it doesn’t cause the hostage-taker to become more aggressive to the hostages.
I think that the only time I would say aggression is a good thing is when it is used as the fight portion of the fight or flight response. This would be considered the emotional or impulsive type of aggression because it would be used with only a little forethought and is activation mostly by emotional responses (Stangor, 2013). While this form of aggression is hardly acceptable all the time, I think that is life or death situations where the victim’s life is being threatened, this form or aggression could be life-saving. Much like how when my dog was injured and would act tough whenever another dog came by, her instincts told her to act tougher than she really was so that the other dog would leave her alone. This works with humans when someone is trying to rob you, and you fight back instead of submitting. Most don’t expect that reaction, and it will throw them off guard. However, this form of aggression can also be dangerous as seen by the opening story in the book where a dad killed another dad at their kids’ hockey game because the emotional responses got too out of control and the aggression took over with little forethought (Stangor, 2013). Or in the case of road-rage where one driver gets cut off and chases down the person and ends up running them off the road or injuring them once the cars stop.
In summary, I think that aggression has its place, but only rarely should it be used in order to keep situations from getting out of hand and causing more damage to another person without thinking about the consequences of that action.
Stangor, C. (2013). Principles of Social Psychology. Irvington, NY: Flat World Knowledge, Inc.
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