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Violent behaviour is when you’re physically harming others, or causing them to fear harm from you. Violent behaviour comes in many forms. Drugs and alcohol usually make violent behaviour worse. If you’re being violent, there are things you can do to understand and stop your destructive behaviour.

This can help if:

  • you get angry often, or know someone who does
  • you want to stop your violent behaviour
  • you want to manage your anger better.
Young man holding a beer

What counts as violence?

Violence is basically any behaviour that physically hurts other people or makes them afraid of being hurt. Physical violence is sometimes linked to other negative behaviours, like emotional abuse, bullying and prejudice. Physical violence also includes sexual assault.

Where does violence come from?

There are many factors that can make a person behave violently. You might be violent because:

  • you’re frustrated, angry or pissed-off
  • you want to control someone else
  • you’re repeating behaviours you’ve learnt from others.

Stopping your own violent behaviour

It’s important to understand that violence isn’t okay, and in most cases is actually illegal. If you’re prone to being violent, there are ways that you can manage your anger and destructive behaviour:

  • Think about the people and situations that make you angry. Make a list of all the triggers you can think of. Knowing what they are will make it easier to avoid them.
  • Try to prepare ahead of time and come up with a plan in case you find yourself in a situation that triggers your anger. Your best option is to remove yourself from that situation, before you do anything violent, until you calm down.
  • Take an honest look at yourself and your behaviour. Does your behaviour hurt other people and damage your relationships? If it does, it’s worth seeking help.
  • Talk to someone. It’s hard to deal with anger and violence on your own. You might feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk to someone about your violent behaviour, but there are people that can help and that won’t judge you. A counsellor, mental health worker, nurse, doctor or psychologist can help you understand what’s going on and suggest ways to change how you react to things.

Getting help with drug and alcohol problems

Taking drugs or drinking alcohol can make violent behaviour much worse, as being high or drunk reduces your inhibitions and your ability to control your emotions. Getting help with your drug or alcohol use can significantly decrease your chances of behaving violently. A doctor, nurse, counsellor or psychologist can help you get the right support for your issues with drugs and alcohol.

What can I do now?