Perhaps your dad is a rage maniac or your mom is an alcoholic. Maybe your husband needs a punching bag, or your wife throws jealous fits of anger. Whatever the case and whatever the reason for it, violent personalities can be found in just about every family. The key is learning how to work with them.
Keeping your responsibilities straight. Most people, when faced with a toxic situation, allow that situation to blow the other parts of their lives off balance. They reason that if this section is toxic, then the other sections must compensate for it. This is false reasoning, as the results will demonstrate. The best way to not allow this to happen is to outline your responsibilities, be it paying the bills, keeping the house and yard straight, finishing that novel or just living with the person without killing them. Make these responsibilities your top priority, even over the relationship if that is what it takes to get them taken care of.
Keeping your tone down. In a high stress situation, it is only human and comfort-worthy to fly off the handle and start yelling back. If you are angry or frustrated or upset or deeply hurt, it seems that maybe they will understand how much they are hurting you and will stop. This is not how violent personalities operate, however. Violence in everyday situations comes from the need of the other person to be in control of their lives, the feeling that they are not in control, and the realization that violent behavior or drinking puts the feeling of control back inside.
That is all there is to it. However, to make excuses for the other person, many individuals over-complicate what is going on. But, if they realized that the only thing necessary in order to stop the violence is to help the other person feel in control again, they would be able to do something about it much more effectively.
Making them feel good about themselves. Telling them in a non-sucking-up way how proud you are of them and their accomplishments and how you really like what they do for you and when they are around is a great way to start healing the raw emotions and the sensitivity between you. Encourage them in any efforts they are making to better themselves, regularly list the milestones they are crossing and show them how happy you are about it, and be warm and affectionate with them, so that they know you are not judging them, but just love them.
Gentle, oh so gentle, correction. When you have the need to correct them, there is a great way to do it. Before you correct them, think of a gentle way of listing the problem, and then think of at least two solutions to the problem. This is how it should be presented, “Jamie, you forgot to pick up those tools I asked you to get at the store. I was thinking that maybe it would be better for us to have a list on the fridge or a notepad in the car so that we both remember things like that, since I forget that stuff, too. Which one do you think would be more effective?” “Craig, I know you have not gotten around to fixing the hole in the roof yet, but winter is coming and we should probably take precautions. I realize you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, but since I have a little more time, maybe I could fix it myself if you showed me how. Or maybe a repairman could just do it so that you and I have more time for other important things on our to-do list.” “Cassie, which do you think would work better? Keeping all of our bathroom products on the shelf above the sink or in the cabinet below the sink?”
It is important to keep it non-judgmental, have more than one solution and to always give them the option of which solution it should be. Do not offer a solution that you will be trying to over-rule later on. If they are stubborn and want to do something themselves, believe them, say Okay and drop the subject.
Dealing with violent personalities can be a chore, but it does not have to be a long-term problem. Keep your emotional maturity at an even keel, remain calm and relaxed, try to be non-judgmental and be positive as often as you can. The sooner you do this on a consistent basis, the sooner the violence will start to fade.