What are the mechanisms of anger and how do we help children who have been abused and abandoned to manage their associated behaviors?

Steven Stosny defines, in his book “Treating Attachment Abuse” (1995), a therapeutic model for patients with a history of physical and emotional abuse in close relationships and provides a chemical explanation of how anger acts as a sort of “psychological rescue.” One of the hormones that the brain secretes during anger is norepinephrine, experienced by the body as an analgesic.

In fact, if a person experiences physical or psychological pain (or the threat of such a pain), the internal activation of the anger response will precipitate the release of a chemically formulated chemical for pain relief. Therefore, anger is like a two-edged sword: terribly detrimental to relationships, yet a mechanism of the body to allow many vulnerable people to survive emotionally in the midst of pain.

Anger is one of the visible behaviors of children with a history of abuse and abandonment. That is why, during the last therapeutic intervention, we specifically addressed self-control exercises (such as abdominal breathing) and children were also encouraged to express their anger through drawings expressing their feelings.

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