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Male-Female Relationships & Domestic Violence

Understanding Aggressive Behaviors

At Lion we work with the perpetrators and the targets of their aggression.  In intimate partner relationships, violence is an emotional expression by one person trying to control others and the means to get their needs met, to win, at whatever the cost. As a child we learn how to understand and manage our emotions from our caregivers and others around us. Children do observe that there are often short term rewards for aggression on an interpersonal level, but often cannot connect those rewards to the longer term consequences.  Children who do not learn to respect the boundaries of others, the rights of others and healthy ways to express emotions continue the aggressive behaviors throughout their adult life.

At Lion, we engage individuals in a process that examines how intentions inform thoughts which in turn determine our actions. This cognitive restructuring approach includes, anger management techniques and most importantly how to take ownership of and express emotions assertively, without damaging the trust and love of the intimate relationship.


5 reasons why Black families and relationships sometimes appear dysfunctional*


Diss-respect: words of mutual contempt ridicule; wide mistrust of mates, mothers and fathers. We hear words and comments that give the impression that it is ok to be ridiculed and put down. As a result 43.3% of black men and 41.9% of black women do not marry, compared to 27.4% of white men and 20.7% of white women.


The Beat-Down: disproportional rates of physical, verbal, spiritual, and psychological abuse in black relationships. The number one killer of African American women aged 15-34 is dying at the hands of “loved ones”. Women experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than whites. Black males experience intimate partner violence at a rate 62% higher than white men.


“Can’t Be True to My Boo”: the acceptance and expectation of infidelity.

Icing: emotional shutdown and distance that fosters unhealthy relationships. Icing results in embracing anti-intimate behavior, even in intimate relationships. Through messages we get the message that we are a strong and resilient race of people; “life ain’t no crystal stair”; we are expected to “suck it up”. We shut down and keep emotional distances, hoping to avoid hurt at all costs, opting to survive relationships instead of enjoying healthy ones.


Mutual Dis-enabling: irresponsible black men and overprotective black women perpetrate negative emotional trends with sons and daughters. Children continue the cycle of unhealthy relationships. In 2005 70% of black children in the United States were born to single mothers compared to 25.3% of non-Hispanic women and 48% to Hispanic women.

*Inspired by "Brainwashed" by Tom Burrell

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