Concept of the Month -- May 2006

Part I: Anger and the Criminal

A pervasive feature of the criminal's personality is anger. It arises out of the criminal's fears and unrealistic expectations. The anger is not always visible, for often the offender seethes within but does not openly express it. His anger is like a cancer that metastizes. Anyone or anything eventually can be a target.

The criminal expects to be in control of situations and other people. He expects the world to accommodate him rather than that he accommodate others. He allows no room for Murphy of "Murphy's Law" that if anything can go wrong it will (and Sullivan's Corollary that Murphy is an optimist).

Think of it this way. If each day you expected everything to go your way, how many times in a day would this expectation be thwarted? A car cuts in front of
you. Something you expect by mail fails to arrive.Your car develops an unexpected problem.You go to the store and they are out of what you want to purchase. Your son is balking at going to a family gathering. On and on. Life is full of such incidents.Most of them the responsible person learns to take in stride and cope with them without making matters worse. Not the criminal! Any detail of life that does not go his way threatens to diminish his sense of power and control. Therefore, he takes it personally as a blow to his self-esteem. Anger flares with any dissatisfaction.One man said, "I don't get mad. I get even." That is, he is angry but he doesn't immediately show it.

It is critical to understand that fear is at the core of the criminal's anger reaction -- fear that no longer will he be in control, fear that the world will not give him what he thinks he is due!

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