Why are we so alarmed and shocked by the gruesome cases of body-chopping and murderous aggression that are being reported in a flurry by the media? That’s because when we read or hear of news that is contrary to what is normal for us and which demonstrates actions that challenge our beliefs of what can or should be, it can lead to significant internal conflict and pique our curiosity. Yet such incidents are a pointer to what we may have overlooked in our associations with fellow human beings.
One of the most important aspects that needs to be understood is the lack of empathy we demonstrate towards each other and that can affect some minds deeply. Emotional and psychological experiences shape the mind of the aggressor. So if the person feels alienation and doesn’t have skills of communication, then often violence becomes a tool for getting noticed. Such behaviour may have been in evidence even prior to the enactment of a very viciously aggressive and violent action but people around the perpetrator didn’t notice or address it. Such solitary people may have over a longitudinal period of time shown a challenge in understanding or demonstrated a disregard to how their actions might affect others.
An additional aspect in such situations tends to be the lack of guilt and remorse in the killer/assaulter on account of the outcomes of the resulting situation. Such individuals, due to their inability to be empathetic, do not experience the kind of guilt that would result when others around are impacted or hurt. This means they have a tendency to engage in increasingly aggressive acts which do not take into account the impact on people. Due to the lack of this feedback mechanism from within the individual, they are unlikely to take measures to bring about a change within their actions. It results in an escalation of the situation and the person continues to engage in being aggressive and violent.
People can have very different reactions when outcomes don’t go their way, aggression being a short cut. Violence in a relationship is usually the result of a lack of sensitivity and adaptive and accommodative mechanism between two people or within family members. Frustration and insecurity build up and the violator increasingly becomes desensitised to the impact his/her behaviour has on others. And with cinematic projection of similar acts of violence as justified, the killer might just internalise this as doing the right thing.
It is also important to note that often such individuals may not have significant meaningful relationships where there is trust. That would have otherwise developed their ability to see alternative approaches. The person may not have a substantial support system and may find themselves feeling lonely and isolated as well. Even if the offender’s aggressive acts become visible to others around them, it can lead to people withdrawing from them, isolating him further. This can further fuel the disturbed mind’s negativity about people and the world besides eliminating the possibility of someone being able to intervene and bring about a change in the actions the person engages in.
It must also be remembered that a person doesn’t become excessively violent or aggressive overnight. There must have been previous instances of conning others and cheating people as well. Even in such instances, the assailant’s focus would be on the outcomes. These people can in fact have the ability to put up a front or a facade that can manipulate others and not allow them to recognise that something is amiss. They may have further shown other behaviours such as the use of substances or been truant in their actions in their early years growing up.
At the end of the day, the identification of patterns and concerning behaviour, which emerge at an early stage of personality development, is critical. Noticing these and taking corrective remedial actions are a must.