Updated: Feb 10
Our reaction towards environmental stressors can sometimes be like lighting a match in a pool of gasoline.
In the first four parts of this blog, we have taken a steady progression through understanding the realities of violence. In the previous blog we looked at how emotional stressors play an important part, and although they can at times be used as excuses for violence, they should never be dismissed as reasons for violence. In this blog, we continue understanding the contributing factors toward violence by looking at Environmental Stressors.
Environmental stressors are broad and similar to emotional stressors they are not excuses but reasons. By understanding the reasons for violence we are in a better position to foresee it and ideally prevent it. As mentioned in my previous blogs “I am not taking away responsibility from those that commit violence or providing anyone with excuses.” – I am simply stating reality!
So how about we dive right in and start with environmental stressors such as cultural and social based.
Cultural stressors to violence reference everything from race to religion, and ideology to language. It is a symptom of psychological discomfort as a result of differences. Cultural violence is widespread and has created diverse patterns in society. It is easy to point fingers and blame others for violence when you have never lived in their shoes. In some cases, cultural stressors are extreme while others, minimal. Cultural stressors have resulted in thousands of violent encounters in a world where segregation is still, far too prevalent. But like I have mentioned throughout these blogs, there is a divide between the Euphoric approach to preventing violence and facing the unfortunate realities.
Social stressors come as a result of our relationships with others and our physical environment. A good but sad example, resulting from social stressors would be those that result in suicide. This is the aftermath of violence, so I’ll return to being proactive.
Social stressors include both personal and professional environments. They are situational behaviours as a result of physical and psychological strain. In our personal life, this could be a lack of respect between family members or even friends. In a professional environment, it could be verbal aggression from a customer, superior or even a colleague.
And then there are finances, which can be a major contributor to violent outbursts. The stressors of financial wows are prevalent in so many places. Again, by mentioning this, it doesn’t give excuses to commit violent acts but provides us with insight to better protecting ourselves from violence. Income-related stressors could include wages, self-employment, rent owed, loaned money, and more. How many times have you seen or heard of a violent encounter that came as a result of financial concerns? It shouldn’t happen, but it does. Unlike in Star Trek where money doesn’t exist, we live in a world where finances dictate so much. Some can live with very little while for others no amount is ever enough. Identifying potential risks is protecting our selves from harm. Finances alone, like many stressors, typically result in violence in conjunction with other stressors, so look at the big picture.
What about our senses? How many of you reading this can relate to an inability at times, to effectively manage our sensory perception to light and sound? Sensory Perception Disorder is very real. Our senses are another stressor toward violence. Take a personality that finds it difficult to control themselves in the best of times and then add a trigger such as high-beam headlights behind them at a stoplight or a horn-honking driver. What are the chances of road rage? No excuse, but it happens. I personally suffer from migraines and at times they are severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER. I am an extremely disciplined individual when it comes to my emotions and pain, but not everyone is. Just ask any nurse or doctor working in the ER and they will tell you of many instances where violent outbursts happen as a result of sensory overload or deprivation. For many unions, the quote is “Violence is not part of the job”… unfortunately, it is a very real part and why training for staff to protect themselves from violence is so desperately needed.
We can also add temperature to our list of stressors as extreme heat brings many to the boiling point and is well known for acting as a catalyst to violent acts.
Let’s talk about a general lack of control or functionality. I don’t necessarily mean a lack of emotional or physical control, however, it is in part a reality of this, but we are talking of a lack of environmental control. What comes to mind? How about waiting in line for something or even overcrowding. This could be at a bank, a store or for a ride perhaps. How many times have you found yourself in a line and either getting impatient yourself or seeing/hearing someone becoming irritated at their present predicament? It only takes a spark and violence can erupt. If we happen to find ourselves in the line of fire, then having the knowledge and skills to protect ourselves in that time of crisis makes sense. Just the foresight of knowing that violent stressors are a possibility in your environment is enough to increase your situational awareness, which in turn leads to hopefully avoiding the potential threat.
I finish here with family violence. A huge area of concern in society and it happens all across the globe. So when it comes to stressors, is it any surprise that the greater percentage of violence happens within these environments? Sadly, no!
In fact, when it comes to family violence and stressors, you can probably include all of them because family life incorporates all of them. This doesn’t provide any kind of excuse, but it most certainly makes the point of how stressors can sadly lead to violence.
As with the understanding of emotional stressors, we can point fingers, pass blame or refuse to take responsibility for our own safety. However, if violence comes our way as a result of a stressor or any other means, learning to protect ourselves simply makes sense.
Hopefully, you are enjoying reading or listening to these blogs. What are your thoughts on them?
Please remember to keep your interaction positive in thought and in response. The purpose of this continuing blog is to bring us together to better understanding the realities of violence and the importance of protecting ourselves from it.
In part six we shall continue to look at Contributing Factors toward violence by focusing on additional Stressors such as substance abuse and more.
Thank you for following and sharing this blog. Until next time!
To be continued…