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There is a multitude of ways to treat someone badly; you can treat them as though they are insignificant, engage in intentional miscommunication, bullying, all the way to out-and-out emotional explosions. While the methods we use to engage in this kind of behavior are many, the causes are few in comparison. Why do we do it? Why?
1) Strange as it may sound, many of the emotional explosions that include unacceptable behavior like verbal abuse and more actually stem from the belief that you can trust the recipient will still love you or support you enough to overlook your actions. It is not all that uncommon to unload or 'go off' on the person who presents the least threat of undesired repercussions.
2) You don't know how to say goodbye. This creates a situation where the person attempting to leave home, a friendship, relationship or even a job, elects to start an argument serious enough to provide them with a reason to leave and make it the other person's fault.
3) You have other plans that do not include the person you are with. This stems from the same emotions as number 2, however, in this instance; the perpetrator has no intention of leaving for good or moving out. They just have other plans and need an escape and a cause if their actions are discovered. Cheaters frequently resort to this behavior to escape to their rendezvous. This is an abusive tactic; "See what you made me do" is the mantra of abusers and the excuse they give to their victims.
4) You feel insignificant and need to 'take a stand' and direct attention to your opinions, ideas or worth. This is typically an explosive argument where the perpetrator bellows at the top of their lungs and creates general upheaval in an entire household or family/friend unit. It says, 'look at me, listen to me, I'm important too!" Low self-worth contributes to this cause.
5) You have no ability to feel compassion or empathy for another person. This signifies a person that may actually be narcissistic, a serious and dangerous personality disorder. Narcissist's can rarely see or feel how any actions affects anyone but themselves, and they don't care. They may be incapable of fulfilling emotional needs for another person, or much worse.
Strangely enough, when you identify the cause you may be less inclined to engage in the behavior. Once you understand what triggers your actions, you may be able to make a better choice.
No one has the right to engage in explosive behavior towards another person for any reason. It is a choice one makes when they either do not care about the consequences or feel certain there will not be any lasting repercussions; this is self-serving and speaks volumes about the perpetrators self-esteem.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of this kind of behavior, identify the cause and make a decision about your own response to it. Then act accordingly.