Verbal intervention is the first thing to try, and can often be effective for many standard situations if it is approached with patience and true compassion and understanding (Mohr 2008). At the same time, keeping space between the person intervening and the aggressive client/patient is important in order to ensure everyones safety as the situation progresses (Nursing Planet 2010). Verbal intervention is not always effective, however, and drug and physical interventions might be necessary for everyones safety (Mohr 2008; Nursing Planet 2010).
Attitudes Towards Abusers and Victims
It is very tempting to have feelings of nothing but anger, resentment, and disgust towards people who abuse others regardless of the situation, and in fact it can be very difficult to develop any other feelings towards such persons. I have attempted to cultivate some measure of compassion for these people, as it is almost certain that their lives and specific experiences have been largely negative and to such an extreme degree that an abusive personality is formed, but at some point I feel that people need to confront and deal with their issues rather than using them as an excuse to continue behavior that is harmful to others.
In some ways, this attitude extends to victims of a certain age; while they are of course deserving of compassion and of care and protection to allow the emotional healing that they need to go through, it is also somewhat frustrating that so many adult victims of abuse simply put up with it and feel so powerless to stop it, when simply ending a relationship at the first signs of abuse is both wise and much easier than waiting.
My attitude towards victims certainly changes when the victim is a child or can elderly person — when the victim is truly dependent on their abuser for the basic necessities of life. There is a distinction here between those that are physically dependent on their abuser and those that are dependent only emotionally or due to the specifics of a financial situation; though these attachments can make things difficult, they do not make ending or leaving the relationship truly impossible. When it is truly impossible, the victim deserves nothing but compassion and protection.
Mohr, W. (2008). Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Nursing Planet. (2010). “Nursing Management of Aggression.” Psychiatric.