Programs that employ CBT principles have a good chance of doing some good. They at least have a better chance than those programs that operate from the traditional misguided perspective that abusers are wounded, love-hungry, insecure, self-esteem-deficient individuals, out of touch with their feelings, lacking in communication skills, and who simply know no other way to cope. But even some of the better CBT-based programs have some disturbing weaknesses. That’s partly because they often focus so heavily on the person’s thinking patterns and attitudes and not directly or intensely enough on their typical behavior patterns. It’s also because the prevailing but erroneous perspective guiding their structure is that anger is always the main precipitant of aggressive behavior.
No one really has the power to “make” you feel or think a particular way. Only you have that power. But sometimes people can send us pretty powerful “invitations” – invitations that are toxic but are also, for various reasons, hard to dismiss or decline.
In contrast to traditional psychotherapy, CBT does not focus as much on feelings, emotional conflicts or past traumatic events. Rather the focus is on the here-and-now as well as on how an individual’s thought processes influences their behavior patterns.
Despite frequent social sanctions, aggressive personalities often persist in their aggressive defiance of society’s rules and limits.