Far too many individuals among us enter adolescence and adulthood without having developed the internal controls necessary to adequately regulate their behavior, and especially, to modulate their violent impulses under duress. That so many have so few controls is in itself a major tragedy in our culture.
Assertive behavior is a key element of healthy, independent, adult functioning. But because asserting oneself is a form of “fighting” for one’s legitimate needs, it’s easy to get confused about the difference between aggressive and assertive behavior.
Persons with disturbed characters don’t act the way most of us do largely because they don’t think the way we do. Some will even advance points of view which they don’t really believe but which they want you to believe that they believe — all with a view to manipulating you or managing your impression of them.
There is a fairly substantial group of highly disturbed characters at the center of most abusive relationships and who pose the greatest threat to social order. These are the pathological fighters who resist all attempts to socialize them.