In this qualitative study we sought to explore the triggers involved in women’s rage that are expressed towards their intimate partners. In-depth interviews were conducted with 37 incarcerated women who reported experiencing rage towards their partner. Unresolved trauma from childhood closely linked to current levels of adult rage; specific types of trauma that were reported included experiencing physical and sexual abuse, feeling unprotected by caretakers, and having observed domestic violence within their homes. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder were described within the stories of rage as women recounted their experiences of intimate partner violence. Common triggers for igniting rage included women perceiving a threat to themselves, a threat to their loved ones, and emotional abuse.
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This research was supported by a grant from the Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation, administered by the New York Community Trust. Special thanks to Katherine Allen, PhD, for her insights and support during the research process. In addition, deep appreciation is expressed to the participants of this study, as well as to the prison’s clinical director, Deborah Lee, MSW, and her staff, whose assistance made this research possible. Author treats women with rage and trauma at Council for Relationships, Philadelphia, PA.
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Flemke, K. Triggering Rage: Unresolved Trauma in Women’s Lives. Contemp Fam Ther 31, 123–139 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-009-9084-8