Aggression as Seen in Tamela

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After watching Tamela’s story on Intervention, I believe that she shows aggression in her self-harming behaviors and in how she relates to other people. Her aggression is both hostile and instrumental depending on the circumstance. Sometimes her actions are fueled by anger, but the means are to another end as well. Tamela’s story reveals the deep and serious reality of those who self-harm and how their aggression towards themselves does not keep others from feeling their pain. Tamela’s hostile aggressive tendencies are exhibited in her dress, her relation to people around her, and in some of her self-harm behavior. When she dressed provocatively to go out to sing she said that she loved to get attention. She even went as far to state that attention from men is “the only way you know you’re worth anything.” Due to her sexual abuse history and her terrible relationship with her father, Tamela did not trust or have many real relationships with men. She was angry with her parents and the person who abused her and she exhibited that anger by dressing in extremely comment-provoking clothing. Then, when people called her names or treated her like a prostitute, she would become extremely aggressive and yell and curse. Her hostile self-harm behaviors were shown when she was punching the door. She was angry with her boyfriend and could not express it well, so she felt the need to punch the door repeatedly. This can also be instrumental aggression because she is expressing other feelings through breaking the door. Overall, I believe that Tamela’s self-injury was instrumental aggression. She saw the cutting as a way to express her pain and relieve the psychological trauma in her mind. It was not simply anger that fueled her behavior, but a deep-rooted pain and unbearable weight of feeling inadequate and worthless. Tamela explained, “When I feel ashamed, I do it on my pubic

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