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Defusing Hostile Interactions: One Day Course

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Lesson 10, Topic 1
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Characteristics Common with Those Prone to Hostility

Kerry September 15, 2021

Some individuals may be predisposed to hostile outbursts, and for many others it is a reaction to a situation in which one is assessing very quickly.  Our upbringing, our experiences with anger and hostility create a frame of reference to measure present day situations against.   Some have experienced trauma from some of these experiences which again creates reactive behaviours to mitigate the threat. There are three domains to consider which will play out in hostility and these are, cognition, emotion, and behaviour.

For example, if you perceive that someone poses a threat to you (cognitive assessment), it is likely you will become fearful of their intentions (emotion response). As a result of your cognitive interpretation which is impacted by your emotion state it may lead you to get defensive, or  perhaps actively avoid them (behavioural response).

Below are some examples of common characteristics which are are to many human beings. See if any of these resonate for you.


  • Cynicism
  • Negativity
  • Resentment
  • Suspiciousness
  • Directed ill will
  • Confusion
  • Loss of Power
  • Ignored
  • Not valued


  • Rage
  • anxious
  • Frustration
  • Jealousy
  • Fear
  • Distressed
  • Abandoned
  • Unsafe
  • Embarrassed

Behaviour: Verbal

  • Sarcastic tone
  • Personal Attacking
  • Critical comments
  • Racism/ Sexist
  • Yelling/ Swearing
  • Threats – Professional and or physical harm
  • Accusing
  • Prolonged silence

Behaviour: Non-Verbal

  • Staring – “stink eye”
  • Eye-rolling
  • Shaking head “no”
  • Pointing
  • Shoving/throwing objects towards someone
  • Pounding on a table or wall
  • Physical encroachment
  • Physical Violence