Research shows and 75% of my clients notice that anger and frustration are more likely to manifest themselves in an aggressive way within families or relationships with a significant others. Why is that? How come that we are more aggressive and abusive toward those who are emotionally the closest to us?
French neurologist and psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnic has elaborated a great theoretical model that answers this questions. His research shows that emotional (anger) regulation increases if the interaction with others has a specific structure.
That structure, however, is made possible by a specific psychological, and physical distance. The ”shorter” that distance, the more likely is for the aggression to manifest: it is precisely what happens in close, intimate relationships, and especially in the enmeshed ones. When the two partners or members of a group are very close to each other, that is they are family, and/or familiar with each other, they are much more likely to lose the ability to synchronize their interaction and communication. That translates in impulsive reactions, which creates "estrangement", and consequently the necessary distance.
Evidently, intimacy does not necessarily need to involve aggression, but it always contains the potentiality of it.