Hi Loveliy12, the thing with this kind of definition is that the edges are fuzzy and overlap, as there is so much context to consider.
Further things are to consider with violence (trigger warning:, going to get more in depth about violence before the end of the rest of this post)
- Firstly the age of the person matters, when we are old enough that we have developed our frontal lobe (impulse control part of the brain), and as it is becomes more developed though adolescence, violent acts are treated with increasingly more seriousness; as most adults have the ability to control their impulse to violence (I would guess that most people who have hit someone have did so in childhood or adolescence). Obviously this is not the case when we're talking about self-defense, rather, being the aggressor is the issue here. Therefore, if someone lashes out this way as an adult, this is a red flag that they do not have good impulse control or a handle on how to express their anger, and therefore likely do exhibit the behavior again.
- Relationships are also based on care and trust, and respect and acting violently is in conflict with those values and promises that come with a relationship. It is a violation of that trust to exhibit that violence (this applies to friendships, too). Again this is a red flag that a person is capable of physically hurting someone that they are meant to do the opposite to, which is also a danger sign about this person.
- Also, sometimes people may not consciously think "I am going to control this person", they may be blinded by rage, or want to "teach someone a lesson"/"show them". This is not healthy adult behaviour, and all boil down to a desire to control/dominate a person or situation, and someone motivated to this kind of impulse is at high risk to do it again in the same or similar circumstances.
The above is also why simply saying "I won't do it again" cannot simply be taken at face value; as there are so many instances where the first time is never the last time, and to set the boundary that the relationship is ceasing because there was a violent act is a reasonable one to set, as the person setting this boundary correct to think and be concerned that:
1) Interpersonal violence is never
okay in a relationship, as it is disrespectful and dangerous.
2) Waiting to see whether it occurs again runs the risk that if it does, that the person being acted violently will hurt the other person even more, causing further harm, mentally or physically, or even killing them.
To really make sure it doesn't happens again, the person who did the violence needs to do more than just say sorry, they need to take personal steps to address why their anger caused them to violate this person's trust and their bodily safety. This is because making amends is more than just apologizing, it is about taking responsibility, fixing the wrongdoing where possible, and taking steps to demonstrate that it will never happen again.
The above is why mental health help-lines aimed at men (it is also possible for women also to commit abuse, however embedded cultural messages in many cultures lead to violence against women by men being significantly more pervasive, which I won't go into here for brevity), often have a focus on providing options for counseling and therapy to people who have committed abuse or an abusive act who want to address and change this behaviour. If someone is commits an act of violent aggression (even if they don't know why), even if it's the first time, this can be a very good thing to unpack with a therapist, to look at the reasons why it occurred to prevent it from happening again. The kinds of things someone might do are individual therapy, relationship counseling with their partner if they are willing, and/or group therapy, and/or self help resources focused on this issue.
It is also important to remember that even when the person takes these step, and tries to make amends, breaking trust with someone through a violent act is something that can be so violating for the person who was at the receiving end of the violence, that it may not be forgiven, and even if it is, never feel comfortable trusting the other person again or entering a relationship with them. Again, this is a more than understandable and reasonable decision, however, this does not mean the person who did the work addressing their impulse to violence wasted their time, as they have done important work to help them have healthy relationships with others, and themselves, in the future.
This was quite long and wordy, but I hope this helps shed some light on this issue, which can be quite confronting and complex. If you have any further thoughts or questions, please don't hesitate to reach out here.