Instrumental Aggression: Definition & Examples

Instrumental aggression is a form in which the perpetrator aims to achieve a specific outcome, physical, emotional, or intellectual, without involving their feelings or desires.

There are several different types of instrumental aggression, each with its examples. Here are a few:

1. Bullying: This is the most common type of instrumental aggression, and someone in a position of power over the victim usually carries it out. Bullies use intimidation, threats, and violence to get their target to do what they want, often without caring about the victim’s feelings.

2. Gossip: Gossipers use malicious rumors to destroy their target’s reputation and cause them emotional distress. They often enjoy watching the victim suffer, and they may even go so far as to spread rumors about the victim’s sexual orientation or personal health.

3. Sabotaging: Saboteurs try to make things difficult for their target, sabotaging their work, destroying their relationships, or undermining their efforts. They may do this for personal gain or out of spite, but the goal is to make the victim’s life difficult.

4. Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is a form of aggression that occurs online. Victims can be hurt by nasty comments, offensive pictures, and even threats of physical violence.

Instrumental aggression can be very destructive and seriously impact the victim’s life. But it’s also common for instrumental aggression to go unchecked, leading to even more serious problems. So if you’re concerned about someone you know who seems to be using instrumental aggression in their relationships, it’s important to talk to them about it.

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