On Displacing Your Anger

Sophia: When you are angry, do you keep it in or does it sometimes go flying out at others, sometimes to people who are innocent bystanders, such as your stepchildren? Sometimes when people have had a hard day at the office, they come home and yell at the pet dog, when all along the yelling is really meant for the boss.

Inez: I see what you mean. Let me think. Yes, although I hate to admit
it, I can be kind of rough with my stepchildren when Sterling has been huffy with me.

Sophia: Do you see that your anger is meant for him and then you take it out on the children?

Inez: Yes.

Sophia: And they do not deserve it.

Inez: Ouch!

Sophia: Right. You are showing the psychological defense of displacement when you do that—when you take out your anger on others who were not part of the injustice—and everyone does this to a greater or lesser extent from time to time. When we do this, we are not bearing the pain. We are transferring the pain to the innocent.

Inez: No wonder the world is so full of emotional wounds.

Sophia: And our forgiving by bearing the pain helps us not to transfer more wounds to others and into the world.

Inez: I’m listening.

Enright, Robert D. (2012-07-05). The Forgiving Life (APA Lifetools) (Kindle Locations 1175-1187). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.

Enright, Robert D. (2012-07-05). The Forgiving Life (APA Lifetools) (Kindle Locations 1172-1175). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.

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  1. Samantha says:

    Bearing the pain or passing the pain to others: There is a lot to be said for bearing the pain.

  2. Nadine says:

    So sad that some create so much misery for others because those who do the creating have such misery within.

  3. V.E.G. says:

    In a rare turn of events, the beach worker asks tourists to forgive Tunisia per request, and his name was Abdul Ali Ladhari.

  4. Nathaniel says:

    Good point, ,Nadine. It is all too easy to displace our anger onto others. Each time we do that, we are choosing less peace rather than more peace in the world. Those who receive the displaced anger do not deserve this.


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