Displaced aggression is when you feel very angry at someone or some situation—usually something very much outside of your control—and rather than directing that anger where it belongs, you direct it elsewhere.
For example, I had a conflict with a boss and not being able to tell him how I really felt I laid into my husband with the anger of the Kraken because (and sadly this is true) he parked to close to my car.
In the moment, my anger over something so stupid seemed very real and warranted but it wasn’t; this was about my boss and some spreadsheet problem.
The worst part is that we only direct our aggression at those we feel safe directing toward. Basically, the ones we love and who love us back.
We do this all the time but globally, I am more concerned about the bigger issue of displaced aggression.
I worry that a lot of people are seeing things on TV that make them angry and that they can’t do anything about and sending aggression toward those they feel it’s safe to yell at. Like the order taker at Chipotle who put cheese on your salad when you told them 14 times you don’t want cheese!! GRRRR …
Or even scarier, sending threats of violence to female congresswomen rather than dealing with their “Mommy issues.”
So how do you know it’s displaced aggression?
It feels like rage and at some point, even the most enraged logical mind will question why you are so mad about something which really is so small. Take the time to do that.
It also tends to feel very primal, almost like a deep hurt or wounding has been triggered. You may find yourself saying childlike victim things like “I don’t know why they would think that was ok.” “Why would they hurt me like that?” “Don’t they care about me?”
So, what do we do about it?
- The key is to recognize it, not always easy I know, but when you feel RAGE over anything question if the wrong you have experienced warrants that anger.
- It’s the $5 solution to the $1000 problem and it really works. When you feel rage, ask yourself the question “What’s this really about?” and keep asking till you get the real answer, which is most likely something you can’t do anything about at all.
- Book a therapeutic session with a healer. Come see someone in the therapy world who can help you heal the original wounding.
- Mostly just love yourself. Life is tough and it’s tough for everyone but if you make enemies of your cheering section you lose your support mechanisms and that would really be tragic.
It’s hard and I know it’s work, trust me I do it too. But for the sake of the emotional health of yourself and of the whole world, work on healing your own wounding when displaced anger and aggression come up. Not only will you make yourself better, but you will help the whole world in the process.
And if you need help with this, give me a call. I will be at Chipotle picking the cheese out of my salad.
You are loved.
Jill K Thomas CHT
Soul Connect Hypnotherapy
Author of the books “Tales from the Trance” & “Feed your Real Hunger”
Appointments available Globally by Video Chat