Psychology Definition Of The Week: Displaced Anger

Anger is often associated with suspicion and mistrust, and can manifest itself in feelings of hostility, frustration, exasperation and even fury. But what happens when you displace your anger?

Anger displacement occurs when you direct your angry thoughts and feelings at someone or something that is safe or convenient, rather than the actual source of your anger. For example your boss gives you a hard time at work, but you say nothing and take it out on your partner when you get home. Not only is this bad for your relationships, but it is also ineffective when dealing with the angry feelings – the anger you feel at your boss is still there.

In time you may start to write a script for yourself that involves always displacing your anger, and this in turn can lead you to adopt a cynical and hostile view of your world. Anger turned inward can also lead to depressive disorders. So how can you deal with anger more effectively?

Think about what is making you feel angry and why it is you feel anger rather than a different emotion. Are you feeling threatened by the situation, or did you have unrealistic expectations to begin with?

Avoid reacting to provocation by showing indifference to the source. Don’t feel the need to justify yourself. Instead remain calm and detached.

Remember to breath. During angry ‘fight or flight’ situations your breathing may become shallow. This can impact on your ability to remain calm, rationalise and problem solve effectively.

Try to express yourself in a calm and level way the moment you start to feel angry. Don’t suppress the feelings so they build up. Remember to breath slowly and think “conversation not confrontation”. Try to be assertive rather than aggressive.

Smile, laugh. Visualise yourself letting go of the anger. Try to avoid thinking about the situation over and over again. This will just fuel your angry feelings. Distract yourself by thinking about something more pleasant.

What makes you angry? How do you deal with your anger?

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Comments (11)

  1. KattyBlackyard Monday - 15 / 06 / 2009
    Hi, gr8 post thanks for posting. Information is useful!
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  5. athlete's foot Monday - 21 / 06 / 2010
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  6. Eusebio Thiem Thursday - 24 / 06 / 2010
    You’re a Really Professional Blogger, You either have got quality knowledge of what your discussing or you did some great research. Thanks for this excellent post.
  7. Alyssa Elgin Tuesday - 03 / 08 / 2010
    I really liked this article, I can relate to so much of it. It's always nice to read about something that you can actually connect with instead of something boring that doesn't even make sense. =)
  8. RONAccimb Monday - 18 / 07 / 2011
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