All You Need To Know About Displacement In Psychology

Last Update on August 24, 2021 : Published on August 24, 2021
displacement in psychology

Displacement in psychology is a type of defense mechanism wherein an individual conveys a negative emotion to a less threatening inheritor instead of its original source. This can happen with a person or a thing that is less threatening to the individual. This type of defense mechanism allows us to act our emotions in such a way that it helps in decreasing the probability of negative repercussions.

One of the best examples of displacement in psychology is the “displacement of anger”, let’s say if you are angry with someone but unable to direct your anger towards them due to high-level consequences, you might choose to take your anger out on something or someone with fewer risks.

For example, if I talk about my anger, sometimes I am unable to show my anger to my husband; therefore, I choose to throw my clothes from my wardrobe as an act of anger. This might sound funny to you, but we all have that one pet peeve.

This blog covers everything you need to know about Displacement in psychology.

Displacement: Type of Defense Mechanism

When someone experiences anger, they generally show their anger through impulses or emotions; they also might look for ways to manage their anger and negative feelings. Herein, a defense mechanism enters; it is basically operational on an unconscious level.

Displacement is a type of defense mechanism wherein an individual’s mind tries to reduce stress and anxiety related to anger and tries to restore emotional balance. The fact is that such defense mechanisms work without seeking our consciousness.

They help us to cope with threatening things, people, or the environment. They influence us in such a way that it results in anxiety. Talking about displacement, our mind reacts to the source of frustration but still finds a safer outlet for venting out our negative thoughts and feelings related to it.

Working of Displacement

To keep it simple and more understandable, let’s take the example of displacement. Suppose your manager just called you into his cabin and yelled at you for the thing you didn’t do. You came out of the cabin and now you want to vent out your frustration or anger on your manager but you still can’t do it because it might take a toll on your job.

Therefore, you try to hold your emotion through the end of the day. When you get home…what are you going to do? How are you going to unleash your emotions? You might take it out on your roommate, your mom, your children, or your wife.

If you observe this scenario with your conscious mind, you will be able to see how insignificant it was. The anger that you have held throughout the day vented out in an indirect way. There are other examples of displacement wherein we tend to react to someone with fewer risks instead of the source. Have you ever thought about what the consequences of displacement are?

Consequences of Displacement

Yes, there are consequences of displacement and they can be toxic for your personal and professional life as well. The fact is that the consequences of displacement are related to the chain reaction.

They are cycled. Imagine your manager must be angry at your boss and yelled at you. You were angry with your boss and you yelled at your wife. Your wife must be angry with you and she might take it out on the children. And in return, your children might take out their anger on each other. This phenomenon is also known as scapegoating.

Tips to Manage your Displacement Type of Defense Mechanism

In order to manage your displacement type of defense mechanism, you can always take the help of a therapist in the form of psychotherapy. Therapy will help you in learning coping ways and managing your anger in a positive way.

If you are looking for help online, try BetterHelp. BetterHelp is one of the leading and fastest-growing mental health platforms.

Also Read: Honest BetterHelp Review: Get The Best Mental Health Help You Need

Moreover, you can also try the below-mentioned tips to manage your displacement type of defense mechanism:

  • By observing your behavior and actions, you can try minimizing your anger or anxiety.
  • Reflection is one of the best strategies to control your negative emotions. Even it is widely used by therapists as well. It helps us in considering our actions and behavior.
  • By reframing your negative thoughts into positive ones, you can manage your anxiety and anger related to displacement.

I hope this blog helps you to understand displacement in psychology. Comment down and share your experiences or views on the displacement type of defense mechanism. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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