Displaced anger

6 Oct 2016

Not being in touch with how we feel only serves to create more worry and anxiety. It also means we will end up acting out those anxieties, through cycles of buried anger. It’s how it works.

Not being in touch with how we feel will also cause us to misinterpret what’s going on, as we begin to react to certain situations inappropriately through displaced anger. Therefore, it’s important we think about the thoughts that tie us into feeling what we feel.

A father may come home showing signs of displaced anger through an argument, or a bad day at work. Taking his anger out on his children he begins to defend his behaviour, by saying that his behaviour is simply because his children need discipline. Whilst a parent would agree a child needs discipline, there’s clearly a right and wrong way to hand discipline out.

Dealing with displaced anger is like waiting for a rocket to explode, it’s never easy to know or equate when it will happen, but as we continue to take our anger out on those we love, we will also fail to cultivate empathy and support for our family.

It’s not right for anyone to be at the end of anyone’s displaced anger, let alone a child, just because that person fails to see or deal with their feelings. I believe that not only does displaced anger leave us with permanent emotional scarring until we deal with it, it’s also a form of emotional abuse.

4 Responses to “Displaced anger”

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  1. Randy 06. Oct, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Where do I even begin? My parents always seemed to take a lot of their anger out on us without even realizing it.

    There was just so much tension in the house and we felt like we had to walk on eggshells to avoid bothering them. I already know this is why I have such difficulties communicating with people, because I’m always more concerned about not upsetting them, rather than trying to get my point across.

    My parents definitely should have got gold medals for knowing how to use their anger in ways to hurt us the most. I think I would have rather been physically abused at times, since wounds heal and the pain goes away, but not with emotional ones.

    What I have learned over time is that eventually it does have to be dealt with. At some point it comes out sideways as I call it, when certain bad behaviors surface.

    My rage came out in ways I don’t like to talk about, but suffice to say I didn’t like what I was becoming. This was why I started drinking because I found I couldn’t completely cut myself off from all of those feelings.

    I tried living like a vulcan for so many years, but eventually it doesn’t work other than not being able to feel anything at all. This was why I didn’t do very well in the Army, because I wasn’t able to connect with those feelings that they wanted me to.

    I think I’m just at a point where I am tired of being so angry, about things that happened that I can’t change. My life has royally sucked at times when I didn’t want to face the feelings that I was going through.

    Most of what my parents showed us was that our feelings didn’t matte,r so it was better to just bury them to survive. I’m sure that this is what caused most of my depression, in trying to always suppress what I was holding in.

    Now all I need to do is figure out a safe way to work through that volcano of feelings, buried deep in my psyche! It won’t be easy or pleasant, but I know it needs to be done!

    I don’t want to end up as one of those tortured souls who can’t move on.

    • Ilana 06. Oct, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

      The good thing is that you recognise the feelings of displaced anger and know those feelings are nothing to do with you.

      You’re already half way there. The other half is working through the feelings you feel to change the way you see and conduct yourself in your own life. Although that’s not easy and is something I have recognised, particularly in my formative years, I have learned that we can change the way we think and feel about our past.

      A different perception is what’s needed. As you have a perception of what your parents have done and it’s clear, you can retrain yourself to think a certain way about them, but you have to be prepared to let go.

      It doesn’t make what they’ve done right, it’s also not acceptable, but what it does is empower you to take back control so that you begin to feel differently about your parents and about your past.

      With any displaced anger it’s easy to continue the patterns of feeling angry, but it doesn’t help us move on or feel good about ourselves. I tend to look at the bigger picture and I find that helps… why someone would behave in the way they do or did? What we’re their circumstances, etc.

      It doesn’t change the past, or make what they’ve done acceptable, but it does bring about more understanding for us, so that we can change.

  2. Tim 06. Oct, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

    I’d have to say, without being ashamed, that anger kept my inner flame alive for many years. Yet, there were no words to really articulate that anger, except to wonder what I was afraid of.

    • Ilana 06. Oct, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

      Thanks Tim. If we were to look back now, I think we could articulate our thoughts perfectly, but at the time it’s not so easy to articulate those thoughts or feelings, particularly if those problems were coming from the home.

      What 9 year old understands the issues or problems an adult understands or is able to articulate their thoughts? That said, I think there are some things we do come to see and understand at such a young age.

      Dysfunctional behaviour is a little easier to pick out; particularly when things that are repeated begin to make us feel uneasy.

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