Displacement

Displacement is an unconscious defence mechanism whereby the mind substitutes either a new aim or a new object for goals felt in their original form to be dangerous or unacceptable.

The concept of displacement originated with Sigmund Freud. Initially he saw it as a means of dream-distortion, involving a shift of emphasis from important to unimportant elements, or the replacement of something by a mere illusion. Freud called this “displacement of accent.”

©Psychology Today

Displacement of object: Feelings that are connected with one person are displaced onto another person. A man who has had a bad day at the office, comes home and yells at his wife and children, is displacing his anger from the workplace onto his family.

Freud thought that when children have animal phobias, they may be displacing fears of their parents onto an animal.

Displacement of attribution: A characteristic that one perceives in oneself but seems unacceptable is instead attributed to another person. This is essentially the mechanism of psychological projection; an aspect of the self is projected (displaced) onto someone else. Freud wrote that people commonly displace their own desires onto God’s will.

Freud also saw displacement as occurring in jokes, as well as in neuroses – the obsessional neurotic being especially prone to the technique of displacement onto the minute.

When two or more displacements occurs towards the same idea, the phenomenon is called condensation (from the German Verdichtung).

Phobia displacement or repression: Humans were able to express specific unconscious needs through phobias. These needs that were suppressed deep within themselves created anxiety and tension. The stress, fear, and anxiety that characterize a phobic disorder were the discharge.

Reaction Formation: Cognizant practices are embraced to overcompensate for the nervousness an individual feels in regards to their socially inadmissible oblivious considerations or feelings.

Typically, a response arrangement is set apart by misrepresented conduct, like garishness and urgency.

The displacement of feelings and attitudes from past significant others onto the present-day analyst constitutes a central aspect of the transference, particularly in the case of the neurotic.

A subsidiary form of displacement within the transference occurs when the patient disguises transference references by applying them to an apparent third party or to themself.

©Healthline

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