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What is Misplaced Anger?

Misplaced anger is when we are angry at one thing or person. But take it out on another.  We do this because we feel like we lack of control over the what we are actually angry about. It is easier to take it out on another situation. In psychology terms this is refereed to as displaced anger.

I like to use the term misplaced instead of displaced, because for me it makes it easier to uncover the real cause of our anger. Both relate to directing our anger to the wrong spot.

How to Deal with Misplaced Anger

There are two steps to begin to manage your misplaced anger. The first is awareness. You can't gain and understanding of why you are misplacing anger until you know that you are doing it. The second is beginning to understand why you are misplacing that anger.

misplaced anger

Best Ways to Uncover These

The first step is to be aware when you lash out at someone. This is very hard to do in the moment, because we can be caught up in our feelings. But if we can register that we are angry, and that we need to take a look at it when we are calm. This is the best first step you can take.

Second, when you have time and are not angry. Journaling is a great tool to help you understand your anger better.

Here are some journal prompts to help you explore anger:

Misplaced Anger Journal Prompts:

1. Pick a situation where you are angry with someone?

2. Was the real cause of your anger triggered by them? If not, what triggered you?

3. Why does this anger you?

4. What are your feelings associated with the why?

5. Begin to explore what in your past can be triggering this.

6. Do you control the situation?

7. Is there anything you can do to influence it?

8. How can you heal the personal aspects?

This should give you insight into why you are misplacing anger. For more information on how to heal those issues triggering you, check out my article on emotional healing techniques.

If you are still dealing with overwhelming anger, check out my downloadable anger workbook.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to this episode of the discover heal thrive podcast. I'm your host, Andrea. And today we are going to dig into the topic of misplaced anger. The thing is, is it is really easy to misplaced our anger, our fear, really any emotions instead of dealing with those emotions or facing the cause we just redirect them. Instead, we send them to other people, other situations, sometimes just randomly blaming things like the system and you know, our parents. So instead what we actually need to do in order to gain control over anger and at the same time gain control over our own lives. We have to become , hyper aware of why we are displacing our anger. Now, the first issue with this is that we often don't even realize we're doing it. It is highly subconscious, especially if we're looking at the higher level stuff, when we're allocating out victim hood in a random blanket fashion, it is very hard to see what is causing that anger, that angst.

So what I would recommend is start by journaling. Journaling is hands down my favorite way to uncover not only those subconscious happenings, but really dig into why you might be doing something. So I am actually gonna walk you through a journaling process with some prompts to actually help you work through an issue. So the first thing that you do is actually pick your situation, pick something in the recent past, where you were angry, upset, and ended up directing your anger to somebody else. Now I am actually throughout this episode going to use an example that I just finished dealing with. If you're listening to this, I'm recording it on January 7th, we just had the chaos at the Capitol. And in the moment I wasn't dealing with my anger and it ended up coming out sadly as anger towards my son, because he was being too loud while doing dishes.

So my son is 15. So this is actually hindsight, knowing why I did it rather, comical that instead of addressing my anger about what was going on, that I diverted it to my son being too loud while doing dishes and it's completely unattached to each other. And at the moment I wasn't aware and actually about five to 10 minutes after I scolded him for being too loud, I was like, Oh, wait a second. That was misplaced anger. So pick your situation. So for me, the situation that I was looking at was my son being too loud while doing dishes. All right. The very first question that you ask after you have picked your situation that you were expressing anger was, was it them? And so when I sat down and said, was it my son, was he being loud? He wasn't being quiet, but probably not loud enough that it warranted the scolding him for it.

And so it wasn't him. And so at that point I had to that you then want to ask yourself, if not, what triggered you and for this, you want to think back over the past few days, really see if something set you off. So like I said, when I figured it out it was the capital, but very specifically, I even honed in on one particular image that made me very angry. One image was doing it. That was kind of putting me over to the top. So I identified that particular trigger. Next. You want to begin to ask yourself why it triggered you? Why did it make you angry? So you've identified the situation where that anger is actually coming from. You need to begin to understand why. So, as I was looking at that particular picture, that really made me angry, it started to bring up old feelings that I had about not being heard not always doing the right thing and not being seen.

And it, all this stuff started coming up. It was, yes, I was mad at the picture, but the underlying cause of my anger with the picture was these past wounds that were creeping back in. I saw the picture and it triggered in me the issues around being seen and being heard. Now I will tell you, it took me a couple of steps to get down to that it's being seen in it's being heard. I kind of had to go through a couple of them to figure it out. So this isn't always apparent. And remember that because remember a lot of this is subconscious. So when you're exploring why you're angry about that, you might want to look at a few different things and it might take you a while, especially if it's a really deep issue and you're just starting to face it. You may not figure this out on the first time you're journaling.

So take your time and really dig into what is going on and what you want to do next is start to identify the feelings associated with it. And these feelings are what is actually going to lead you to the deeper, deeper core issue. So if you were angry, what else were you? We often have many issues. So,uI was angry, but I was also frustrated, I was sad. I was in disbelief. Like all these other emotions were coming up. So kind of identify those feelings then as you were addressing those feelings, that's when you really truly begin to explore what from your past can be triggering it. So you know why you're angry and what your feelings were. Now you look back in your life and go, okay, what in my life may be making this even worse as you are facing life.

Even if it has direct impact on you or an indirect impact on you, every time you have a judgment, all of this is a reflection of what is inside you. So yes, it is a society issue. Yes, we have lots to solve. Yes. There's a zillion problems that we could talk about, but at the core of your feelings, at the core of your reaction to everything that is going on, it is reflecting something inside you that needs to be healed. And so begin to take those feelings paired with the why you're angry and look for places in your life that you may not have addressed past issues. Now you might be very aware of these issues. Like the ones for me, I was very aware of them. And so for me, it was actually fairly easy to sit down and go, Oh, I was triggered by this picture because it triggered my feelings towards it.

For me, it was a couple of specific issues, a couple of issues that I have dealt with, but still, yeah, we'll have some residual work to do. And so I was able to identify those, now, again, this whole process of kind of getting to that point can take you a while. It might not be right away. So then we move on to the next step of this journaling to handle this. And this is where we look at, where can we solve this? So by solve, I mean, a couple of different areas, we're actually going to approach this from many different points because we have to deal with the issue at hand that we were misplacing our anger. We also have to deal with what was triggering our anger. And we have to do the long-term work to overcome said triggers. So the first thing that you want to do is go back in the whatever triggered it.

So my misplaced anger was at my son. So I would apologize. It was a small enough issue that it's an easy apology. Now, if it's something more major than it might take you a while to make up for that misplaced anger, but starting with sorry is always very good. Now we want to move to the event that triggered it. So using my example, it was a very specific picture. And so using that, I asked myself, do I have control over what is in this picture? And I don't plain and simple. I have, I have zero control over what is happening in the picture. So once you've identified if you have control or not, you can go one of two ways. If you have control over the event that is making you angry, create a plan to fix it. And remember control means that you control it.

You don't control somebody else. So if you have control over the event, that is angering, you create a plan to fix that and get rid of that out of your life. If you don't have control, that's when we move on to our next question, is there anything that you can do that would make an impact? Might not change it, but would make an impact. So if I'm looking at the picture, I have no control over it. Can I do anything to influence the outcome after the fact and very sadly for me again, the answer was no. Because I would love to say that I could reach out to my representatives in Congress and I could do this. But the sad fact is I live in a place where my reps are part of the problem. So for me personally, there was not a ton I can do.

Yes, I can go onto Twitter and voice my opinion and make, try and make the changes, which I will do. But in reality, yet, again, it isn't something I can have a lot of direct impact on. Now. You might be in a very different space where you would have control over and make an impact on it. So if you do have the ability to sit, make some sort of impact on what you need to fix, then do it create a plan and do it, which brings us to our final question. And that is I have no control. I can't influence it. How do I release it? Well, in order to release it, we have to step back and look at what is triggering us. How can you heal what is personal about it? So if something triggered you because it brought up childhood issues of not being good enough in order to help that anger, dissipate, you have to go back and healed episodes in your childhood.

That play into that. Now how you go back and heal those that's a completely different episode, but you can start by journaling understanding what those are. You can tap, you can meditate. Actually the last episode I did was on changing limiting beliefs. So if you have through this process, come to a point where, you know, what is the biggest thing that you need to overcome? Go listen to that. And it will teach you how you can use tapping in order to do that. But really once you get to this bottom point, you've identified, what's making you angry. What's forcing you to misplace your anger. That's when you go back and really just start to dive into getting all those situations healed. So I hope this was really beneficial to you. I will post the questions that I went through in the description. I will also post them on my website in the show notes for this, you can go to discover, heal, thrive.com to do that.

Now, depending on when you listen to this, my it's January 7th, my website is getting some updates and it will pop the show notes. Probably won't be there until the 11th. So you can look at the description section, the questions will be there. And then on the 11th, I will have all the show notes and everything, including the transcript over on the website. And if you want to come hang out with me and see what I am tweeting about, I changed my Twitter handle and it is now Andrea chats. If you enjoyed this episode, I would really love it. If you would share it with somebody who you think could benefit from the information that I have shared, and I will talk to you in the next podcast.


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