Displacement: taking out any impulsive behavior on a less threatening target. The mind redirects difficult or painful emotions from a ‘dangerous’ object to a ‘safe’ object or less threatening object. When we are impulsive to others in this way we treat them as a whipping post for our painful emotions.
Displacement (German: Verschiebung, "shift, move") is an unconscious defense 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. Displacement operates in the mind unconsciously, its transference of emotions, ideas, or wishes being most often used to allay anxiety in the face of aggressive, unpleasant feelings or sexual impulses.
Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship pattern that was important in a person's childhood, to which the conflict was not resolved. Another definition is the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object or person. Still another definition is the reproduction of emotions relating to repressed experiences buried in the unconscious mind, and the substitution of another person to be thought to be the cause of these buried emotions, for the original object or causal event of the repressed impulses".
Ego Defense Mechanism
As one learns how to refocus one’s thoughts, one prevents overwhelming states of emotion from triggering impulsive behaviors and angry reactions. As one develops strong impulse control they are learning a form of ego discipline through applied patience. If we check in and find that we do not like what we may be feeling, we can learn better the reasons for that by further shifting into the observer mode. In our community, we call that process of observing as shifting from identifying with a thought or feeling by moving ourselves into the compassionate witness. As a Compassionate Witness we have no judgment of thoughts or feelings, we hold no judgment of what we are observing in the external, we only observe those thoughts and feelings in our self and others. When we can fully observe through our own Compassionate Witness, we then become neutral and centered. Then, we can immediately find relief from our inner anxiety, fears and a host of other thought distortions. This process is key to shifting Ego Defense Mechanisms, thought addiction tendency and releasing the anxiety or fear of feeling emotional depth or pain. By continually using an ego defense mechanism to avoid facing the source causation of the anxiety or deeply rooted fear, (which is unresolved pain or trauma) we are only perpetuating the mental looping which uses denial of the truth in order to avoid feeling pain or discomfort.