Displaced Aggression and Freud

by

Wafeeq Sabir. Ph.D

Psychoanalysis founder, Sigmund Freud noted that the human personality is divided into three parts, the id, ego, and superego; each part developing at different times but contributing to the overall welfare of the individual. An explanation of criminality suggests that when the superego is not strong enough to correct the impulsive desires of the id, deviance and criminal behavior results. Freud’s psychoanalytical approach to this issue is known as displaced aggression (Henslin, 2002). The concept of displaced aggression allows for the outward expression of aggression upon the source of unhappiness. Individuals often redirect their anger towards other targets that are less likely to fight back or offer resistance. Displaced aggression offers an understanding of a motive for prejudice and a strong opinion of why individuals may focus their anger towards innocent bystanders (Taylor et al., 2000). School safety experts and researchers continue to search for a reasonable explanation for youth violence. Social learning perspectives suggest an imperfect society while psychoanalytical perspectives suggest an imbalanced psyche (Barkan, 2001). The reality is that no one theory totally explains why some individuals treasure life, while others resort to gun violence and murder (Glazer, 2003).

References:

Barkan, S. E. (2001). Criminology: A sociological understanding (2nd ed.). Upper Saddleriver, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Glazer, S. (2003, October 31). Serial killers, CQ Researcher, 13(38), 917-940.

Henslin, J. M. (2002). Essentials to sociology: A down-to-earth approach. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Taylor, S. E., Peplau, L. A., & Sears, D. O., (2000). Social psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Displaced aggression and mental imbalance go hand in hand. I think they feed off one another and exacerbate each problem. As you stated; there is an internal strength to right our negative impulses but, if the mind is already stressed then the possibility of over aggressive behavior becomes more serious. Lashing out at others is the way of a weak minded person. Obviously a person who is unbalanced has a weak mind in some form. The idea that all theories are valid for different reasons and for different individuals is probably the best way to deal with any undesirable behavior.
Violence surrounds young people today in games, music, movies, and television but throughout history brutality has been seen on many different levels. Bloodshed and cruelty are nothing new but, it is packaged very differently today. Where as before violence was about survival and a part of life, to be feared and dreaded, today it is glamorized. Young people strive for attention in any form, positive or negative. It is “easy” to get that attention by acting out. As a society we have become desensitized to so much. Things we were once repulsed by are now seen as intriguing and therefore less shocking. This mindset has really affected our youth. We have raised a generation of children who are not shaken by anything and this has extended to those with an imbalanced psyche. People young and old are willing to do just about anything to be known by others. This has affected the way they deal with adversity. Freud understood the power of id and his theory holds a great deal of weight still today. So, entangling the young person who has had there ego shattered and who is also (or therefore) disturbed, and you end up with a child who is willing to kill.
S.Jones

AaronAbel said...

Displaced aggression is a very broad subject matter in itself. I do like the ideas Dr. Sabir has pointed out, involving ID, ego, and Superego. These understandably would have a sufficient amount of effect on Displaced agression. In my opinion, displaced agression results from both, society's feedback, as well as imbalanced phyche.

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Dung Nguyen said...

I like the idea about the explanation criminality that Dr. Sabir pointed out. In my opinion, the elements that make difference of behaviors of each of us are environments, educations, and attitudes.

Anonymous said...

This concept of displaced aggression really makes sense to me. I see it in action on a daily basis with kids bullying others in school, random act of violence from young adults always coming up on the news and even with my everyday personal life with friends and random people. It seems like its often the case that people take out their anger out on others that have nothing to do with the reason they are angry. It sad when you are on the other side of an attack from someone and you have no idea why they are arguing with you in the first place.

David R.

Azeneth U. said...

Anger, signs of agression and violence may show on a human being as soon as they are toddlers. It is up to the parents, to know how to handle these symptoms. If a person is not taught that there are always consequences to ones actions in early child hood that it can be extremely hard to learn it as an adult. Parents are the key to how successfull and knowlegable a kid might be. Good role models, rules, bounderies, and curfews are always important in the upbringing of a child. When a person is not exposed to any of this he/she will grow up totally carefree and might not think twice about shooting or killing another human being. Society can also play a part in the behaviors of human beings, but again if they do not know how to measure these consequences it really wouldnt make a difference if the person grew up in a good or bad society.

student k said...

Babies are taught not to cry. Children are suppose to act like adults. Teens have more information at their finger tips than ever before. Family life and structure are growing more and more absent.Let people be good parts of the society. Anger usually results form lack of communication or lack of knowledge. You have to be able to love yourself before you can love another.

RubenR said...

I think it is true that violent persons do take out anger out on innocent bystanders. Bystanders that will put up less of a fight that is. Although is it an unbalance in the egos? If it is is there should be some kind of medication that will help with this problem. like Ritalin. I think the aggression my lie in the MEME, what they learned from there parents. Also the society they live in. So yeah the human personality is divided into three parts but whats the spark? My conclusion is Society.

Ruben R.

Katie McNabney said...

This caught my eye because right now I am taking a phsycology. We recently went over Freuds concepts of the id,ego and superego. Displaced aggression unfortunately seems to rule our world at this time, in my opinion. There is so much aggresion and violence amongst individuals and countries. As children we learn from our surroundings as well as our parents. At this time and age I think that there are many children who grow up around violence. It is what they know. And sadly as they get older, they act out in response to what they have learned. I think there are many people who truly do treasure life and want to live Gods will for themselves, while others perhaps struggle, and suffer from anger and hate which causes them to be violent.All we can do is pray that one day the people in our world will succome to violent and hatred acts. I hope this makes sense!

McKenzie M said...

While I don't totally trust everything Freud has to say, he has points. To some extent I think its true that if you don't have a balance between your id, ego and superego, you might not be able to control you impulses. However, in a different Freduian theory he states that as a child develops, if you don't give the child enough of what he/she needs, he/she will also develop emotional and mental prolems as an adult

Alex said...

I cannot help but wonder if the violence we see in our society is som ehow a manifestation of our violent nature in those unwilling or unable to repress it. Through cultural developement, we have transcended the need for predation, territoriality and and violent domination. But as an evolved species, it was necessary for millions of years to kill for food, to fight to defend our young, and later to war to protect our groups. It may be some time before this trait is brought under control. We may have tamed it to the point that football and video games provide an outlet for our need for aggression, but it may never dissappear.

Mrs. Cabral said...

As someone who is personally intrigued by psychology I find this article very plausable. However, my theory on people is that everyone is different and we can not know what everyone's reason is for why they did something because it is not all the same reason or answer. I like that it is stated that the source is unhappiness, which made it seem a bit simplistic. Unhappiness causes us to do alot of things and can be the source of many violent acts or even suicidal. Sometimes the person commiting these acts is just not mentally present or even inhumanely unsympathetic. I firmly believe that all minds work differently. One day I hope to help troubled minds whether it is marrital counseling, youth, or even suicidal teens. There is so much we go through in life that alot of the times we just feel like no one understands. Usually people that feel this way just want to be heard and comforted.

One day as a clerk a young girl came through my line crying to her knees. I did not know why she was upset or even dared to ask. I simply told her, "Whatever it is it will get better, it always does no matter what it is. Just have hope." She immediately stopped crying looked at me with belief and said "Really?" I simply responded yes and she smiled.

All one needs is hope.