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Emotional displacement

One equally important concept, namely “emotional displacement “*, I propose to examine in more detail.

Emotional shift* – transition to another direction of perception of people, events and situations with preserved emotional reaction to them. Thus, the Personality experiences emotions that do not allow to adequately assess what is happening, which can lead to negative consequences.
Let’s consider various examples to familiarize ourselves with the concept of “emotional displacement” and the results that follow from it.

Example 1.

One of the emotions accompanying the emotional shift is love. In fact, at the initial stage love is not yet a feeling, but a complex emotion of the second level (for more information, see the website of the project Working with Emotions from the Center for the Study of Personality.

A woman who experiences the emotion of love (falling in love) tends to see only the positive aspects of her partner. For example, she may admire (complex emotion of the second level) his attractiveness and intelligence, but ignore his anger (complex emotion of the second level) towards the waiter who carries the menu for a long time. But such an emotional reaction can speak not only about the partner’s emotional control problems, but also about his aggressiveness, which, later, can affect his attitude to the woman.

The woman will experience the emotion of interest in relation to the man, joy in connection with his attention (complex emotions of the second level), behind which she will not be able to adequately assess the partner. The emotional shift will allow her to see only what she would like to see. In other words, her positive emotions will overshadow the negative.

Example 2.

Imagine that a high school graduate has arrived in the capital city. He feels joy (first-level emotion) from the long-awaited freedom and satisfaction (first-level emotion) from his move.
He sees the new city through the prism of emotional displacement – the emotion of interest in the new place, anticipation (complex emotion of the first level) of new acquaintances and prospects, he has not yet been touched by fear (emotion of the first level) or disappointment (complex emotion of the first level) in connection with unfulfilled hopes or difficulties. Emotional displacement does not give an objective assessment, and after all, a new city carries a lot of dangers, which can lead to psychological traumas.

Example 3.

Let’s say that a professional in his business has passed the interview and got a good job, but he is so insecure that he considers it a great luck.
The person will feel an emotion of gratitude (first level emotion) and admiration (second level complex emotion) towards the boss who hired him, considering him worthy of this respect just for the indulgence shown and the chance given.
This suggests that the emotional shift will only allow the boss to be seen in a good light, but it may not be the case in practice.
The boss, in turn, can lure a professional and necessary employee by promising good conditions. Seeing the emotional reaction of a potential subordinate (fear of failure, and then gratitude and respect), as well as his uncertainty, he will conclude that the person does not even realize his value. This can lead to the fact that the boss will not only overwhelm the employee with all kinds of work, but will not pay him decently for his labor, limiting himself to exploitation.
As we can see, emotional displacement is a very complex process that can have negative consequences. And it is important to realize that the key word in the concept is “displacement”, i.e. “departure from the emotional norm”.

Emotional displacement must be diagnosed at early stages and prevented from becoming entrenched in the Personality Structure. It is for this purpose that CSP (Center for the Study of Personality) has developed special techniques for three-dimensional diagnosis and correction of emotional disorders. Thus, you will be able to avoid potentially dangerous reactions and, at the same time, keep your Emotional sphere in the psychological norm.

Irina Lukiyanchuk psychologist on working with emotions

Edited by Alisa Anisimova

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