The Art of Displaced Aggression

I don’t mean to brag, but when it comes to punching, heaving and breaking inanimate objects that have absolutely nothing to do with my anger or frustration, I’m somewhat of a master.

Despite what psychiatrists, psychologists, anger management experts and my mother may say, displaced aggression can be a beautiful thing. When done right, it can be tremendously liberating and physically beneficial, and should result in little to no out-of-pockets costs, or damage to your relationships.

Displaced aggression gets a bad rap not because there is anything inherently wrong with it, but rather because it is often carried out by rank amateurs who neither understand nor fully embrace the finer points of throwing and smashing things.

To ensure that you get the most out of your tantrums, hissy fits, catharses, and fury going forward, you just need to follow the simple guidelines I’ve listed below. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be proficient in the art of displaced aggression – free to act like a complete maniac whenever things don’t go your way, with little worry of any negative consequences.

Focus on inexpensive/worthless objects that make a loud noise whenever struck or smashed. The louder the noise your object of displaced aggression makes on impact, the more satisfaction you will receive – provided it doesn’t involve high replacement costs. Throwing a Fabergé egg through the glass casing of an antique china cabinet may offer tremendous release initially, but the resultant debt you’ll incur will greatly mar the whole experience. Try to direct your aggression toward objects that have little financial or sentimental worth, or that can be easily fixed. For instance, if you know how to spackle, throwing an American-made TV set through a wall in your suburban home can be a wonderful way to express your rage without causing irreparable damage to anything of value. So can stomping on a pile of Nickelback CDs while wearing golf shoes.

Make sure nobody is around to see it. When you are pissed off enough to smash or punch an inanimate object, the last thing you need is for somebody to tell you to calm the hell down and/or grow the hell up. This will only add to your ire and sense of self-loathing, and could result in you throwing vicious words or a right hook in someone’s direction, which, as we will discuss later, is a no-no in the art of displaced aggression. Aside from the increased shame and the risk of violence, performing acts of displaced aggression in full view of others will severely decrease your chances of getting laid, as physical conniptions are about as sexy as dry heaving or fanny packs.

Use good form to avoid personal injury. The only thing worse than having someone catch you in the act of displaced aggression is hurting yourself in the process. The sought-after loud noise I previously mentioned shouldn’t be the sound of your metacarpal or metatarsal bones shattering. Be sure you know how to make a proper fist before sending it through drywall or a windshield, and be sure you’re wearing steel-toed boots before kicking a door or a stranger’s gravestone. If you feel compelled to flip a table or a Kia over, bend at the knees, not at the waist. It’s important to remember that whenever you’re hell-bent on physical destruction, safety comes first.      

Never make a pet the object of your aggression. Hurting cats and dogs may be understandable for a small child or a celebrity athlete, but it has no place in artful adult displaced aggression. Regardless of how terrible your day has been or how badly your fantasy sports team is doing, never take out your frustration on a pet. Not even a Pug.

Never make another person the object of your aggression. Displaced aggression should always be victimless. Striking a fellow human being who isn’t directly responsible for your rage and/or is unlikely or unable to retaliate is the act of an emotionally stunted coward. It’s the stuff that child, spousal and elder abuse is made of. It is simply unacceptable to inflict pain on an innocent person. The only exception is if something REALLY pisses you off and there happens to be a member of the Fox News staff or a mime within close proximity. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

images – Shutterstock

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