Friday, June 8, 2012

Identifying Transference in Anger

Transference: the redirection of feelings from one person to another.
... also, negative feelings from childhood, usually below the awareness, that emerge in the present that are redirected in inappropriate ways.
We all feature for behaviours of transference. Anger is the commonest effect.
Anger is either a problem or an opportunity, or both. One way we can identify opportunities to manage anger, especially regarding hurting people, is to note the process of transference—the mounting of defence in the form of attack.
Transference of negative emotions can manifest in unchecked anger.
Unchecked anger is that portion of rebounding hurt that escapes the clutches of our conscious awareness. This is anger that includes responses of sinful pride, where we may wilfully justify our anger—especially where we hurt people back.
What we potentially have is tennis-match transference; a ‘rally’ forms as each person’s anger fires the other person’s, and vice versa.
Taking An Interest In Transference
If we are interested in our anger we will be interested in instances of transference.
Transference is a learned response phenomenon. From our childhoods we have learned certain ways of coping. Later in life, when similar feelings are experienced, we transfer the sort of response we learned earlier in the later situation. Many of these responses are insufficient or inappropriate. Anger is a good general example.
Notwithstanding constructive forms of anger, we can learn a great deal about anger that occurs non-constructively.
And in our learning we can ask ourselves, are we transferring our inner hurts onto others through our anger? Of course, it’s not their fault that what has happened has provoked something they couldn’t know about. How could how we feel about a particular issue be their fault?
Being interested in transference helps us understand how others’ anger that is directed at us isn’t always targeted toward us, necessarily or personally. It seemed as destined to hurt us, but often their response is one that is learned from a disconnected event in their distant past. It has little to do with us.
Forgiveness is made much easier when we understand this concept.
Transference And Forgiveness
When we contemplate the commonness in transference through humanity, we understand that defensive people, and people that attack, often react these ways not purely for the reasons it seems they do. Other, more distant, factors come into play.
People end up in fights with each other very often because of intrapersonal conflicts that spill over into interpersonal realms. It may seem that the anger is provoked by another person, but really there are unreconciled reasons within the person themselves.
When we understand that another person’s anger is usually not fully provoked by what we’ve done alone we don’t feel so threatened.
Anger is the result of complex emotions. When we understand the complexities in anger we are much more compassionate with ourselves and others. When we understand transference we can manage our anger better.
Most anger, when we analyse it, is understandable.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.


  1. I always see anger as two things: one, a greatly wasted use of emotional energy, and two,as opportunity. It seems that most of the time anger is a result of crisis - but the modern western world has come to misuse this word crisis, turning it into something that means little short of total disaster. In its original Greek meaning ( krisis ) the word stood for opportunity.
    Br G-M

  2. I meant to add, that's a stunning piece of photography!
    Br G-M

  3. Br G-M, I love your allusions to krisis... perhaps these are more God-purposed events than we credit. I think that's true.
    God bless,


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