Displacement: this is a kind of defense mechanism used when a person diverts an unacceptable thought or impulse from its target to a less threatening objet/target.
A man, after having a bad day at work comes home and beats his wife and then his wife beats her children.
This is a pretty sad example- but as I have studied abuse and its consequences, I have come to realize that displacement is often used by the offender during an abusive act. In the above example, a man has a bad day at work because his boss was condescending and embarrassed the man in front of all his co-workers. The man is extremely upset and wants to take his frustration out – but he can’t take it out on his boss because he is not an easy target. Instead the man takes his frustration out on his wife, who is an easier target. The man is displacing his anger with his boss onto his wife. His wife is then upset and angry and wants to fight back, but can’t fight her husband, so she beats her kids. Sadly, this story is too common in the world today. Instead of confronting the source of one’s anger, people often turn to a safer target to release their frustration- which begins the vicious cycle all over again.