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Tricking Off with a Thug: Jianna's Displacement

Last Monday, on Black Book Clubs Day, Charae Lewis thanked Hopeful Heartbreakers and proceeded to give me, Rah, and Qi “roles” in the book club. Mine just so happened to be the thug therapist who never diagnoses the main characters *lmao* I’m only putting that comment here because I’m about to do it again.


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Listen…sometimes, well most times, the supporting characters bring the most emotion out of me. So, here we go…


In Chan’s Tricking Off with a Thug, there were quite a few “main” characters, but one of them just really got under my skin. Jianna was selfish, arrogant, and truly didn’t care about anyone but herself. There was one character in the book who truly had Jianna’s back at one point, but she didn’t care about her either. As a matter of fact, she didn’t even refer to Montoya as her friend, although according to Montoya, they were best friends. Rather, she dismissed her as an “associate” to justify creeping around with her boyfriend and wifing her newest love interest. Why did this bother me so much? Y’all know how it is. You consider yourself to be the loyal friend, so any sign of someone being a disloyal one goes all over you. Well, at one point in the book, Jianna says this:


I knew that I didn’t acknowledge her as my best friend, but she was really all that I had. What scared me about admitting that she was really my friend was having to worry about if she would ever do me wrong. I know it may have seemed like I was this fucked up ass person that did her friend dirty, but that’s all that had ever been done to me.


This was the definition of hurt people, hurt people. And although cliché, it’s true. Hurt people do hurt people but often times not on purpose. Usually, it’s because of some sort of defense mechanism that one’s psyche has built to avoid emotional hurt and/or trauma. In Jianna’s case, it was displacement. Displacement is when one transfers their emotions from the person or situation that’s the target of their frustration to someone or something else entirely (https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mind-meaning/10-common-defense-mechanisms/). Why not aim that frustration at the true target? Subconsciously, one may believe that to confront the source of their feelings may be too dangerous or risky, so they shift the focus toward a target or situation that is less intimidating or dangerous. In this case, it was poor Montoya. Montoya had always been there for her—even physically fought for her in high school when Jianna couldn’t fight her own battles.


Although possibly on a smaller scale, displacement happens every day. Have you ever had a stressful or frustrating day at work, and then you come home to your partner and/or kids and are snappy with them, even though they hadn’t really done anything? That’s displacement and can be detrimental to any relationship. Let’s not be like Jianna. Let’s practice skills that keep us from bleeding over into other people. Instead of expressing displaced emotions onto others, try finding another outlet to express those emotions. Instead of yelling at bae or your bestie, write that frustration out in a journal, sweat it out in the gym, or go to another world by diving into a new book.