A Symbolic primal has been defined by physician David Freudlich, as acting-out behavior without regression. The feeling that is being acted out is what is in the patient's unconscious mind although it does not involve the original perpetrator of the trauma.
For example, during toddlerhood, when I would fall down, I would often strike out in anger towards the person helping me to rise. That same anger was present when I was handled after my birth. I had just gone through such a severe trauma that I could no longer bear being touched. That lashing-out behavior was a symbolic primal and though it was a re-living of the original feeling, the lashing out was directed to the wrong person(s).
I prefer using the term, symbolic primal, to mean a displacement of the energy of the repressed feeling towards a symbol of the perpetrator or event encompassing a primal feeling. In spite of the displacement, it is, most likely, a way of lowering the charge value of the repressed trauma so that eventually the symbol is no longer needed to sop some of the overwhelming energy of the now conscious trauma so that one, in time, may eventually have the primal directed towards the real or unsymbolized source of the trauma.
For example, I once had a primal feeling of anger directed towards God for the sufferings He allowed in the world. A few minutes later, in the same primal, I felt the fetal rage I had experienced inutero now directed towards my mother (rightly or wrongly) for the sufferings of my birth.
-- John A. Speyrer, Webmeister