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Posts Tagged ‘projections’

When I ask someone what it is they like about their partner, often the answer tells me more about what that person receives from their partner – a feeling of being appreciated, loved, understood, safe, etc. It seems what we are looking for in relationships is to have our emotional needs satisfied. Is this not expecting too much? Is it even possible?

I am interested in how something that starts like a romantic movie on the scale of “Titanic” turns into a low-budget drama with elements of nightmare. What is it in me that triggers and steers this process from the very start? Why longing for a working relationship, I set myself up for failure and sabotaged the few ones I had? What would it take from me to live together without hurting my beloved? I have been trying to remember a single morning when I woke up and said to myself, “How can I make sure I get hurt again and while I am at it, why not help another soul feel miserable?” Not that I remember. There seems to be a glitch in the system somewhere.


So I thought I’d take a good look at the dynamics of intimate relationships and try to see where my own judgement fails me.

Why this exploration? Because

a) those same patterns show up in all our relationships although not as powerfully

b) I strive to live a conscious life in this universe not of my choosing

c) let’s just say I finally bought Elisabeth Gilbert’s “Committed” and find myself warming up to the idea of giving myself a try at relationships

“Of all the ideologies that possess the contemporary soul, perhaps none is more powerful, more seductive, and possibly more delusory than the romantic fantasy that there is someone out there who is right for us, the long-sought soul mate, what I call “the magical other” , the one who will truly understand us, take care of us, meet our needs, repair the wounds, and, with a little luck, spare us the burden of growing up and meeting our needs”.

James Hollis, “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Your Life”, p 104

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Until now I never really understood the mechanism of projections and what they opened for if seen not as the truth about other people but about ourselves.  How is it that we see in others what we like and don’t like in ourselves? Debbie Ford defines projection as “an involuntary transfer of our own unconscious behaviour onto others, so it appears to us that those qualities actually exist in other people.  Since we lie to ourselves about our internal feelings, the only way we can find them is to see them in others”. Makes sense: how else would I recognise something as arrogance if I didn’t know it? The others, who have the honour (often times the burden) of receiving our negative projections, have some quality that triggers that projection in us. So if I accept my own arrogance, I will not be affected by someone else’s because I will know I can be this way too. Doesn’t this also open for compassion towards others?

The problem with projections is that they actually prevent us from seeing people as they are. We are bumping into our own fears and emotions, talking to ourselves and our memories instead of the real people. We might even think we know them but in fact have very little clue about what’s behind this wall  we build between ourselves and other people. How very sad!


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