my previous post in discovering how we project ourselves in our relationships, I wonder if you’ve already discovered what are the recurrent themes that keep showing up in the stories you create in your interactions with others? Have you started to identify what you’re particularly sensitive or reactive to? Do you know where all that comes from?
There are a lot of different ways to project ourselves, and I would like to propose in this post some of the few I’ve already identified:
- One of the most common one is around our buttons. Most of the time we are not upset for the reasons we think we are. Most of our issues, insecurities and fears come from our childhood and we bring them with us for the rest of our lives, and especially in relationships. Relationships are the place where we will experience the deepest emotional intimacy there is, and as a result they often trigger our deepest fears and unresolved emotional issues ; a lot of the time our partner, friends or work colleague unconsciously remind us of someone significant in our past, and through our current relationship with them we are actually trying to resolve issues with that particular parental figure. Our limbic brain is wired in such a way that when situations similar to the ones unresolved in our past pop up, it immediately connects the two at the emotional level and we unconsciously re-experience that past event. So keeping this in mind, when we experience strong feelings to a present situation and we get a hint we might be over-reacting, it’s very likely a button has been pushed and we are unconsciously responding to our past.
- Then we have our shadows. As human beings we are not perfect. Now I know that may come to you as a surprise, but all of us have flaws 🙂 So we all have parts of ourselves we don’t like, and a lot of people struggle to fully accept their dark sides. And sometimes, when that happens, when we unconsciously recognize in others a trait we don’t like about ourselves, a common reaction is to criticize it in that very person. Have you found yourself sometimes consistently quite irritated by someone without knowing why? They may be holding an invisible mirror to your own weaknesses.
- Another thing we tend to do is to make assumptions as to why people are doing or saying what they do and say. Human beings tend to not deal very well with uncertainty and ambiguous situations, and when that happens, our default is to fill in the gaps with potential explanations. Unfortunately, we rarely get it right, have you noticed? And the stories we create are rarely making us feel better either…I’ve seen a lot of clients coming up with the worst case scenario – which is typical in anxiety patterns – and make their lives miserable as a result. What’s also interesting as I was previously discussing, is that there are themes in the little scenario we create. Those themes are often the direct result of our past experiences and our brain will remember the emotional impact of those and will look for any potential replay, especially if those experiences were negatives.
There are many other ways we project ourselves in relationships, and that often causes misunderstandings and confusion. At the end of the day, we are in a relationship because we love that person, so why not collaborate together in solving a problem rather than fight against each other? How about if we worked as a team to identify our projections and learn better ways to communicate? What do you think would come out of that, a better or worst relationship?!
What about you? What are they ways you project yourself in relationships?
If you’re interested in learning more and tackle those nasty projections, either alone or with your partner, come along to my next workshop, where I’ll teach effective tools to work on yourself and with the love of your life. You can find more info here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/projected-self-and-codependency-workshop-tickets-14748247405.