Well, I would love to report that I had a million examples of where I engaged in projective identification yesterday but given that I worked all day and was super busy, I didn’t really get a chance to engage with others on a personal level. I did have an amazing coaching session with a woman about her divorce. I was able to see, and I think help her see, where her projective identification was a self-fulfilling prophesy. She keeps projecting that he is not going to be there for her or listen then guess what happens? She creates situations where he is not going to be there for her and can’t hear her...painful to see. I really admired her courage to even look at it.
What I got yesterday is that is is hard to look at yourself. I mean really look and be willing to see what is there. I also can see that this pathological need I have to go deeper and keep over turning rocks within my own psyche is not for everyone. A lot of people just want to live their lives and are content to just find someone who doesn’t bother them too much. Then there are those that are willing to change just enough so that they don’t have to change. I am finding that change comes with some pretty hard terms and an almost relentless need to find courage over and over again.
What I did see yesterday in a very concrete way is that what I think becomes true for me even if it isn’t true. I can take anything and make it into whatever I want it to be merely with my thoughts about a situation. It doesn’t require much effort, my mind is this place where I can manufacture almost anything, reality be damned!
I am seeing that this willingness on my part to just allow whatever lands in my head to become my reality has created some pretty hard terms. I think I am finally done with this and by that, I mean that I am done trying to find some place where I can make it all stop. I can’t. It is life. It is my commitment to living an examined life that makes me constantly and forever seek. Look for solution where my head only brings problems. I want to see truth even if it isn’t pretty and is likely my fault. I still want to see.
What I did see yesterday was with my daughter. I project onto her that she is distracted and not helpful. She in turn becomes more distracted and not helpful. Then I become resentful and angry. This is a pattern that doesn’t help either one of us. I decided yesterday to consider her behavior as typical teenager. I decided that I would just allow her to be a teen and not horriblelize it all. Now, this doesn’t mean that she gets a pass, just that I have to step up my parenting game and that feels burdensome and more than I want to do. However, me insisting that she be an adult in her commitments and willingness to be accountable is unproductive and frustrating for both of us. So I stopped projecting that all onto her and just allowed her to be a teen with questionable standards for pretty much everything. No, she did not magically take care of her responsibilities or brush her hair without being told. But it did release some of my frustration and allow me to see that I can reframe anything at any time and get to some place new with her and find peace in my own mind even if she changes nothing.
I am going to keep trying to identify all the ways that I project all over others and then watch what happens if I just notice. Of course, I will also try to do the hard work to change but right now I think the most important practice I can engage in is just to notice.
So notice away! Hope everyone has a great weekend that is full of new ways of looking at old issues, people and problems. Namaste!