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Understand Your Transference

Understand your transference. 

Dr. Jacqueline Olds, Dr. Richard Schwartz, and Harriet Webster, in their book “Overcoming Loneliness in Everyday Life,” write:

“Transference is actually a simple concept. It means that we are not capable of experiencing a relationship as genuinely new and completely free of distortions. Instead, our experience with people in the present is colored by how we experienced important people in the past.”

In my psychotherapy sessions with couples, a most problematic hidden issue that’s always at work is this “transference.”

understand your transference

For example, I have had a middle-aged married couple, Marino and Marsha. They came to me for marriage therapy years ago.

Marino complained that his wife would always sleep in the couch of their bedroom. “I can’t understand, where it’s coming from,” he’d say.

Marsha was always belittled and unloved by her father since childhood. She accused her husband of treating her the same way. 

Further exploration revealed Marsha’s string of broken romantic relationships before she got married to Marino.

When asked about it, Marsha shared that she got used to “distancing” herself from men. She admitted being fearful during any relationship.

That’s especially so when men got too close fearing that they too will belittle her and withhold affection from her.

Most human relationships operate on automatic pilot. Much of the time. And, unconscious are the signals that are sent.

Psychotherapy can be like a lab course to understand transference in your relationships. And heal from it.

There, you test perceptions and feelings. You search for distortions left over from the past.

Healing starts when you realize the nature and extent of your psychological distortions in your relationship. 

When you see that your relationship pattern is a function of unmetabolized “transference,” you could then choose to take appropriate action to change it.

Understand your transference in your relationships.

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