“When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself. Every conflict you wage is an excuse not to face a conflict within”
— The Path to Love by Deepak Chopra
Oof. That is a hard pill to swallow.
💊 When I get mad at my partner for leaving the toothpaste cap off, I’m mad at me?
💊 When I get upset for my partner for leaving the laundry in the dryer, it’s about me?
💊 When my partner gets mad about unmatched Tupperware, it’s not about me?
Yes. It’s called our shadow side and we all have one.
It may not be as literal as a toothpaste cap or leaving the laundry in the dryer (for the love), but something “they” are doing is bothering you because there’s a form you do too, and have disowned, repressed, or split off.
Before y’all angry-type, “But I don’t… but I don’t do…”
Let me clarify. This 👏🏻 Does 👏🏻 Not 👏🏻 Apply 👏🏻 To 👏🏻 Abuse 👏🏻
And irritations that activate you about your partner might be things you’ve denied in yourself.
It’s called projection,
✨ “the process of displacing one's feelings onto a different person…or object—attributing one's own unacceptable urges to another.”
It’s a fully unconscious process.
Psychology today says:
✨ “We often identify unpleasant, negative qualities in others that we hate in ourselves. This process occurs unconsciously.”
Sigmund Freud invented the term in 1895. Carl Jung says it way cooler,
✨ “The general psychological reason for projection is always an activated unconscious that seeks expression. [“The Tavistock Lectures,” CW 18, par. 352.]
So how do we know we might be projecting or disowning our stuff?
⚡️We have huge reactions to small things
⚡️We immediately roll into the blame game
⚡️We are unable to remain in a neutral position about a subject
⚡️We notice a pattern in the interaction
Knowing how to navigate potential projections is key to creating and maintaining a healthy relationship.
p.s. this works in the workplace too!