How transference affects your relationship

Transference distorts relationships. Transference is reacting to and perceiving another person as if they are someone (often parents or parent figures) from our childhood. Usually, we are not aware we are doing it. We believe we are really seeing that other person in the here-and-now. We may think we know what they are thinking and feeling, what their intentions are and what we can and cannot expect from them.

When we are in positive transference, we generally feel that the other person is ideal if not perfect. They are capable of giving us all the attention we want and have always wanted. We experience this when we fall in love. The other person seems to be everything we need or want. At these times we often cannot listen to others comments about that person unless they match our own views. We often feel understood by them and so pleased or be in their presence we can give our power away to them: we can lose ourselves and become confluent like two rivers merging into one.

When we are in negative transference and which is a much more common occurrence for most of us, we feel the energy of certainty about the other person’s wrongness. Transference can be triggered by their behaviour: They don’t look us in the eye, or they do. They may criticise our work, are sarcastic, late or forget to do something.

We go into a vicious cycle within ourselves as we feel something wrong has been done to us by the other person. We think we know all about them, what they did and what they will do, think and feel.

We give way our power and often feel little, like a child in the face of a negative parent. That’s where we went internally even if we didn’t recognise this.

We have all experienced going into transference with lovers, spouses, friends or bosses. It happens all the time. As quickly as we can pop into transference, we can pop right out of transference.

In a relationship, the other person starts off as being seen as perfect. As times goes by they suddenly fall off their pedestal. We ask how we could have got it so wrong and blame the other person. We then go into negative transference until they redeem themselves in some way and we then forget and everything is all right again.

Being aware of and understanding your transference is not only essential it is a profound learning opportunity in any relationship. In transference, we are the ones going into patterns. The other person may have done nothing wrong. It is our reaction which throws us into the vicious circles – and keeps us there.

The actions of others trigger us because we have the pattern in ourselves.

How does counselling or relational coaching help?

Counselling or relational coaching can help you see your patterns you perceive in the other person, recognise how they are your patterns and help you disconnect from them.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Caterham CR3 & Banstead SM7
Written by Paul Lipman, MBACP. Accred reg. - Individuals & Couples and Trauma spec.
Caterham CR3 & Banstead SM7

If you would like to know more please feel free to contact me.

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