How do we judge people? What affects our response to certain behaviors coming from our partners? Are we always aware of the decisions we make and the things underlying our feelings towards certain people and their personalities? Oftentimes, our reactions and feelings are affected by a phenomenon that modern psychology calls transference.
What Is Transference?
First described by the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, transference is psychological a phenomenon in which there is an unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. In other words, childhood memories – both negative and positive – may have a huge impact on how we deal with current situations in ways we may be oblivious to.
The Impact Transference Has On Our Personal Lives
Because it is very frequently a subconscious phenomenon, transference can basically underlie all our decisions and reactions even when we don’t realize it. For instance, if our parents rarely praised us for anything, we may react badly to a partner’s lack of praise for some accomplishment we consider to be very important, like a job promotion or a shirt we ironed very well. Our reaction may seem out of proportion, and our partner may think we are being paranoid for feeling mad at them for neglecting to congratulate us on it, but in our minds they are failing us just like our parents did decades ago.
How Can We Improve Things?
In a recent School Of Life video, a guy feels hurt and annoyed at his girlfriend for reasons seemingly inexplicable, but in reality, his reaction is triggered by a childhood experience of rejection. As the video goes on to an end, the girl lovingly approaches her boyfriend and tries to patiently elicit the real reason for his reaction. He, on the other hand, honestly explains how he was hurt by a similar situation in the past. Together, they find a way to overcome the misunderstanding and be happy.
Finishing off the video, famous philosopher and School of Life founder Alain De Botton concludes, “We don’t need people to be normal: we just need them to be able to explain their abnormalities in good time, with kindness and humility”. Therefore, communication is once again the key to overcoming psychological phenomena so common yet hurtful as transference.
The School Of Life video on Transference: