Psychotherapy Services in South West London

A psychodynamic explanation of relationship problems

A young child who interprets parental behaviour as rejection, desertion or persecution is in a dilemma, the child cannot give up the object (the parents) nor can he or she change that object. Typically the frustration is dealt with by internalising aspects of the loved-hatred parent in order to control the objects in the child inner world. The most powerful obstacle to change is people’s attachments to their parental introjects. The more psychologically painful the early life experience the greater the investment in internal objects the more an adult will engage in an unconscious effort to make all close relationship fit the internal role models. Marital partners chose one another on the basis of their primary object relationship, which they have split off and which are interacting with the spouse they experience once again as a  result of projective identification.  People usually do not select the partner they want, they get the one that they need to re-enact this dynamic. That is each is drain to someone who recreates the childhood dream of unconditional love but also like the bad inner object to allow old hatreds to be projected. A partner is chosen who it is hoped will cancel out, replicate, control, master, live through in a dyadic framework what could not be settled internally. One major source of marital disharmony results form spouses who project disowned aspects of themselves onto their mates and then fight these characteristics in the mate.

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