How to Prevent Transference from Ruining Your Relationship

Not everyone understands the word “transference”, but this concept appears frequently in relationships. Transference in relationships causes certain people to repeat spousal abuse history, fall in love with toxic people, or fail to form an intimacy with their spouses. Understanding this concept will help you to take the first step in preventing it from ruining your efforts to form a healthy relationship.

Definition of Transference

The term “transference” started to emerge during the rise of psychoanalysis. It refers to a redirection of sentiment, feeling, or emotion experienced in the past to object or person at the present day. This term used to be popular among therapists, who used it to describe the “connection” that happens between therapist and client.

Now, transference has become a popular term to describe past psychological baggage, which affects current relationships. Transference causes someone to projects his or her past experiences to the current condition. Think about the times you heard words such as, “Don’t treat me like I’m your mother”, or “My abuse at the hands of my father made me afraid of connecting seriously with men”.

Transference may have a positive impact to form familiarity when connecting with new people. However, when there is much negative psychological baggage, transference can prevent you from creating a full, meaningful relationship.

Forms of Negative Transference in Relationship

There are several negative transferences one may experience in a relationship. They are:

  • Excessive idealization

Idealization happens when you are trying to “fill the gap” between what you know about a potential partner and his/her actual personality by creating an overly-ideal image. For example, if your father is cold, you may imagine a potential man as a “protective knight” or surrogate affection source.

  • Negative projection

If you have a lot of anger or bitterness from past experiences, you may project them on your loved one. For example, if your parents were demanding and authoritative, you may lash out to your loved one when he/she does not follow your high “standard”.

  • Avoidance

Excessive fear toward relationship can happen if a person is traumatic about a bad relationship. This can happen to a person from a broken home or those who got out of an abusive relationship.

  • Oedipal-type transference

This transference type describes people who fall in love with others who resemble their parents (father or mother). While it is not wrong, it can cause you to neglect your partner’s true personality when experienced in excessive level.

These negative transferences can affect relationships in many ways. They may reduce the quality of communication between couples. They can also make people act disproportionately when facing problems with their mates. You must solve your unfinished business or past burden to prevent transference from ruining your relationship.

First Step: Recognizing Transference Signs

How do you know when transference happens? If you are in a relationship, pay attention to signs like these:

  • Obsession toward a relationship, regardless of damages or unending conflicts
  • Persistent demands to change other people to fit expectations
  • Inexplicable repulsion or attraction toward someone, often not based on reality
  • Disappointment from drastic differences between fantasy and reality
  • Making every behavior or word from someone else as a personal thing
  • Strong emotions (positive or negative) when your partner says or does something specific

By recognizing these signs, you understand that you project your past to current relationship. The best action is to find professional and social support that can give outsider’s perspective. They are also helpful when your relationship is toxic and requiring intervention.

Tips to Deal with Transference in Relationships

If your relationship is toxic and causing you (or your partner) to receive abuse, consider asking for help in breaking it. However, if the transference happens in a relationship that can still be fixed, you and your partner can work on it. Here are several tips to stop projecting the past and start focusing on the now:

  • Conduct reality check on your transference

Make the cause of your transference clear by asking an honest question, such as “Who my partner resembles?” Write down the question and the answer in a journal. Give detailed descriptions of things that make them similar. It will provide written proof of your transference cause.

  • Ask your partner about his/her feeling

Sit down with your partner and ask about how he/she feels about you. Ask your partner to be honest about certain acts or words that make them feel unappreciated, misunderstood, blamed, forcibly changed, or other negative feelings.

  • Face your past

Go through memory lane and find out more about what you lack in the past. It may be affection, affirmation, attention, appreciation, or the combination of all. You may need to discuss this with family members or talk with a therapist, because your memories or repression may cloud your judgment.

Once this problem is realized, try visiting a couple therapist with your spouse. If your relationship is worth saving, you must work together to solve the transference problem.

Transference in relationships causes people to see their partners or connections in unrealistic ways. Recognize this problem to have a healthier, more realistic relationship goal.

Here are 5 Reasons Why You Need to Have a Strong Internal Locus of Control

Internal locus of control (ILOC) is a concept in psychology that is related to the principle of determining the success and failure of an individual. This concept is rooted in Rotter’s social-learning theory of personality which has been developed since 1954.

This concept focuses on the ability of a person to associate his achievements or failures with his own capacity. In other words, this concept is a belief system which stated that each has an awareness of his strengths and weaknesses.

Internal locus of control is often regarded as a permanent mindset derived from one’s genes. However, several recent studies have revealed that this concept can also come from the influence of the family attitude, the environment around the house, and the daily interactions.

Having a strong internal locus of control personality can be very beneficial for your character development. Here are 5 reasons why

1. It Makes You Aware of Your Own Weaknesses

Realizing your own weaknesses is an important key to achieving success in the future. Many people are not aware of their own mistakes and weaknesses, so sometimes they spend much time to figure it out.

By having a strong ILOC, you can easily detect your own shortcomings. This attitude will make it easier for you to do a self-evaluation and find the best path to improve yourself.

People with ILOC characters will understand that internal factors are what determine someone’s success or failure. Thus, you will not be busy looking for reasons or blaming others for your failure.

2. It Would Be Much Easier for You to Take Control of Your Life

Having ILOC personality will help you to take control of your own life. It should be noted that one of the most common complaints of psychological problems today is the difficulty to feel “control” in life.  Many factors make people believe that they do not have control over their own lives, starting from dissatisfaction with financial conditions, loneliness, or traumatic experiences in the past.

Also, many experts believe that the phenomenon happens because many people find it difficult to conduct self-introspection subjectively and tend to blame external factors as the main reasons to lose control over their lives.

However, regardless of the ILOC context, you have to stop looking for excuses and start taking control of your life right now. After all, the feeling of having control over your own life will make you happier and more relaxed in no time.

3. You Would Focus on Developing Yourself Rather than Thinking about Other Things that are Beyond Your Control

Having an awareness that your own ability determines the outcome will keep you busy focusing on developing yourself. This will indirectly make you forget other things that are beyond your control.

Thinking about things that are beyond your control is a waste of time and should not be done. You cannot manage things that are beyond your reach, such as opinions, attitudes, or feelings of others. Therefore, focus on developing things that you can control can be a big advantage for your self-development.

4. Cultivating Leadership Characteristics within Your Soul

The characteristics of the ILOC concept are believed to be able to produce quality leaders. The main reason is that people with strong ILOC are usually more confident and not easily influenced by negative opinions from others. Moreover, they also have such high self-confidence and ability to evaluate a problem from an objective perspective.

However, it should be underlined that leadership quality is not only measured by how strong someone’s ILOC is. Other characteristics can affect final output such as honesty, ethical behavior, empathy, and integrity.

5. Better Decision-Making Skills

Many studies reveal that people with strong ILOC tend to be more competent in making difficult decisions. Some scientists presume that the reason is that they are more objective and do not hesitate to trust their own ideas and consideration.

In making personal decisions in life, you often think of the impact of that decision on others even though you are the one who will feel the impact directly. This attitude will make it difficult for you to make choices in life.

Finally, the research on the development of internal locus of control of an individual is still being developed until now. If you want to shape yourself into a more positive person using this concept, try to consult with a therapist to find the right method to develop this personality in you.

However, as mentioned above, internal locus of control also has a different “genetic tendency” in each person. Therefore, there is no need to force yourself to develop such character if you feel that this concept does not match your inner character. After all, trying to be the best version of yourself is more than enough.