Telling people they’re just like their mother or re-enacting their relationship with their father is not usually helpful—even if it’s true!
People don’t like being analyzed, especially in a condescending way. Unless the analysis is offered with just the right intention, it feels patronizing and invasive to have someone deconstruct your behavior. No one really knows the true motivations of another person anyway.
It can be fascinating to figure people out and enjoyable to offer helpful insight. People who analyze others may feel closer to people when they understand their behavior. However, sometimes they miss out on a deeper connection, which requires simply being present.
Focusing too much on analyzing others can lead you to miss the best part of relationship. The time you spend with loved ones is more meaningful and enjoyable when you feel their energetic essence.
Even good therapy involves more than penetrating mental analysis. It entails a connection beyond the mind, based on an appreciation of the ineffable qualities of that particular person.
Relationships in general need to have a sense of fondness as their basis. Insightful analysis can be helpful once a connection is forged, as long as it is welcomed. Then, it is best offered with humility rather than certainty and with kindness rather than condescension. But if you ever tell people that they are acting just like their mother or father, do it with a sense of humor.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD