Negative Projection:
“I never had children, because my husband didn’t want to, and now it’s too late.”

"Mastery and Mystery" — Queen Bess by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

It was Carl Jung who stated that thoughts and fears that remain unconscious get projected onto others. A wife blames her husband for their decision not to have children, unaware of her own fear of such responsibility.

People tend to project qualities that are incompatible with their own self-image. For instance, a person who sees himself as kind and generous might not want to acknowledge his own greed, and consequently sees it only in others; or a husband blames his wife for having given up his dreams of traveling the islands with a guitar, unaware of his own preference for the security of his stable job, lifestyle, and wife.

When we make negative projections, we rarely recognize the seeds of those qualities in ourselves. Painful or incompatible qualities get projected onto another person, and that person ends up becoming the target of our wrath.

Our task is to take back our projections in the quest for wholeness.

By projecting the decision not to have children on your husband, you disown your own free will. You disregard your own part in that decision. Ultimately, you made the choice not to have children. You could have talked your partner into it, discussed it before getting together, or left him rather than abiding by his preference. You chose to stay with him and thereby agreed with his desire not to have children.

By taking back responsibility for making your own decisions, you become aware of your true priorities and choices. When you stop blaming others, you gain freedom and control in your life. As a result, you don’t live with resentment toward others in your life — a key to happy relationships.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Childhood impairment: The family projection process.”

Read “Positive Projection: ‘He’s so amazingly intelligent and articulate!”

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4 thoughts on “Negative Projection:
“I never had children, because my husband didn’t want to, and now it’s too late.”

  1. Tony Nand

    My persona as a nurse is so accommodating, tolerant and patient, I am wondering what my shadow must be like! Maybe I just don’t understand.

    1. Alison Post author

      That’s funny. It’s great to be accommodating, tolerant and patient, unless it’s too much and you end up given up your own wellbeing for the sake of others too much.

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