Parents often see problems in children. Where are the problems? Is it in the relationship or in the child? Perhaps it is a bit in each.
One can sense the problems in others. The look, the tone of voice, may make a fact out of an opinion. Feeling oriented people have more difficulty with the opinions of important others. A feeling oriented wife can have a feeling oriented husband who denies feelings and thereby intensifies his wife’s feelings. She has to verbalize the feelings for both of them. The opposite can also happen whereby a wife can be totally unaware of her emotional intensity and the husband�s job is to calm his wife down and ask her to think carefully about her feelings. Over all in most marriages opposites attract.
If the marital relationship is not strong enough to manage the anxiety then often the mother and sometimes the father can take a dislike to something in one of the children. Often the intensity of the negativity towards a child has more to do with the parents ability to mage self than with the child�s behavior.
Perhaps stories can make the point. A mother is tired and cold and so she automatically senses that the child is cold. She tells the child to put on a sweater. The child says that she is not cold. The mother gets mad and says, “you will get a cold and be sick and will not be able to do well in school etc.�
Mother can sometimes be heard to say to an unborn child, “you will always be my baby.” The life course of the child is filled with the mother�s attempts to help and coddle that special child.
The father participates by, 1) saying nothing, 2) taking mom’s side and forcing the child to accept the help or 3) taking on the mother and her anxiety and thereby decreasing the projection process but increasing the anxiety in the marriage.
There are other examples of projection in families were there is violence or incest with children. Often the mother is weak and angers the father who sees the child as part of the mother and not a separate person. The father will then beating the favorite child or taking them on as a special compensation for the mothers lack of warmth.
In projection the major mechanism is the dissolving of boundaries between self and other, assuming one knows who the other is, and further what the child or group needs or should have. Projection is the greatest threat to the future development of the child or the social group. For leaders there is no free ride as anxiety has to be processed in relationships or become fodder for symptoms.