In the world of human relationships, we can become confused between how we are being treated now, and how we interpret such interactions based upon previous lived experience. This lived experience includes the very first years of our life, when the attachment relationship between ourselves and significant others including our primary caregivers shaped the people we become.
Our personality, our fears, our habits, our motivation and aspirations, levels of choice and perceived control, will influence how we relate to others, in every moment and on-going.
Sometimes we project the substance of prior relationships onto others in the present time. Those others can be strangers or people we know well but usually people we feel safe with. In so doing, we may ‘let it all hang out’, be uninhibited and perhaps even nasty. We run the risk or falsely attributing how we feel in their presence to something they have done to us in our present-time interaction. Yet that may not be so. We may have ‘scapegoated’ them for an unresolved trauma in a past relationship with someone else.
Effectively, something in the present time has activated a memory of the past, associated emotions are triggered and so the process of projection and false attributions can arise. Rather than dealing with the merits and substance of the current relationship, we can be bringing forth our past to contaminate the present. This happens most often. However, if we are alert to its occurrence, we can seek to use our reflective and contemplative capacities to behave otherwise. This can be a pathway to creating and maintaining enduring and positive relationships with others.
Nevertheless, for those not ready for such introspection, the highlighting of such responses often leads to defensiveness. The person is protecting themselves emotionally, given they have been hurt (and possibly) abused in the past. Blame can become a prevailing factor in these circumstances, rather than an opportunity to learn, and begin to eliminate the pain of the past.
So to my image above. The locals introduce it to the tourists and perhaps, most people interpret it to be representative of, similar to or symbolic of the same thing. Nonetheless, as I post this imagery to my blog, I do wonder whether my readers will be variously, offended, amused, consider it be a puerile visual gag, embarrassed or indifferent.
Regardless, we project our personalities as we interpret or respond to such imagery, we may attribute certain emotions or symbols to same, and for some, there may even be some defensiveness or discomfort to contemplate or discuss.
For the innocent child, it is simply a rock formation that does no harm. I trust you can do no harm in your important relationships, and with others too.
Merry Christmas and a safe new year to all!