Living the Nightmare of Transference

By Greg Baer M.D.

February 11, 2015

he term transference is often used to describe a phenomenon where a patient transfers to his therapist the feelings he originally developed toward one of his parents or some other person significant in his life. In short, the patient treats the therapist as though he WERE someone from the patient’s past—often his mother or father.

But transference is a term with much broader application, referring to any redirection of judgments and feelings, where Person A treats any Person B as those Person B were someone from Person A’s past. The incidence of transference is so underestimated that a brief explanation is warranted here.

I have written a great deal about the effect that childhood has on the remainder of our lives. If we were treated primarily in unloving ways during childhood—which is the case for the vast majority of us—we learn that the WORLD is an unloving, harsh, and painful place, and then we assign unloving roles to people everywhere we go. Everywhere, so we treat all people in the present as though they were the unloving and frightening people who originally taught us our perception of the world.

In other words, most of us LIVE transference all day, every day, never really seeing or treating people as they really are, but seeing them and reacting to them as though they were characters from our past. And thus we cannot allow the possibility of people to be themselves, we isolate ourselves from them, and our relationships suffer beyond description.

All day I talk to people whose relationships are impossible, because one partner treats the other as though that partner were his mother or father, with uniformly unpleasant results. Moreover, people usually choose partners who strongly resemble one or both parents, so they can continue to be in familiar surroundings and react in familiar ways—even though these reactions are almost always disastrous.

What is the solution to this miserable way of living? We need to have frequent and consistent encounters with people who we trust NOT to be like people from our past, so we can learn to respond to people as they really are. Finding and trusting Real Love is the most important way on earth to change our perceptions of the past and allow us to be filled with the joy of the present.

Schedule a FREE call with a Real Love Coach 

Schedule Now!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

About the author 


Subscribe to our newsletter now!