Affective relationships are based on unconscious mechanisms that are triggered automatically and without the person being aware of it. But what can these unconscious mechanisms be?

Affective relationships are based on unconscious mechanisms that are triggered automatically and without the person being aware of it. But what can these unconscious mechanisms be?

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We will call the first mechanism “completion,” this mechanism implies that an emotional relationship can begin when we have intuited from our partner the characteristics that could complement us, that is, we feel attracted to precisely those personality characteristics that we believe our partner has and that we think we don’t have. But choosing a partner based on this belief, is not wise and leads to bad relationships.

The second mechanism is the projection, according to which the partner we have chosen, allows us to strip ourselves of certain qualities by attributing them to her, therefore, the other becomes the dustbin that gives us the possibility to finally get rid of our psychic garbage. In this case the choice of the person to love will be conditioned by the projection, and this time too it will not be a wise choice.

The third mechanism that favors a bad relationship, is that of reparation, that is, the other has such characteristics that being with him or her, makes us rethink the way in which we have been treated in the primary relationships, which are those with our parents; therefore the other offers us the opportunity to relive them and to repair them if they were not satisfactory. But even then it won’t be a good choice.

Behind all these bad choices is a prejudice that goes like this: Facing life alone is a difficult thing and therefore, if I can find someone who heals my wounds or fills my shortcomings or someone I can project them onto, maybe together with this someone, we can function better. However, this is an erroneous belief, the consequence of this belief is that the relationship does not last long because it is based on an unrealistic vision of the other.

This illusion is characterized by a rigid set of personality traits. In the diagnoses that are made in psychiatry there is a grouping of pathologies that encompasses all those rather rigid personalities marked by a strong emphasis on emotions, namely the histrionics, the borderline, the anti-social and the narcissist.

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Let’s try schematically to make some distinctions:

The histrionic, is distinguished by an excessive affectivity, by a sort of theatricality and therefore a very explicit life Swede. This trait is often diagnosed in narcissistic women, the type who talks about her problems and demands that the other take care of her problems and will adapt to any request as long as the other is willing to give unconditional love in return. The way of speaking of the histrionic is with a certain emphasis, it shows an exaggerated pathos, so much so that one often gets the impression of being in front of an actress, whatever we say, she will relaunch with the story of something more serious, of more exaggerated and dramatic than what we said. This will be enough to fascinate the other thanks also to the marked seductive skills and the eroticization of the relationship.

Maintaining an impeccable physical appearance, is an indispensable requirement for the histrionic who is often brilliant, intelligent, and gives the impression of knowing how to have fun with lightness and enthusiasm. The problem is that in the long run it tends to be excessively demanding and complaining, to the point of inducing the partner to run away. Often histrionic women look for men unlike them who know how to be rational because, by this type of men they feel protected, guided.

Borderline

In addition to the histrionic, we have the borderline, the board, which stands out for its fears of abandonment, then for the emotional instability, feelings of emptiness, intense anger and the urge to lead an uncontrolled life. The relationship that the borderline proposes is made of rapid idealization and rapid devaluations that make it irremediably unstable, in fact the relationship precipitates because the two partners are unable to handle the overwhelming emotions that arise from the relationship. The core of this suffering and the fear of being abandoned are sometimes small daily gestures to which anyone would give little value that instead the borderline amplifies by experiencing them as signs of abandonment. In practice and continuously tested at all times, in every way and by any means. Until at a certain point, the other gets tired, is deprived of all energy, and in an attempt to protect himself, he moves away, then confirming in the borderline his fear of being abandoned.

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Narcissist

But the most discussed personality of all, especially in recent times, is the narcissist. The difference between the narcissistic and the borderline condition derives from the fact that the narcissist has a grandiose self that is more integrated and structured but is still a pathological self that at any moment runs the risk of being invalidated. To protect this grandiose image of himself and to try to defend himself, he/she is forced to implement a series of strategies to maintain an emotional distance from others who become objects of anger and devaluation. The narcissist also has to deal with feelings of inferiority that are generated by a sadistic superego and then has to deal with a strong need to be reassured, hence the constant need to have a narcissistic supply deep feeling of envy towards others who are also saviors, because they are able to guarantee effective supplies and therefore confirmations, esteem and trust. But they also become objects of anger, objects of aggression and hatred, because others are experienced as rivals.

Given these premises, it is understandable why the narcissist establishes a parasitic type relationship centered on the exploitation of the other. The other is used to support the grandiose self-image and to discharge frustrations. As a gift from the super ego, in the case of narcissistic parents, children can have several functions, for example, allowing the parent to strut his offspring: ” Look what beautiful children I have generated! ” or they can guarantee him a socially desirable image. In general, outside the home, the narcissist changes personality and behavior, and is capable of transforming himself into the opposite of what he/she appears at home. At home, the narcissist does not have to show the best part of himself, therefore in front of strangers the narcissist will wear the mask of the caring mother or the impeccable father, smiling, attentive to the needs of the children and always ready to sacrifice himself for them. But this only adds to the family drama of these children who are still young and therefore are led to act like their parents to demonstrate to the public that they have received an impeccable education.

The golden Children

However, when the children grow up, the danger of confrontation between parents and children arises and things start to get complicated. Because the children reveal their first needs for autonomy and identification, perhaps choosing a university or professional path that the narcissistic parent does not approve of as he feels threatened by it. Thus this exemplary mother begins to crush children through ferocious accusations, through devaluations, in such a way that the children are not able to tarnish the grandiose image of a sort of despotic queen. Therefore, the children are constantly put in competition through continuous comparisons, generally a golden child is elected and then a scapegoat. The golden child and the idealized extension of the mother, that is, he is the chosen one, the one who is destined for great awards and honors. To this child, everything is allowed, family life basically revolves around the needs of the golden child and his wishes. This child gets the semblance of being loved and in return sacrifices himself on the altar of the narcissistic mother.

Sometimes, and being the golden child an older brother, he ends up abusing the younger brother who becomes the scapegoat, the scapegoat functions as a container of psychic garbage that the narcissistic parent cannot accept to keep within himself and therefore on this child is constantly deposited all the parts of the parent Narcissus that he cannot accept in himself. This child will often be incapable, it will be ugly, it will be the least intelligent child, it will be the too introverted, too extroverted child or the boring, inadequate, awkward child, someone to be ashamed of.

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The scapegoat Child

The scapegoat child will be someone to be isolated and disowned as soon as possible, as he is the bearer of that defect that alters the presumed perfection of the narcissistic parent and therefore of the family to which he belongs. Not infrequently, the son who is the scapegoat is the first to leave the family unit and this obviously happens not as a result of a physiological and healthy process of release from the family of origin but, as a result of a ferocious expulsion from the nucleus which forces the son to flee.

What unites all the children of narcissistic parents, whether they are golden children or scapegoats, is that, these children are sadly alone, these children in fact cannot ally themselves with their parents, they know how much the following rule applies in these families : If a narcissistic parent and especially if he is a perverse narcissist, the other parent is under the thumb, then the children will grow up alone, suffering in silence; The perverse narcissistic mother succeeds in this intent by manipulating and mystifying others and subjecting them to gaslighting and then to smear campaigns. Typically they devalue the husband, and they also do it in front of the children, by doing so the narcissistic mother will teach the male child above all that devaluing and minimizing the merits of the father or brother and of all the men he will know in his life, is perfectly a fact normal, that’s why we must recognize a perverse narcissist and not fall into the trap of emotional dependence.

The true love

Now, true love, be it parental or love within the couple relationship, exists but it can be called love only if there is a reciprocal bond, only if there is reciprocity! If reciprocity is lacking by definition, it is a relationship that is born asymmetrical, that is, with the aim of saving the weaker person, it is compromised and here we go back to the speech we made at the beginning but, the problem increases when, as in the case of narcissist, because the narcissist hardly admits that he/she is the cause of the problems, and even more rarely, admits that she has problems.The narcissist learns from an early age to conceal, the core of his problem consists precisely in the inability to know oneself and to take contact with his most vulnerable part. Then his entire life will be aimed at unconsciously obtaining that compensation which is known as the narcissistic supply that the narcissist will search in a spasmodic way, finding it every time in the beautiful objects he will love to surround himself with, everything must be amazing and the greater it is. To fill the void left by that family who did not know how to love him to the end, amazing things will be needed. There will be a need for men willing to annihilate themselves in the name of unconditional love and endless love.

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Finally (otherwise I make an article too long), the narcissist shows little empathy, has a grandiosity and an arrogant attitude, a tendency to get bored easily, exploits and manipulates others to obtain confirmation of his value that is intimately perceived as lacking. In principle they are not able to establish a true bond of attachment which, in most cases is simply finished artfully, so it is a fiction, a fiction to obtain the confirmations that the narcissist needs. The narcissist often chooses an addictive partner, an adoring and condescending partner but, this partner, for its part, is able to make the other feel important, makes him feel strong and competent, but in the hope of obtaining psychological support in return and attention to one’s most intimate needs.
In short, together they give life to a relational dance which very often leads to massacre, as the addicted person asks the narcissist for the love and support, that the narcissist will never be able to give, due to his disorder.

Fabrizio C.

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