Emotions do not disappear. If someone detaches themselves from their painful emotions, one of two things occurs (and sometimes both): this person projects these emotions outward by blaming and shaming others (you are wrong/bad) or represses (another word for hides) emotions inside by blaming and shaming themselves (I am wrong/bad). Both are misguided attempts to reconcile the person’s present discomfort, but the result is that not only are the painful emotions blocked, the good emotions are also blocked. This is one way desensitization can occur.
The children and partners of the person who reacts outwardly by blaming and shaming others (also called projection) automatically become the receivers of these projected emotions that are not their own and assume they are THEIR OWN emotions. The child and partner become overwhelmed by not only their own emotions, but also those emotions that are both displaced and projected onto them. If neither adult partner is aware of what is taking place, an enormous emotional burden continues to be placed upon the partner and child to the entire family’s detriment. This pattern is not sustainable and will result in some kind of crisis due to the profound energetic imbalance.
Projected emotions are very much like “demons” and are especially dangerous to children. Children unconsciously take on and sometimes even “become” what is projected onto them, filling themselves up with the painful emotions of their parent. Painful emotions, like anger, have a purpose of teaching us to take an action of some kind, and they contain the energy to do so. If the emotion of anger – and even worse, rage – is projected onto a child, instead of being owned and processed by the adult who it is meant for, the child often “becomes” the emotion FOR the adult. A common result of this is illustrated in the case of the family scapegoat or identified patient. The child who is acting out the loudest is often the one holding all the pain for others.
Words are extremely powerful. Children live up to our expectations. Do your words build people up or tear them down? Please NOTICE how your words affect your loved ones.
Lisa K. Wheeler, M.A., LPC