Tonight was another deep discussion with my daughter after she told me that a friend is feeling suicidal. Thankfully, the girl is getting help.
In the meanwhile, our conversation turned to the concept of projection. Her friend has broken up with her boyfriend and she “hates” him now.
However, I explained to my daughter, she doesn’t “hate” him at all. In fact, she hates herself for feeling like she needs him.
At this point in teenage-hood, kids are still building their ego and who they are in relation to the world. Unfortunately, my daughter’s friend feels very unlovable, even bored with life, and feels as if she’s a burden on friends. In fact, this is the reason her boyfriend says he broke up with her. He said that he felt smothered, that his only job was to lift her up all the time.
It’s challenging to explain to teenagers that their joy is within. Some people radiate their joy more than others. Her boyfriend is one of those people. He’s a silly guy… and he taps into that part of himself in order to move past his own feelings of lack. When he was dating her, her feelings of lack reminded him of his own and he felt dragged down. She, sort of like an energy vampire, latched on to his joy, seeing him as the only source of it.
Now that he’s taken away the source, she feels that lack even more strongly and hates him for denying it to her.
I explained to my child that it’s within her. She just isn’t aware of it. So much still to learn…