NOTE: This article is part 1 of a 2-part article exploring our relationship to the world around us and Melanie Klein’s object-relations theory.
As humans, we all tend to relate to one another differently. The way a mother relates to her child is very different to how two best friends would relate. However, the way relate to each other has a massive impact on what we believe about ourselves as well.
We construct the image of another person based upon on our own inner experiences of events and the world around us.
This is why the greedy person tends to someone who is suspicious of others — the idea of object ownership and losing that object has huge implications for why and how we relate to others through the lens of fear and inadequacy.
Take another example, of the adulterer who is ironically jealous and mistrustful of the person they are cheating on. They are characterized by the very thing that they fear. Melanie Klein, the Austrian-British psychotherapist has a novel theory on how we all relate to the world and our experiences in it.
Her claim is that we can let go of our fears or insecurities until we misidentify with them.
“I believe that the ego is incapable of splitting the object – internal and external – without a corresponding splitting taking place within the ego.”
Very simply put, one of the triggers for many people who are trying to heal from issues, but can’t seem to get of a cycle is due to the overidentification of our insecurities. It is not just that we have fear, it’s that we think fear is part of who we are. The way we live our lives is determined by these very beliefs. We are mere reflections of our beliefs. Where we go, what we avoid, issues we don’t talk about — all of these stem from the confusion that we think we are what we experience. This is not the case, and Klein wants to rid us of this very habit. She wants us to see there is more to us and that our potential growth lies beyond who we think we are.