When patients resist forming a healing relationship with us, we often resist their resistance. Two resisters in the room. And we ask, “Why are we stuck?”
We reject the experience of being rejected. Could we accept this feeling?
We run away from the frustration we feel. Could we accept this feeling?
We avoid our sadness and make it sad. Could we accept our sadness when rejected by a patient in the moment?
We try to force his closed heart to open, making it close even more. Could we open our hearts to his closed heart by accepting it and the story it is telling?
We fear our fear and try to control it by asking the patient to behave differently. Could we accept our anxiety and let its information heal us?
We try to argue with the patient’s insanity to make him sane. Could we accept our anxiety when seeing insanity so he could feel his anxiety when seeing his insanity?
What if projective identification is how the patient awakens the light and dark parts of ourselves so that we can learn to love them? What if we resist patients to resist what is in ourselves? What if we need to love the light and dark places in ourselves so that through our being that love, the patient experiences that his dark places are worthy of unconditional love too?
We don’t resist patients. We resist what we fail to love in ourselves. We need to love the darkness within, so we can finally embrace what the patient has brought for our healing.