Here is an example of a very strong, very important insight that stops at the threshold of a really life-changing realization and refuses to arrive at the logical conclusion:
My parents loved ascribing intent to my behavior, and they were wrong so much of the time. . . . it’s just too easy to infer intent that isn’t there when your kid does something irritating. And that destroys relationships. I always thought my parents hated me precisely because . . . [t]hey always inferred this terrible destructive intent that I simply didn’t have. There were even some instances where they assumed I was trying to be obnoxious when I was in fact trying to be helpful, which hurt immensely.
The reason parents ascribe “this terrible destructive intent” to a child is simple projection. The terrible destructive intent is theirs. And the linked blogger found a very precise and important turn of phrase to describe what is happening.
The terrible destruction is what this kind of parents are trying (and invariably succeeding) to wreak on the child. Of course, most people find the very thought that they are trying to visit a terrible destruction on their children to be unacceptable. And this is why they turn around and accuse the children of this horrible thing.
A terrible destructive intent within a relationship cannot be completely hidden from view. It is always present, as a huge monster lurking in the corner. And the best way to deflect an accusation is, as we all know, accuse others of our crime.
Such children end up completely interiorizing the message. The go through life doubting themselves at every turn, suffering from all kinds of impostor syndrome (“Why isn’t everybody seeing what a monster I am? Are they about to see the real me and discard me?”), and punishing themselves with self-destructive behaviors for somebody else’s terrible destructive intent.
If you look at the quote I placed at the beginning of the post, you will see how hard the author tries to avoid what is staring her right in the face. “They were wrong,” “it’s just too easy,” “your kid” instead of “their kid who is me,” “destroys relationships” instead of “destroys me.”
Realizing this truth is very difficult. Every social taboo, every instance of abuse one has undergone screams to the skies at the merest whiff of this insight. But it is the only way to healing.