Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Rejecting Object Relation
Characteristics of the Rejecting Object Relation
The rejecting object relation usually manifests as a small, weak, and frightened self, who is terrified of the big, powerful, hateful, and rejecting object. The self-image is not only small and helpless, but good and soft, while the rejecting object is big, powerful, and bad. When one experiences this object relation one tends to feel paranoid and frightened in relation to people who seem powerful or in a position to reject one. The splitting characteristic (seeing things as all-bad or all-good) manifests in the fact that the object is not only powerful and big but bad and hateful, with no heart or compassion. In other words the object is a purely bad one, indicating, the operation of the splitting defense, for this pure badness is quite rare, if not impossible in actual human beings. The understanding of this object relation begins when we realize that not only is the object bad but the self is all good, weak but all good. The self in this object relation is soft, good, and perhaps loving, but has no power. This is not an easy structure to work through; its primitiveness is part of the difficulty, but the defensive nature of the splitting is the main reason for its persistence. When we understand this object relation and see its genesis in early experience with parents, especially with what is experienced as the bad mother, we recognize the self feels weak and the object powerful because the self has projected its own power onto the object. The self takes the position that power is bad, especially when seeing hateful and destructive manifestations of it in its environment. It basically equates power and hatred, and projects both of these onto the object, usually onto a split-off object. In other words the soul splits off her hatred and power and projects them onto the bad powerful object. She then feels herself to be without hatred, hence good and innocent, but because she equates hatred and badness with power she is also powerless. The object, on the other hand, becomes all-powerful, but hateful and bad. The result is a weak but good self terrified of a powerful and bad object.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 205
Primitive Forerunners of the Rejecting Object Relation
One of the primitive forerunners of the rejecting object relation is a soul structure that appears as feelings of not being welcomed or wanted. Upon investigation we can discern this structure in the form of something that wants to attach itself to something else but is not able to, as if it is repulsed. This is a prenatal structure that students frequently encounter, modeled on the process of the fertilized egg trying to implant but having difficulty in the process. It is amazing how the sense of being rejected can start so early when there are no differentiated affects yet, just an impression of a physical process that develops, by integrating more highly structured experiences of being rejected into the rejecting object relation. This shows how far one needs to go to be liberated from these basic object relations that structure one’s soul. Prenatal structures can date to earlier times. Some individuals encounter structures that predate fertilization, as the sperm or ovum. The sperm structure normally manifests as an energetic condition when one feels that one needs to always be on the move, that one cannot rest, or some important opportunity will be lost. Investigating these feelings may take us to feeling small and running fast, running without looking back, but full of the total impulse to go fast and get someplace, without knowing where. These examples of very early structures give us a sense of the depth to which the inner journey goes in the process of the liberation of the soul. This discussion also shows us the depth and extent of the structuring of the soul through which we become shackled before we are even conscious of ourselves.