Excerpt About Dual Unity

Dual Unity and Projection
Projection is one of the first defense mechanisms developed in infancy. Its basis is what is called the “merged state.” The child is in what is called the “symbiotic stage”—between the ages of three months and nine months—when he does not experience himself as separate from his environment. He feels that he and his mother are one. This is called the “dual unity.” There is no differentiation between the infant and the mother. As far as the child is concerned, what the mother experiences and what he experiences are the same thing. In the symbiotic stage, if there is anger, there is no difference between the baby feeling the anger and the mother feeling it. Gradually, as the child starts to separate, he becomes aware that there is another human being there and begins to experience himself as separate. However, that early merged state, that state of being the same as the other, remains as the basis of projection. So when you feel angry, you may feel someone else is angry. The child is feeling angry, and he doesn’t know his mother is different from him, so he thinks she is feeling angry, or vice versa. The reason it is so hard to see through projection is that in the merged state, the mind has not developed enough to be aware of what is happening. The mind and the personality have not yet developed. So when you are projecting, you are acting at the pre-verbal, pre-conscious level. Your mind isn’t even involved in it; it just happens. That’s why we take our experience to be reality—because we cannot distinguish what is inside from what is outside.

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