The mirror theory: wounds that form and break relationships

Have you ever wondered what happens when you connect with another person and soon find out about things you don’t like? Jacques Lacan’s mirror theory   helps us understand this process. According to the author,  the construction of our personal identity occurs through self-capture in other people. In this way, the relationships we maintain with others are reflections or projections of aspects of our personality that we like or dislike.

What is mirror theory?

Just as there are parts of our body and our image that we don’t like when we look at ourselves in the mirror, there are parts of our personality that we don’t accept. We find in others reflections that we do not accept, all this matter being repressed by our unconscious. In other words, we identify in ourselves some of the traits we like least in others, even if only symbolically. So, in part, what displeases us in others also displeases us in ourselves.

We are constantly projecting a part of our being. Thus, the mirror theory is a vision which proposes a change of point of view: instead of thinking that we must protect ourselves from the other so that it does not harm us, we have this vision which gives birth to a question “Why am I going through this situation with this person and what part of her that I can’t stand is found in me?” “.

Since we are generally not able to see our own shadows or virtues,  life gives us the gift of the relationships we have to show us directly what is hidden within us. The other simply serves us as a mirror: it reflects us and gives us the opportunity to find ourselves.

Direct or inverted mirror

The mirror theory can work directly or in reverse. Let’s take an example. Let’s say you can’t stand the selfishness of your partner or friend. Directly, you may be projecting that part of you that is selfish and that you are rejecting. Conversely, this person might reflect how little importance you place on your interests.

You may be too dependent on others and put them before you. One way or another, the other brings us very valuable information to our knowledge and our evolution.

You may think that your boss is too demanding of you. You yourself may be very demanding and a perfectionist with yourself and your boss is nothing but a reflection of this self-imposed requirement. On the other hand, it is possible that you are too tolerant and that you need a little discipline in your life. And we know that virtue is in balance .

Emotional injuries

We do not treat anything with a bandage. When we hurt ourselves, we first express our pain; then, when we are calm, we clean the wound and treat it with the appropriate tools. Let’s not cover it up and let’s remember it will never heal that way. We have to control her until she is fully healed. The same thing happens with other types of injuries.

We all have emotional wounds. Emotional wounds are all those emotions, feelings, thoughts and ways of acting that arose during one or more painful time in our life that we have failed to overcome and come to terms with. We have become prisoners of these emotions by keeping ourselves in a fictitious prison. Our well-being depends on transforming these emotions and ways of thinking into wisdom and experiences, so that they serve as a motor for us to move forward.

The wounds as a reflection

When we forget about our injuries, they end up staying in our subconscious and influencing our thoughts, moods and behaviors. Emotional deficiencies begin to reside within our being,  which originate from our early childhood but which wake up and / or are reinforced when we do not take care of ourselves.

Thus, very often,  we find in our spouse deficiencies very similar to ours. And this is precisely what brings about the union. For example, two people who have suffered a lot for love meet and discover that love is not synonymous with suffering. The same wound united this couple. Both people function as reflections. But we must move forward with caution because the wounds that unite can also separate.

If each member of the couple does not take care of their injuries, sooner or later they will start to deteriorate the relationship. Insecurities, fears, jealousy, possessiveness… It is as if life tries to send you reflections to indicate the path on which you must move forward in order to grow. If you don’t analyze them and pay attention to the information they give you, you won’t evolve – or will, but more slowly – and your relationships will be more fragile. 

This is why the links that we maintain with others, taking into account the mirror theory, can bring us very valuable information about ourselves and about the state of these wounds that we do not yet have. integrated into our history.