Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C.

A Tradition of Excellence


Home Staff Services FAQs Forms Contact Us


 
Marriage Rules/Wedding Rings

Marriage Rules©

"BASIC UNIT OF REFERENCE"

By Dr. Larry B. Gelman

 
 
 

If we start from the premise that the basic unit of reference is the individual and that all communication is a form of projection, then verbal behavior can be interpreted at three levels.  

 

Consider the statement:

 

 “I can’t tell you what is troubling me because you couldn’t possibly understand me”. 

 

At the first level of projection, the message is fairly clear.  It is as though the communicator is saying I’ve got a secret that you are unable to really make sense out of, so I will just have to keep it to myself to protect you from being overwhelmed and burdened by what I know.

 

At the second level of projection, the message is much less obvious.  It is as though the statement now means “you can’t tell me what is troubling you because you don’t think I could possibly understand you”. 

 

Or in other words, you’ve got a secret that I am unable to make sense out of, so you will just have to keep it to yourself to protect me from being overwhelmed and burdened by what you know about me.

 

At the third level of projection, however, the ‘real’ message is “I can’t acknowledge or reveal to myself what is troubling me because the experience of doing so would threaten my safety or security and force me to address and possibly have to understand that which I am not yet ready to deal with now”. 

 

Thus, it is I who has a secret that I am unable to make sense out of at this time and so I will keep it to myself to protect me from being overwhelmed and burdened by what I know about me, but must deny that I know by projecting my lack of understanding and lack of readiness onto you which, of course, makes it less difficult for me to handle.

 

The implication of this psychological adaptation is that by interacting with others, couples come to represent the mirrored aspects and appraisals which we experience at some level about ourselves, as individuals, but feeling anxious or uncertain about that experience, project onto those others who reflect aspects of our image back onto us. 

 

Then we can reinforce our sense of OK-ness by proclaiming that it is not we who do not understand, but “…they…out there…” who do not understand. 

 

Hence, we justify our reluctance to disclose of ourselves because to do so would be tantamount to speaking with a brick wall! 

 

Of course, the real ‘brick’ is the obstacle of emotional defense which, in the guise of projection, appears to serve our needs at the first and second levels, but severely misleads us at the third.  

 

And unless we are prepared to accurately perceive the reflection of our image in the ‘mirror’ of the other, we will only see what we want to see and fail to see what is really there in the “basic unit of reference”, which is always in the person of our self!

 

Back to Top

 
 

Single Copy License Terms of Use

For a print version of the specific document on this webpage, you are welcome to click "Basic Unit of Reference" subject to the following terms:

                                                     

Before using, accessing, downloading, or copying and/or printing any pages on this website, please read NICA's Single Copy License Terms of Use.  

 

By using this Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C. (NICA) website and its services, you acknowledge notification of the terms of service and attest to an understanding of, acceptance of, and agreement to all of its terms of service.

 
 

Copyright © 2012, 1999 NORTHERN ILLINOIS COUNSELING ASSOCIATES, P.C. (NICA). All Rights Reserved.

No portion of this document may be copied or used by anyone without the express written permission of the owner.

 
   

 

HomeStaff | Services | FAQs | Forms | Articles | Legal | Contact Us | Site Map

 

 

The material presented within this website is informational only and is not intended as a substitute for professional services and assistance. We have endeavored to present accurate information, but cannot guarantee that the information on these web pages is always current or correct. We do not assume responsibility for any consequences that may result from using this web page or any sites. We do not necessarily endorse or support the contents, claims, or representations of the websites we provide links to, in whole or in part. While we try to respond to inquiries, we are unable to offer professional advice via email. If you require urgent care, contact Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C. (NICA) at 815-455-6736 or email us at info@nicapc.com to schedule an appointment. If you require emergency care, contact 911 or go the emergency center of your local hospital.

© 2016 Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C.  All rights reserved.