About Adoptee Rage

Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Projective Identity In Adopted Children


The Projective Identity in Adopted Children


The psychological coping strategies and defense mechanisms that are utilized by mentally dysfunctional adoptive parents to make sense of the unnatural and compromising realities in many adopted child relationships.
 Many adopted children are adopted by both psychologically distressed adoptive parents that constitute the dysfunctional adoptive home environment. 
Where the preexisting traumas from previous narcissistic injuries and psychotic wounding has occurred resulting from of infertility, child deaths, and reproductive failures that adds additional and serious stressors to the fragile psyche of the wife, husband and their marriage relationship.
The psychological injuries originating from the child conception efforts that force married couples into the last resort and last ditch effort of becoming parents through child adoption. The psychological problems originate and are created by #1) the adopting parent's ego refusing to accept, through denial to accept the biological facts of infertility, #2) to avoid the guilt based concepts of taking the child away from the child's mother, #3) pretending the child is the biological offspring, #4) Projecting onto the adopted child desirable characteristics, unrealistic expectations and unacheivable demands, All that will result in failure.
As the adopted child relationship is distinctively different than biological child rearing, and the parent dispositions, characteristics and culture will eventually clash in cognitive development, maturity and adolescence the adopted child will dramatically change into the prototype of the biological family's offspring in all personal identity, behavior and values.    
The exploration of attribution that is applied to the adoptive child's experience growing up as a resident alien in the adoptive home, accepting the projections until adolescence where normal biological children are encouraged to develop personal identity. In the adopted child, the development of personal identity is inhibited, discouraged and condemned by the adoptive parent's resistance to change, growth and the adoptive parent's refusal to allow the adopted the exploration of the self, normal human drives and motivations and condemnation of self actualization.,
As the psychologically compromised adoptive parent prefers developmental arrest over the adopted child's independence.   

In social psychologyattribution is the process by which individuals explain the causes of behavior and events. Attribution theory is the study of various models that attempt to explain those processes. Psychological research into attribution began with the work of Fritz Heider in the early part of the 20th century, subsequently developed by others such as Harold Kelly and Bernard Weiner. 

Distinguished Professor of Psychology.
Heider subsequently extended his ideas to the question of how people perceive each other, and in particular how they account for each other's behavior, person perception. Motives played an important role in Heider's model: "motives, intentions, sentiments ... the core processes which manifest themselves in overt behavior". Heider distinguished between personal causality – such as offering someone a drink – and impersonal causality such as sneezing, or leaves falling. Later attribution theorists have tended to see Heider's fundamental distinction as being between "person (or internal) causes and situation (or external) causes of behavior.


External attribution

External attribution, also called situational attribution, refers to understanding an event or behavior as being caused by the situation that the individual is in. For example, if Jacob’s car tire is punctured he may attribute that to a hole in the road; by making attributions to the poor condition of the highway, he can make sense of the event without any discomfort that it may in reality have been the result of his bad driving.

Interpersonal attribution

Sometimes, when one's action or motives for the action are questioned, one has to give reasons. Interpersonal attributions happen when the causes of the events involve two or more individuals.
More specifically, it is likely that one will always want to present oneself in the most positive light in interpersonal attributions. For example, if a sibling were to accidentally break their mother’s favorite tea pot, the sibling will be more likely to blame the other sibling in order to shift blame away from him/herself.


Common sense psychology

From the book The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations(1958), Fritz Heider tried to explore the nature of interpersonal relationship, and espoused the concept of what he called "common sense" or "naive psychology". In his theory, he believed that people observe, analyze, and explain behaviors with explanations. Although people have different kinds of explanations for the events of human behaviors, Heider found it is very useful to group explanation into two categories; Internal (personal) and external (situational) attributions. When an internal attribution is made, the cause of the given behavior is assigned to the individual's characteristics such as ability, personality, mood, efforts, attitudes, or disposition. When an external attribution is made, the cause of the given behavior is assigned to the situation in which the behavior was seen such as the task, other people, or luck (that the individual producing the behavior did so because of the surrounding environment or the social situation). These two types lead to very different perceptions of the individual engaging in a behavior.

Correspondent inference theory

Correspondent inferences state that people make inferences about a person when his or her actions are freely chosen, are unexpected, and result in a small number of desirable effects. According to Edward E. Jones and Keith Davis’ correspondent inference theory, people make correspondent inferences by reviewing the context of behavior. It describes how people try to find out individual’s personal characteristics from the behavioral evidence. People make inferences on the basis of three factors; degree of choice, expectedness of behavior, and effects of someone’s behaviors.

Covariation model

Co-variation principle states that people attribute behavior to the factors that are present when a behavior occurs and absent when it does not. Thus, the theory assumes that people make causal attributions in a rational, logical fashion, and that they assign the cause of an action to the factor that co-varies most closely with that action. Harold Kelly's covariation model of attribution looks to three main types of information from which to make an attribution decision about an individual's behavior. The first isconsensus information, or information on how other people in the same situation and with the same stimulus behave. The second is distinctive information, or how the individual responds to different stimuli. The third is consistency information, or how frequent the individual's behavior can be observed with similar stimulus but varied situations. From these three sources of information observers make attribution decisions on the individual's behavior as either internal or external.
There are several levels in the covariation model: high and low. Each of these levels influences the three covariation model criteria. High consensus is when many people can agree on an event or area of interest. Low consensus is when very few people can agree. High distinctiveness is when the event or area of interest is very unusual, whereas low distinctness is when the event or area of interest is fairly common. High consistency is when the event or area of interest continues for a length of time and low consistency is when the event or area of interest goes away quickly.

Three-dimensional model

Bernard Weiner proposed that individuals have initial affective responses to the potential consequences of the intrinsic or extrinsic motives of the actor, which in turn influence future behavior. That is, a person's own perceptions or attributions as to why they succeeded or failed at an activity determine the amount of effort the person will engage in activities in the future. Weiner suggests that individuals exert their attribution search and cognitively evaluate casual properties on the behaviors they experience. When attributions lead to positive affect and high expectancy of future success, such attributions should result in greater willingness to approach to similar achievement tasks in the future than those attributions that produce negative affect and low expectancy of future success. Eventually, such affective and cognitive assessment influences future behavior when individuals encounter similar situations.
Weiner's achievement attribution has three categories:
  1. stable theory (stable and unstable)
  2. Locus of control (internal and external)
  3. controllability (controllable or uncontrollable)
Stability influences individuals' expectancy about their future; control is related with individuals' persistence on mission; causality influences emotional responses to the outcome of task.

Bias and errors

While people strive to find reasons for behaviors, they fall into many traps of biases and errors. As Fritz Heider says, “our perceptions of causality are often distorted by our needs and certain cognitive bias. The following are examples of attributional biases.

Fundamental attribution error

The fundamental attribution error describes the tendency to overvalue dispositional or personality-based explanations for behavior while under-valuing situational explanations. The fundamental attribution error is most visible when people explain and assume the behavior of others. For example, if a person is overweight, a person’s first assumption might be that they have a problem with overeating or are lazy and not that they might have a medical reason for being heavier set.
The core process assumptions of attitude construction models are mainstays of social cognition research and are not controversial—as long as we talk about "judgment". Once the particular judgment made can be thought of as a person's "attitude", however, construal assumptions elicit discomfort, presumably because they dispense with the intuitively appealing attitude concept.

Culture bias

People in individualist cultures, generally Anglo America and Anglo-Saxon European societies, value individuals, personal goals, and independence. People in collectivist cultures see individuals as members of groups such as families, tribes, work units, and nations, and tend to value conformity and interdependence. This cultural trait is common in Asia, traditional native American societies, and Africa.
Research shows that culture, either individualist or collectivist, affects how people make attributions.
People from individualist cultures are more inclined to make fundamental-attribution error than people from collectivist cultures. Individualist cultures tend to attribute a person’s behavior to his internal factors whereas collectivist cultures tend to attribute a person’s behavior to his external factors.
Research suggests that individualist cultures engage in self serving bias more than do collectivist cultures, i.e. individualist cultures tend to attribute success to internal factors and to attribute failure to external factors. In contrast, collectivist cultures engage in the opposite of self-serving bias i.e. self-effacing bias, which is: attributing success to external factors and blaming failure on internal factors (the individual).

Actor/observer difference

People tend to attribute other people’s behaviors to their dispositional factors while attributing own actions to situational factors. In the same situation, people’s attribution can differ depending on their role as actor or observer. For example, when a person scores a low grade on a test, they find situational factors to justify the negative event such as saying that the teacher asked a question that he/she never went over in class. However, if another person scores poorly on a test, the person will attribute the results to internal factors such as laziness and inattentiveness in classes. The actor/observer bias is used less frequently with people one knows well such as friends and family since one knows how his/her close friends and family will behave in certain situation, leading him/her to think more about the external factors rather than internal factors.

Dispositional attributions

Dispositional attribution is a tendency to attribute people’s behaviors to their dispositions; that is, to their personality, character, and ability. For example, when a normally pleasant waiter is being rude to his/her customer, the customer will assume he/she has a bad temper. The customer, just by looking at the attitude that the waiter is giving him/her, instantly decides that the waiter is a bad person. The customer oversimplifies the situation by not taking into account all the unfortunate events that might have happened to the waiter which made him/her become rude at that moment. Therefore, the customer made dispositional attribution by attributing the waiter’s behavior directly to his/her personality rather than considering situational factors that might have caused the whole “rudeness”.

Self-serving bias

Self-serving bias is attributing dispositional and internal factors for success and external, uncontrollable factors for failure. For example, if a person gets promoted, it is because of his/her ability and competence whereas if he/she does not get promoted, it is because his/her manager does not like him/her (external, uncontrollable factor). Originally, researchers assumed that self-serving bias is strongly related to the fact that people want to protect their self-esteem. However, alternative information processing explanation came out. That is, when the outcomes match people’s expectations, they make attributions to internal factors; when the outcome does not match their expectations, they make external attributions. People also use defensive attribution to avoid feelings of vulnerability and to differentiate himself from a victim of a tragic accident. An alternative version of the theory of the self-serving bias states that the bias does not arise because people wish to protect their private self-esteem, but to protect their self-image (a self-presentational bias). Note well that this version of the theory can predict that people attribute their successes to situational factors, for fear that others will disapprove of them looking overly vain if they should attribute successes to themselves.
For example, people believe in just-world hypothesis that “good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people” to avoid feeling vulnerable. This also leads to blaming the victim even in a tragic situation.[12] When a mudslide destroys several houses in a rural neighborhood, a person living in a more urban setting might blame the victims by blaming them for choosing to live in a certain area or not building a safer, stronger house. Another example of defensive attribution is optimism biasin which people believe positive events happen to them more than to the others and that negative events happen to them less than to the others. Too much optimism leads people to ignore some warnings and precautions given to them. For example, smokers believe they are less likely than other smokers to get lung cancer.

Defensive attribution hypothesis

The defensive attribution hypothesis is a social psychological term referring to a set of beliefs held by an individual with the function of defending themselves from concern that they will be the cause or victim of a mishap. Commonly, defensive attributions are made when individuals witness or learn of a mishap happening to another person. In these situations, attributions of responsibility to the victim or harm-doer for the mishap will depend upon the severity of the outcomes of the mishap and the level of personal and situational similarity between the individual and victim. More responsibility will be attributed to the harm-doer as the outcome becomes more severe, and as personal or situational similarity decreases.
An example of defensive attribution is the Just-World hypothesis which is where "good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people". People believe in this in order to avoid feeling vulnerable to situations that they have no control over. However, this also leads to blaming the victim even in a tragic situation. When people hear someone died from a car accident, they decide that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident, and so they reassure themselves that an accident will never happen to them. Despite the fact there was no other information provided, people will automatically attribute that the accident was the driver's fault due to an internal factor (in this case, deciding to drive while drunk), and thus they would not allow it to happen to themselves.
Another example of defensive attribution is optimism bias, in which people believe positive events happen to them more often than to others and that negative events happen to them less often than to others. Too much optimism leads people to ignore some warnings and precautions given to them. For example, smokers believe that they are less likely to get lung cancer than other smokers.

projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.
According to some research, the projection of one's negative qualities onto others is a common process in everyday life.

Psychoanalytic developments

Projection (German: Projektion) was conceptualised by Freud in his letters to Wilhelm Fliess and further refined by Karl Abraham and Anna Freud. Freud considered that in projection thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one's own are dealt with by being placed in the outside world and attributed to someone else. What the ego repudiates is split off and placed in another.
Freud would later come to believe that projection did not take place arbitrarily, but rather seized on and exaggerated an element that already existed on a small scale in the other person. (The related defence of projective identification differs from projection in that there the other person is expected to become identified with the impulse or desire projected outside, so that the self maintains a connection with what is projected, in contrast to the total repudiation of projection proper.)
Melanie Klein saw the projection of good parts of the self as leading potentially to over-idealation of the object. Equally, it may be one's conscience that is projected, in an attempt to escape its control: a more benign version of this allows one to come to terms with outside authority.

Theoretical examples

Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of crisis, personal or political, but is more commonly found in the neurotic or psychotic—in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.
Carl Jung considered that the unacceptable parts of the personality represented by the shadow archetype were particularly likely to give rise to projection, both small-scale and on a national/international basis. Marie-Louise Von Franz extended his view of projection, stating that: "... wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image".
Psychological projection is one of the medical explanations of bewitchment used to explain the behavior of the afflicted children at Salem in 1692. The historian John Demos asserts that the symptoms of bewitchment experienced by the afflicted girls were due to the girls undergoing psychological projection of repressed aggression.

Practical examples

  • Blaming the Victim The victim of someone else's accident or bad luck may be offered criticism, the theory being that the victim may be at fault for having attracted the other person's hostility.
  • Projection of marital guilt: Thoughts of infedelity to a partner may be unconsciously projected in self-defence on to the partner in question, so that the guilt attached to the thoughts can be repudiated or turned to blame instead, in a process linked to denial.
  • Bullying: A bully may project his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target(s) of the bullying activity. Despite the fact that a bully's typically denigrating activities are aimed at the bully's targets, the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the bully's own sense of personal insecurity and/or vulnerability. Such aggressive projections of displaced negative emotions can occur anywhere from the micro-level of interpersonal relationships, all the way up through to the macro-level of international politics, or even international armed conflict.
  • Projection of general guilt: Projection of a severe conscience is another form of defence, one which may be linked to the making of false accusations, personal or political.
  • Projection of hope: Also, in a more positive light, a patient may sometimes project his or her feelings of hope onto the therapist.


Jung writes that "All projections provoke counter-projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject. Thus what is unconscious in the recipient will be projected back onto the projector, precipitating a form of mutual acting out.
In a rather different usage, Harry Stack Sullivan saw counter-projection in the therapeutic context as a way of warding off the compulsive re-enactment of a psychological trauma, by emphasising the difference between the current situation and the projected obsession with the perceived perpetrator of the original trauma.

Clinical approaches

Drawing on Gordon Allport's idea of the expression of self onto activities and objects, projective techniques have been devised to aid personality assessment, including the Rorschach ink-blots and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).
Projection may help a fragile ego reduce anxiety, but at the cost of a certain disassociation, as in disassociative identity disorder. In extreme cases, an individual's personality may end up becoming critically depleted. In such cases, therapy may be required which would include the slow rebuilding of the personality through the "taking back" of such projections.

Projective identification is a term introduced by Melanie Klein to describe the process whereby in a close relationship, as between mother and child, lovers, or therapist and patient, parts of the self may in unconscious fantasy be thought of as being forced into the other person.

While based on Freud's concept of psychological projection, projective identification represents a step beyond. In R. D. Laing's words, “The one person does not use the other merely as a hook to hang projections on. He strives to find in the other, or to induce the other to become, the very embodiment of projection”. Feelings which can not be consciously accessed are defensively projected into another person in order to evoke the thoughts or feelings projected.


Though a difficult concept for the conscious mind to come to terms with, since its primitive nature makes its operation or interpretation seem more like magic or art than science, projective identification is nonetheless a powerful tool of interpersonal communication.
The recipient of the projection may suffer a loss of both identity and insight as they are caught up in and manipulated by the other person's fantasy. One therapist, for example, describes how "I felt the progressive extrusion of his internalised mother into me, not as a theoretical construct but in actual experience. The intonation of my voice altered, became higher with the distinctly Ur-mutter quality. If the projection can be accepted and understood, however, much insight into the projector will be obtained.
Projective identification differs from simple projection in that projective identification can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby a person, believing something false about another, influences or coerces that other person to carry out that precise projection. In extreme cases, the recipient may lose any sense of their real self and become reduced to the passive carriers of outside projections, as if possessed by them.

Objects projected

The objects (feelings, attitudes) extruded in projective identification are of various kinds – both good and bad, ideal and abjected.
Hope may be projected by a client into their therapist, when they can no longer consciously feel it themselves; equally, it may be a fear of (psychic) dying which is projected.
Aggression may be projected, leaving the projector's personality diminished and reduced; alternatively it may be desire, leaving the projector feeling asexual.
The good/ideal parts of the personality may be projected, leading to dependence upon the object of identification; equally it may be jealousy or envy that are projected, perhaps by the therapist into the client.


Projective identification may take place with varying degrees of intensity.
In narcissism, extremely powerful projections may take place and obliterate the distinction between self and other.
In less disturbed personalities, projective identification is not only a way of getting rid of feelings but also of getting help with them.
In an emotionally balanced person, projective identification may act as a bridge to empathy and intuitive understanding.


Various types of projective identification have been distinguished over the years.
Acquisitive projective identification, where someone takes on the attributes of someone else. Unlike attributive projective identification, where someone else is induced to become one's own projection.
Projective counter-identification (Grinberg, 1962), where the therapist unwittingly assumes the feelings and role of the patient to the point where he acts out within the therapy within this assumed role that has been projected into him, a step beyond the therapist merely receiving the patient's projections without acting on them.
A division has also been made between normal projective identification and pathological projective identification, where what is projected is splintered into minute pieces before the projection takes place.
Projective identification may be used as a type of defence, a means of communicating, a primitive form of relationship, or a route to psychological change; used for ridding the self of unwanted parts or for controlling the other's body and mind.

In psychotherapy

As with transference and countertransference, projective identification can be a potential key to therapeutic understanding, especially where the therapist is able to tolerate and contain the unwanted, negative aspects of the patient's self over time.
Transactional analysis emphasizes the need for the therapist's Adult to remain uncontaminated, if the experience of the client's projective identification is to be usefully understood.

Wounded couple

Relationship problems have been linked to the way there can be a division of emotional labor in a couple, by way of projective identification, with one partner carrying projected aspects of the other for them. Thus one partner may carry all the aggression or all the competence in the relationship, the other all the vulnerability.
Jungians describe the resultant dynamics as characterising a so-called “wounded couple” - projective identification ensuring that each carries the most ideal or the most primitive parts of their counterpart. The two partners may initially have been singled out for that very readiness to carry parts of each other's self; but the projected inner conflicts/division then come to be replicated in the partnership itself.
Conscious resistance to such projective identification may produce on the one side guilt for refusing to enact the projection, on the other bitter rage at the thwarting of the projection.