The notion of introjection It is used in the field of psychoanalysis to allude to a unconscious process whereby an individual, at the identify with another subject or with a set, adopt their ideas and behaviors. It’s about the internalization of environmental features.
Through introjection, a person incorporates elements of the social environment to its psychic structure. In this way this mechanism contributes to the formation of the personality.
As introjection does not imply assimilation, what is internalized can affect the expression and development of one’s being. Suppose that someone, through introjection, assumes as his own a family mandate that indicates that the most important thing is always the job. This individual, within this framework, decides not to study in order to concentrate on work, and even resigns his leisure time to comply with work obligations. The years go by and, now married and with children, he continues to favor work, even at the cost of neglecting his family. The introjection of her parents’ order prevents this man from analyzing the reason for the commandment and does not even allow her to detect the nuances that the indication should have.
In addition to all the above, we cannot ignore that it is considered that introjection in many cases can be negative. It can be so insofar as it brings with it that limits us, as in the following situations:
-It can impair our ability to get emotional, to feel and to show our feelings. This can happen when the idea is transmitted in society that crying is a way of showing weakness to others or that men cannot cry because they are men.
-In the same way, sometimes introjection can cause difficulties in establishing relationships with other people. This can happen in a person who since childhood has heard from a very close adult that you should never trust others.
Introjection can also be understood as a Defense mechanism: an external object is symbolically absorbed to resolve the emotional conflicts it generates. A child raised with an absent parent may pretend to become “dad” to minimize fear and feelings of abandonment; that is why they usually assume a paternal role in games, taking care of their dolls.
It is also important to know that, on occasions, there are those who come to confuse the terms of introjection and projection. However, they are different things. Thus, on the one hand, projection consists of someone, as a defense mechanism, opting to attribute their own defects or virtues to another person. However, on the other hand, introjection supposes that an individual adopts the behaviors and ideas of another with whom he identifies.
Many are the books and articles written on introjection. However, among the most interesting is the work entitled “Introjection in Gestalt therapy”, which is the work of Pilar Román Porras and which saw the light in 2002 on the occasion of the Meeting of Gestaltic Writers of Spanish Speaking.