There’s a popular children’s book called “Are You My Mother“, by P.D. Eastman. In this little story, a baby bird who’s born when his Mom is not around wanders around to ask about everything he sees the pivotal question – Are you my Mother?
Most of us do something similar. When we meet someone, we often attribute qualities to them of either our father or mother, even if we don’t have any real reason to do so. It could be some little thing about the way they look or the way they act. It might be something that causes reactions that feel negative or positive.
Here’s one way to break free of this pattern of attributing qualities to someone you don’t know, and of reacting to old patterns from our younger days.
Start with acknowledgement. You can do this by vocalizing your transference with the person, or you can keep that to yourself.
“I had a reaction to you when I saw/felt/heard (whatever it was). I experienced you as being like my (father, mother, etc.). The patterns I went into were (whatever’s alive for you) which I learned from my (father, mother, etc.). I am free of transference/I am still in transference.”
These aren’t magic words in and of themselves, which when spoken will release you from your reaction(s). However, they are first step to acceptance and awareness. They’re putting your ego on notice, and possibly other people if you’ve told them, that there is something alive here that’s old, possibly festering, and which has little to do with the other person. This first step begins the process or releasing and letting go.