Projecting thoughts: Projection | Psychology Today
How to Know When You’re Projecting
You know that old saying: what you dislike about others is what you dislike about yourself. In the heat of a challenging moment, this might be the most annoying thing anyone can say to you. Yet, it’s often true.
Projection is an unconscious defense mechanism stemming from the ego. In projection, you take an unacceptable part of yourself, such as your feelings, thoughts, tendencies, and fears, disown it, and place it onto someone else. Projections contain our blind spots. Although almost everyone has engaged in projection at some point in their lives, it’s often difficult to know when you’re doing it.
Projection can cloud your vision and skew your perception of reality. This makes it hard to see a situation for what it is, and instead, morphs a person or situation into something it is not. When you engage in projection, you become susceptible to self-victimization and blaming other people for something you need to address within yourself.
Projecting is like dumping clutter into someone else’s living room and then hating them for being messy. It’s a way to avoid the responsibility of dealing with your own emotional clutter and instead, making it someone else’s fault. Projection is often a calling for self-reflection and setting healthy boundaries.
Sometimes we even project our positive qualities onto others, such as aspects of ourselves that we are unconsciously afraid to own. Just like the negative aspects, it can feel difficult to own your positive qualities, but much easier to acknowledge them in others.
Be Aware of Other People’s Projections & Don’t Gaslight Yourself
While it’s important to determine when you’re projecting, it’s also essential to not take on other people’s projections, and not make yourself responsible for someone else’s behavior. There will be times when you encounter manipulation, rage, disrespect, and other boundary violations that say more about the other person than they do about you. In these situations, your response is still your responsibility, whether that includes practicing nonviolent communication, setting a boundary, or removing yourself from the situation.
Read more: Learn about codependency + boundaries and explore strategies for dealing with negative thoughts and anger.
3 Step Projection Exploration
Below, you’ll find a three-step process to help you identify and explore potential areas of projection. You can apply this inquiry process to any challenging situation that comes up for you.
STEP 1: Notice if you’re exhibiting these symptoms of projection:
Feeling overly hurt, defensive, or sensitive about something someone has said or done.
Allowing someone to push your buttons and get under your skin in a way that others do not.
Feeling highly reactive and quick to blame.
Difficulty being objective, getting perspective, and standing in the other person’s shoes.
Noticing that this situation or your reactivity is a recurring pattern.
STEP 2: Self-honesty.
Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers:
What part of my past is this person triggering?
Where does this send me on an emotional level?
What types of stories am I telling myself about this person/situation?
Do I feel reactive about this? If so, in what way? What do I want to do?
Who or what does this person or situation remind me of?
In what ways do I act like this person? Is there any area in my life where I also show up in this way?
In what ways do I not act like this person? Why is that?
Am I afraid that I might be like this person, or that others might think of me in this way? If yes, what’s at the core of this fear?
What do I need to do to take care of myself right now? How can I self-soothe?
How can I be compassionate while also setting a healthy boundary with this person/situation?
STEP 3: Implement Boundaries and Reclaim Your Power.
This final step includes a somatic process to help you integrate the information you’ve gathered in the previous steps. This practice will help you to self-regulate, reclaim disowned aspects of yourself, let go of projections you may have taken on, and shift into a more objective, compassionate mindset.
Take 10 slow, deep belly breaths with your eyes closed to relax the body and quiet the mind.
As you breathe, imagine all disowned parts of yourself (your projections) coming back to you.
Visualize compassion as a color or symbol that surrounds your entire body.
Take 10 deep breaths to release other people’s projections you may have taken on.
Imagine that each breath is clearing a path in your awareness, helping you to cultivate clarity.
Set the intention to implement at least one new boundary to help you deal with this situation.
Take 10 deep breaths to integrate and digest this experience.
After your meditation, write down your insights and how you feel. Follow through with the intentions and boundaries you identified.
Explore accessible breathing practices, free guided meditation recordings, and communication tools.
Explanations > Behaviors
> Coping > Projection
Discussion | So what?
When a person has uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, they may project these
onto other people, assigning the thoughts or feelings that they need to
repress to a convenient alternative target.
Projection may also happen to obliterate attributes of other people with
which we are uncomfortable. We assume that they are like us, and in doing so we
allow ourselves to ignore those attributes they have with which we are
- Neurotic projection is perceiving others as operating in ways one
unconsciously finds objectionable in yourself.
- Complementary projection is assuming that others do, think and feel
in the same way as you.
- Complimentary projection is assuming that others can do things as
well as you.
Projection also appears where we see our own traits in other people, as in
the false consensus effect.
Thus we see our friends as being more like us than they really are.
I do not like another person. But I have a value that says I should like
everyone. So I project onto them that they do not like me. This allows me to
avoid them and also to handle my own feelings of dislike.
An unfaithful husband suspects his wife of infidelity.
A woman who is attracted to a fellow worker accuses the person of sexual
Projecting thoughts or emotions onto others allows the person to consider
them and how dysfunctional they are, but without feeling the attendant
discomfort of knowing that these thoughts and emotions are their own. We can
thus criticize the other person, distancing ourselves from our own dysfunction.
One explanation is that the ego perceives dysfunction from ‘somewhere’ and
then seeks to locate that somewhere. The super ego warns of punishment if that
somewhere is internal, so the ego places it in a more acceptable external place
– often in convenient other people.
Projection turns neurotic or moral anxiety into reality anxiety, which is easier to deal with.
Projection is a common attribute of paranoia, where people project dislike of
themselves onto others such that they believe that most other people dislike
Projection helps justify unacceptable behavior, for example where a person
claims that they are sticking up for themselves amongst a group of aggressive
Empathy, where a person experiences the perceived emotions of others, may be
considered as a ‘reverse’ form of projection, where a person projects other
people onto themselves. Identification may also
be a form of reverse projection.
Projection is one of
Anna Freud’s original
To work authentically with other people, avoid projecting your woes onto
them. When you see others in a negative light, think: are you projecting? Also
understand that when others criticizing you, they may well be criticizing a
projection of themselves.
When others are using projection, you can hold up a mirror to show them what
they are doing. As usual, this may well be met with other forms of resistance.
Projection and Introjection,
What is Psychological Projection?
Projection is a defense mechanism in which we reflect our unconscious thoughts and impulses onto someone else, denying their existence within ourselves. We generally start projecting as a way to protect ourselves from unconscious feelings that are difficult to cope with and understand. The majority of our emotions and thoughts come from our own unconscious. Our unconscious mind is responsible for attraction and motivation and can keep underlying fears and beliefs hidden. When we push down or deny these unconscious beliefs, they can manifest negatively in our daily lives and potentially harm those closest to us.
Three Types of Projection
Projection is a reflection of our unconscious thoughts.
Neurotic projection is the most common type of projection and it is, most simply, when you reflect your own emotions or motivations on to another person. Because we have pushed down these destructive thoughts in our unconscious, they manifest themselves into our conscious thoughts about another person which are simpler for us to grapple with. For example, if you subconsciously feel you are too controlling, instead of admitting this to yourself, you might start thinking of a friend as controlling.
Complementary projection is when you assume those around you share the same beliefs and value systems that you do. What you are projecting in this case are your own beliefs and values onto other individuals. When you reflect your own opinions and principles onto others, you can be left vulnerable- especially if you are assuming they have altruistic motives. You can live for long periods of time accepting inadequate or unacceptable treatment from those around you because you believe that they have the same good intentions that you do. We also see complementary projection occur with political views; we assume that everyone around us accepts the same “political truths” that we do, especially on hot-button issues. But this is often not the case and can end in heated and hurtful comments and arguments that didn’t need to occur.
Sometimes, we project because we doubt our own abilities.
The third type of projection is complimentary projection; complimentary projection is when you assume those around you can perform every task or skill just as well as you can. What can be so dangerous about complimentary projection is that it devalues your own work, worth and talents. For example, if you are in an art class and you’re a masterful painter, with complimentary projection, you assume everyone else in the art class can paint just as well as you. However, because you don’t believe you have an above average talent, you quit the art class and never allow your painting skills to fully develop. Complimentary projection can lead you into a cycle of self-doubt and undermine your self-confidence.
Unchecked projection can hurt your relationships.
Projection and Your Relationships
Projection can be incredibly destructive in your relationships. Considering your partner is constantly with you, it can be easy for your unconscious thoughts to reflect onto them. This can lead to building tension, frustration and resentment in your relationship. However, there are tactics we can use to spot our own projection and cope when our partner projects onto us. When we see ourselves getting angry or having an abnormally strong emotional reaction, we should ask ourselves “who is this really about?” The goal in this is to not stop your anger, but to understand the root of your frustration so you don’t direct unnecessary rage towards your partner. There are also phrases commonly associated with projection such as “he/she hates me.” “He/she hates me” is one of the most popular phrases we use to project a hatred we actually feel for ourselves onto another person. Expressions of jealousy can also be a sign of projection and may indicate that your partner is feeling insecure about themselves or the relationship.
When you see or feel as though your partner, or anyone, is projecting their emotions onto you, a useful way to diffuse the situation is by saying calmly “this feels like it isn’t about me. ” This phrase is not argumentative or aggressive, but encourages self-reflection in a potentially heated situations. Try to be questioning and not accusatory, especially considering the other person is probably feeling vulnerable and aggravated.
Projection is not something we can completely get rid of or avoid. Ultimately, understanding projection is about understanding and being sure of yourself. If you can clearly see and comprehend your own thoughts and actions, you will be more prepared to catch yourself or your partner projecting.
How To Prevent The Projections Of Others From Influencing Your Thoughts
Reading time: 4 minutes
Do you realize that during each and every interaction you have with another person, there is a chance that they are projecting their feelings onto you and that you are doing likewise onto them? The projections of others influence our own thoughts and feelings, and not always for the better.
Projection is a psychological tool that we all use to varying degrees to help us evade thoughts and feelings that trouble us. While it may prove somewhat useful in this regard, it has a real impact on the thoughts of the person being projected onto.
Whether or not any malice is intended, projection is often insidious by its very nature.
After all, it is almost always a negative emotion or thought that is being projected: an insecurity you hold about yourself, the ill-feeling you have towards another, or the remorse felt about your behavior. You project these and other feelings in order to avoid having to deal with them directly.
Yet the very act of projection requires that you ignore the effects that it may have on the other person. If you considered them, you would be conscious of your projection, which is simply never the case.
If we now flip things around and look at the situation from the perspective of the person onto which these feelings are being projected, what can you do to protect yourself and prevent someone else’s issues from becoming your own?
There are various steps that you need to take if you are to prevent the projections of others from influencing your thoughts and feelings:
Recognize when you are being projected onto
As with many things, recognition of the problem is the first and most important step to addressing it. Only when you have identified the process of projection, can you begin to shield yourself from it.
One of the easiest ways to spot projection is by watching out for the “yous” in the language of others. Remember, they are trying to push their own negative thoughts and emotions onto you so that they do not have to deal with them. To do this, they will insist that you hold the same qualities that they are uncomfortable with.
If they have weight issues, they may ask, “Have you put on a few pounds recently?”
- Someone who is disappointed by what they see as their own failures may state, “You need to try a little harder if you want to achieve X, Y, or Z.”
- A person who has treated you badly may seek to absolve themselves of blame (and thus avoid addressing their behavior) by insisting, “You have been such a b*tch to me lately. ”
- To deny their own fears and deflect attention away from them, someone might resort to ridicule, saying, “You’re not really afraid of flying/horror movies/bugs are you?”
When you have identified language such as this, you need to stop and consider whether you are being projected onto. Is the statement true in any way? If it is, are you already aware of it and is it something you wish to address? (Perhaps you’re happy with your new weight or you’re quite all right with being afraid of creepy crawlies.)
If there isn’t any truth in what the other person is saying, it is important that you recognize this fact rather than simply accepting that it might be true because they said it. As soon as you start to believe the possibility that it is true, your thoughts are no longer your own and you fall under the influence of this other person’s projection.
You must be willing to question your own thoughts and ask whether they originate from you, or whether you have taken them on from others after they have made statements referring to you.
The sooner you are able to identify a thought or feeling as having been planted in your mind by an outside influence, the better. The longer it goes unaddressed, the deeper its roots can grow – to the point at which you believe it is your own thought and always has been.
Never assume that all of your thoughts are your own – they may seem like they are coming from inside your mind, but their source could well be another person entirely.
2. Step into the shoes of the source
Once you realize that you are being projected onto, try to step out of your own mind and into theirs. See through their eyes, feel what they feel, think their thoughts (just be aware that they are theirs and not yours).
Try to understand why this person might be projecting onto you. Recognize that their projections are a defense mechanism with the sole purpose of avoiding the uncomfortable feelings that would inevitably arise should they have to confront their underlying issue.
Projections are merely manifestations of their own insecurities and by stepping into their shoes, you will be better placed to empathize with them. This process will also teach you a great deal about that person and maybe even deepen your connection with them.
You will see the human in them, the doubt-riddled soul that yearns for the safety and security of kind words from others.
In time, you can use the knowledge you gain to help build their self-esteem and help them address those issues they project onto others.
3. Let the projections of others come and go
As mentioned above, projections can inflict considerable damage on the receiver, altering their thought patterns to the point where they see truth in the projections where there is none.
The harm is not, however, an instantaneous consequence of the projection. Instead, the damage is done when those thoughts and feelings are held onto, and dwelled upon again and again. Only then can your mind subsequently adopt these foreign invaders as one of its own beliefs.
Not falling under the influence of another’s projections, then, is simply a case of letting them come and go as fleeting ripples in the pond of your mind. Whatever is said, let the words pass through you like the wind passes through the branches and leaves of a tree.
However hurtful the comments may be, remember that they are not gospel; no matter who said what, your truth and your mind are your own. You have the power to control what is and isn’t allowed to permeate your thoughts and, indeed, how you react to the person who projected in the first place. Remain aloof (emotionally uninvolved; at a distance) to any negative remarks and remind yourself of their true source.
4. Accept that you are being influenced
While this article deals with how not to be influenced by the projections of others, one must also accept that your thoughts and feelings are being constantly shaped and sculpted by the world around you.
Whether it’s the words or actions of another person, the situations you find yourself in, or even the weather on any given day, you are, to some degree, a product of your surroundings.
This is not something to fear, but merely the natural result of the interaction between an organism and its environment. Just as you can have no up without down, and no black without white, your life would be wholly and utterly meaningless in the vacuum of nothingness. Meaning arises out of your interplay with the things and people around you.
You, therefore, have to accept that as you imprint on them, they imprint on you. The trick is to know which imprints to make permanent and which to let fade. So let the joyous moments in your life stay with you forever, and let the hurtful projections of others float away on the breeze.
Steve Waller has a passion for personal growth and development, so much so that he founded a website dedicated to it. The result is A Conscious Rethink: an online magazine of sorts that contains hundreds of helpful and thoughtful articles on subjects ranging from personality and relationships to psychology and philosophy, among others. The Facebook page accompanying his website has grown to a following of over 800,000 and counting so be sure to connect with him there, too.
How to Respond to Psychological Projection in Relationships That Are Strained
Written by Maria Connolly on . Posted in Healthy Relationships, Self-Leadership Skills.
“Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected. It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.” ~ Byron Katie
Have you ever noticed how people hate or get irritated by the qualities in others that they themselves unknowingly possess? Take for example, Don, the husband of a close friend. He’s always making comments like, “I can’t stand people who are so controlling,” or “That woman has a control issue, for sure!” He adamantly proclaims that he hates men who control women, but those around him glance at each other with knowing looks, because we see him trying to control his wife and kids in little ways all the time.
The good news is that our friend has learned to recognize her husband’s psychological projections and his insecurities that cause them. She’s developed some great coping skills and knows how to respond to psychological projection in relationships. I’m happy to see that she’s also respectfully teaching her children to do the same.
Psychological projection not only involves attributing the feelings and thoughts we don’t like in ourselves to those around us. It rears its head in many other ways, especially at times of conflict. We create negative “stories” about others to make ourselves feel better — a coworker is quiet and reserved, so you think she doesn’t like you because she’s stuck-up and snobbish. Or we put someone on a pedestal projecting positive qualities we want them to have — the man you fell in love with was perfectly honest, supportive, and trustworthy until he failed to stand up for you when you were RIGHT! We often use psychological projection to make up for where we feel inadequate.
As humans we are self-referential. We interpret the world around us from our perspective and our filters. As the center of our world, life is always about us. When we aren’t projecting onto another, we are projecting onto ourselves. The question is: Are your filters enhancing your ability to see yourself and others wholly, clearly and accurately?
A major problem with projections is that they keep you from fully experiencing the moment. Your Shadow Self or unintegrated Parts aren’t allowing you to experience and acknowledge your deepest feelings and why you have them. This may result in you passing them onto another as a projection. You might even sum up the entire essence of a person under one label (She’s a liar. He’s a hypocrite.), which keeps you from seeing the entirety of another’s personality and worth.
And when people project their issues onto us, they act as if their projection is our true identity. If you’re highly sensitive or vulnerable, you might believe their projection is true. After all, they think it and say it, so it must be so. For example, if a parent feels like a failure and they tell their child, “you’ll never amount to anything,” the child thinks, “I must be a failure,” and that thought forms his subsequent choices.
Developing greater mindfulness and self-awareness are key to knowing how to respond to psychological projections — whether you’re the one doing the projecting or someone is projecting onto you. Self-awareness, without judgment, will lead you to self-acceptance, self-love and self-forgiveness. These are skills you can also extend toward others as you accept, love and forgive them. Ultimately, you will learn to be responsible for how you’re contributing to a situation, instead of pushing the responsibility solely onto others.
When you learn to deeply communicate with yourself and others, you’ll avoid a lot of problems caused by projection. The next time you assume someone feels or thinks something, stop yourself and assess your projections by asking these questions:
- Did they really say or do what I’m assuming or am I exaggerating or jumping to conclusions?
- Why did I decide that’s how they feel? Am I reading more into their silence or body language than there is?
- How are my own emotions clouding the situation?
- Have my own emotions intensified a situation unnecessarily?
- What can I do to step back and see the other person wholly and clearly?
And remember you can’t go wrong by asking the other person questions such as, “Am I correct in thinking you said this or you meant that?”
If you’re serious about going deeper into what’s behind your present behavior, we invite you to join our 3rd annual Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat. You’ll find a peaceful, supportive group of women who are growing into the best versions of themselves. We’ll help you recognize your patterns and find your authentic self as you refine the best way for you to show up in your relationships and life. And there’s still time to get in on the Early Bird Pricing!
Communication Skills, Positive thoughts – Negative thoughts
Everyone Else’s Fault? How to Stop Projecting Feelings Onto Others
What is projection anyway?
By: The British Library
You don’t want to go out for the evening, but convince yourself the other party actually doesn’t find you interesting and that’s why you’re cancelling.
You are incredibly attracted to a colleague, but get angry at them for flirting with you.
In a fight with your sister you stay very calm, pointing out how angry she always gets, then go home with thoughts of rage against her.
Welcome to the world of psychological projection.
Psychological projection is when you unconsciously avoid taking responsibility for certain feelings and thoughts by attributing them to someone else.
[Why do we project? What are the many ways you might be projecting onto others without realising it? For the answers to these questions and more read our connected piece on “What is psychological projection?“.]
How to manage your psychological projection
So you have admitted to yourself you are the projecting type. So what now? How can you start to become more responsible for how you think and feel?
1. Stop saying I’m fine.
Projection happens because we are in complete denial of how we really feel to the extent we dump it on others instead of acknowledge it. “I’m fine” is a response many of us are quick to not only say but buy into, ignoring the anger that has our stomach in knots or the sadness that has us secretly overeating or bingeing on alcohol every night.
Begin by just noticing how many times you say “I’m fine” each day, either to others, or in your head to yourself.
Each time you catch yourself being ‘fine’ try to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and ask, what am I really thinking and feeling right now?
This sort of ‘present moment awareness‘ will have you well on your way to the next point…
2. Try mindfulness.
By: Alice Popkorn
Mindfulness has proven so effective for helping people to be more in touch with how they think and feel it has taken the psychological community by storm over the last few years.
A modern take on ancient Eastern practises, it’s about learning to tap into the power of the present moment, where your real feelings and thoughts reside.
The more you are present to yourself, the less you’ll project.
3. Learn the art of self-compassion
More often than not we are projecting feelings because we suffer from shame and low self-esteem and are afraid to see our imperfections. This is where the art of self-compassion steps in.
Self-compassion is about, extending kindness and understanding towards all of yourself, all of the time.
This creates a safe inner space to being to accept your less than perfect feelings, meaning there is less of a need to dump them on others.
4. Spend more time alone.
Realise you say you are fine more than you should, but can’t quite get a handle on what you are thinking and feeling instead? It could be you need to spend more time alone getting to know yourself.
This is not about sitting at home watching television. It’s about quality time where you invest in learning to listen to yourself. This can look like time spent journalling, trying new things nobody else you know likes, reading self help-books, visualising, or doing self-development study courses.
5. Question your thoughts.
By: Christian Gonzalez
Projection is the mind’s way of tricking us out of feeling what we need to feel. So what if you stopped believing all your thoughts were the gospel truth? And started recognising that most of your thoughts are a mix of assumptions, old core beliefs, and doubt?
Question your thoughts about others. Do you really know what they think and feel? Have you actually asked them? Do you have facts to back up your assumption? What other facts contradict what you are thinking?
Question your thoughts about yourself too. Are you really as hated as you think? As powerless as you want to believe?
(Never know what questions to ask? Read our article on how to ask better questions. Want some help questioning your thoughts? Try cognitive behavioural therapy, which focuses on this very skill.)
6. Learn how to communicate better.
Projecting can happen because it feels easier than communicating how we really feel, or being honest about what we want from a situation and others.
Consider taking time to learn how to communicate better, especially how to communicate under stress.
Part of communicating also involves learning to listen more. Remember that words aren’t the only way people communicate – it might also be in their body language and the actions they take.
7. Recognise your personal power.
Projection is often a way to make a victim of ourselves. Instead of admitting we don’t like a colleague, we decide they hate us. Instead of admitting we are furious at a family member for not pulling their weight, we say nothing and blame them for being too angry and mean.
Sure, it means you can feel sorry for yourself and gain the attention and pity of those around you. But making others responsible means that you have given away your power to change the situation.
Instead of throwing away your power, invest in learning new ‘power skills’ such as learning how to say no and learning how to set boundaries.
8. Track the projection patterns.
By: Caleb Roenigk
Start to notice what situations make you project can be helpful. And notice who you tend to project around. Is it only with romantic partners, or more often with strangers?
Then ask what your projection is about. Do you tend to project when people ask too much of you and you feel overwhelmed? Would you rather project than admit you were wrong? Do you project your sexual feelings onto others?
You might find the present patterns link to past patterns. For example, if you do project over admit you were wrong, did a parent punish you frequently for being ‘bad’? And if you do project your sexual feelings, do you have a religious background that shamed any sexual thoughts? The next suggestion can be helpful if these feels too overwhelming.
9. Talk to a therapist.
If you worry you are projecting but find it overwhelming to figure out how it all began or how to stop, you can talk to a counsellor or psychotherapist who is trained at helping you recognise your patterns and find new ways of approaching your relationships and life.
Do you have an example of projection you’d like to share? Do so below, we’d love to hear from you.
Psychological Projection – Are You Making Everyone Else Responsible?
What is psychological projection?
Psychological projection involves attributing the feelings and thoughts we don’t like in ourselves to those around us instead, without even realising we are doing so. And it’s a common habit we all tend to indulge in.
But psychological projection is also something that we can learn to stop doing, and by so doing we can improve our relationships both with others and ourselves.
What does psychological projection look like?
Psychological projection is in the way we decide to see others. It’s there when deep down we find a work colleague annoying, but rather than admitting this to ourselves and feeling a bad person we instead decide they don’t like us.
It’s often present in times of conflict. When you act calm in an argument with a partner, telling them they are the angry one, not acknowledging that beneath your controlled surface you are actually pretty vexed, too? You are projecting.
It is behind things like bullying, where the bully secretly feels vulnerable so then makes others vulnerable to his or her actions.
And psychological projection is very common in parenting. It’s present when a parent who secretly feels a failure demands their child be perfect, or a mother with many hidden psychological challenges ends up with an anxious child she drags from therapist to therapist.
Forms of psychological projection you might overlook
Most often psychological projection is something we put onto another person, but it is possible to project onto an inanimate object or even situation. For example, ‘this car is so embarrassing it’s why no woman wants to date me’ or ‘I wasn’t stressed at all, it was just that we had to go to that funeral’ could both be forms of projection.
Psychological projection can be about positive attributes too, not just ones you perceive as negative. If you constantly think other people are very powerful and focussed, it could be that you are too insecure to see that you are these things yourself.
And it’s not just individuals who practise psychological projection. It can also be something we do as a group or as a society. For example, when a workplace starts to fall, the very managers who were not pulling their weight will blame the higher boss as lazy.
It could even be said there is projection in the way we now make terrorists the source of all evil in society without ever looking at the ways we are cruel and unkind to others ourselves, or don’t pull our own weight within communities and globally.
Why do we project our feelings onto others?
Projection can be learned behaviour. If as children our parents or guardians projected their feelings onto others we can assume this is just what one does.
Most often we project onto others because we have such a backlog of repressed emotions we are ashamed of, we are unconsciously driven to unload them elsewhere in an attempt to feel better.
But how does one end up with so many repressed emotions? You might have had a parent who was not fully available to you in your important early years, so you learned that it was best to hide certain emotions that made your parent or guardian even less likely to give you the attention you needed (for more on this read about attachment theory).
Or it might be a childhood trauma you experienced that left you sure that that certain feelings like sadness, anger, or sexual feelings are unacceptable.
Schools of thought about psychological projection
Freud labelled the way we unconsciously react in certain ways to protect ourselves from what we feel a threat as ‘ego defenses’, now commonly referred to as ‘defense mechanisms’. Psychological projection was seen by Freud as a defense mechanism designed to help us feel safe from feeling judged for having apparently ‘unacceptable’ thoughts or feelings.
Jung connected psychological projection to his concept of ‘the shadow’. The shadow is the part of ourselves we refuse to identify with because we deem it as unacceptable and not ‘positive’. This includes things like anger, sadness, and vulnerability. Of course all these aspects are necessary parts that also give us useful things. For example, anger helps us set boundaries, and sadness helps us understand what happiness is.
For Jung, projection happens when we are not able to accept our shadow and its gifts but would rather thing we are only comprised of ‘positive’ things, imposing a judgement system on ourselves we must maintain by forcing others to be the scapegoat for parts of ourselves.
Melanie Klein, one of the founding figures of psychoanalytic theory who furthered Freud’s theories, pointed out that projection can also be not just about denying parts of ourselves but also about connecting ourselves to others in a way that allows us to feel we can acquire parts of what they have.
This makes most sense when looking at positive projection. For example, if you project your ability to be powerful onto another who happens to be very successful then it might be that you are unconsciously trying to attach yourself to their success.
Worried you are projecting but don’t know how to stop?
A lifetime spent making others responsible for any feeling you have that you aren’t comfortable with is not something that stops overnight. It is a process that involves becoming more honest about who you are, and more at home with yourself and your emotions.
If you worry you are projecting but find it overwhelming to figure out how it all began or how to stop, it might be helpful to talk to a counsellor or psychotherapist who is trained at helping you recognise your patterns and find new ways of approaching your relationships and life.
Do you have an example of projection you’d like to share? Do so below, we’d love to hear from you.
90,000 What is psychological transference?
The opinion of the “Right Hemisphere Introvert”
Reading time – 2 minutes
Author Ekaterina Oksanen
Lecturer in psychology
Projection is a mechanism of psychological defense, in which one’s own feelings, thoughts and desires are transferred to others. This amazing mental trick is actively involved not only in communicating with people, but also in how we understand texts, videos or pictures. Let’s see how it works.
Criticism of others
What a person does not want to accept in himself, for which he is ashamed or embarrassed, he can project onto another. For example, a greedy person may accuse another of not wanting to share.
When a person projects his fears onto another, then he blames him for what he himself is most afraid of. For example, a person with Impostor Syndrome is very afraid of being incompetent.And it is for incompetence that he most often blames others.
Imagine a person who works hard and hard. How does he look at the one who gets money easier? With anger and desire to devalue. Our worker wants to do the same, but he is ashamed to appropriate this desire for himself (yes, envy is based on the mechanism of projection). And if you admit to yourself that you want to make money easier, then it turns out that all his life before that, he was in vain so much laid out. And this is insulting.
For example, the patterns on the carpet are neutral (there are just lines or flowers), but our psyche can see human faces, and figures, and animals there. When psychologists realized that different people see different symbols in the same image, they immediately began to invent special tests based on the projection mechanism – for example, the famous Rorschach test or TAT (thematic apperception test).
Loop on problem
Projection starts to work most actively when a person has some “sick” or important topic for him: he begins to see it everywhere and in everything.His psyche really begins to work like a large projector, the picture from which falls on everything that surrounds him. This explains the common situations when people write a little strange things in the comments: they see not what is written, but what “hurts” them. For example, to the neutral phrase “People are multifaceted creatures”, they can write this: “Yes, one facet is meanness, the other is anger. ”
Projection is a good clue. If you react too strongly to some person or some idea, think: why would it be? There are plenty of unpleasant people and dubious ideas, but we do not give a reaction to every such case, but only to the one that means a lot to us and which concerns some part of ourselves.
Now look at the picture from the aforementioned TAT test in the carousel. What do you see on it?
On the cover: Rotary Pietro Antonio “Girl with a Fan” (Fragment), 1756
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Personal defense mechanisms
The term “defense mechanism” was first introduced by Sigmund Freud.
The functional significance of psychological defenses consists in the weakening of anxiety, tension, anxiety, frustration caused by the contradiction between the impulses of the unconscious and the requirements of the external environment arising from interaction with the environment. Psychological protection performs the function of regulating human behavior, making it more adaptive, increases adaptability, stabilizes the psyche and normalizes the state of the individual.
The main defense mechanisms include: repression, projection, substitution, rationalization, reactive formation, regression, sublimation, denial.
One of the main and primary mechanisms is repression, which consists in discarding events, thoughts, experiences that are unpleasant for us.As a result, a person ceases to be aware of internal conflicts, and also does not remember the traumatic events of the past. The repressed impulses do not lose their activity in the unconscious sphere and appear in the form of dreams, jokes, slips of the tongue, etc.
Displacement can be compared to a dam that can break – there is always a risk that memories of unpleasant events will burst out. The psyche expends a huge amount of energy to suppress them.
In terms of its significance, the next mechanism is projection – the attribution of one’s own socially undesirable feelings, desires, and aspirations to others. This mechanism of psychological defense makes it possible to relieve oneself of responsibility for one’s own character traits and desires, which seem unacceptable.
For example, unfounded jealousy may be the result of a projection mechanism. Defending against his own desire for infidelity, a person suspects his partner of treason.
In this defense mechanism, the manifestation of the instinctive impulse is redirected from a more threatening object or person to a less threatening one. For example, an overly demanding employer criticizes an employee, and she reacts with outbursts of rage to minor provocations from her husband and children. She does not realize that, being the objects of her irritation, they are simply replacing the boss.In this example, the true object of hostility is replaced by a much less threatening subject.
Rationalization as a protective process consists in the fact that a person unconsciously invents logical judgments and inferences to explain his failures. This is necessary to maintain your own positive self-image. One of the most commonly used forms of such protection is “green grape” rationalization.This name originates from Aesop’s fable about a fox who could not reach the bunch of grapes and therefore decided that the berries were not yet ripe.
- Reactive education.
Reactive education becomes a psychological defense mechanism when a person demonstrates actions that are opposite to his true experiences. In the case of this defensive reaction, a person unconsciously transforms one mental state into another (for example, hatred into love, and vice versa).
A similar fact is important in assessing the personality of a person, for it indicates that a person’s real actions can only be a consequence of a veiled distortion of his true desires.
For example, excessive anger in other cases is only an unconscious attempt to veil interest and good nature, and ostentatious hatred is a consequence of love, which frightened a person who unconsciously decided to hide it behind an attempt to openly splash out negative.
In regression, a person returns to earlier forms of behavior. Regression allows us to adapt to a traumatic situation due to an unconscious return to habitual forms of behavior since childhood: crying, whims, emotional requests, etc. We unconsciously learned that such forms of behavior guarantee support and safety.
This type of protection is especially often manifested in a situation of illness, when an adult begins to behave like a child.Regression makes it possible to throw off the burden of responsibility for what is happening: after all, in childhood, parents were responsible for a lot.
Abuse of regression leads to a lack of a successful life strategy, difficulties in relationships with people around and the emergence of psychosomatic diseases.
Sublimation is an unconscious switch of negative psychic energy to engage in socially useful work.Sublimation is expressed in the fact that a person experiencing some kind of neurotic conflict finds the replacement of internal anxiety by switching to another occupation (creativity, chopping wood, cleaning the apartment, etc.).
This mechanism is considered as the only constructive strategy of behavior in a situation of psychological discomfort.
Sublimation is a productive defense mechanism that has given the world a huge amount of art.
This defense mechanism allows you to ignore (deny) the obvious, protecting the psyche from injury.This is a complete rejection of unpleasant information. Denial is often the first response to the pain of loss or to the presence of a dangerous illness.
When a person refuses to admit that an unpleasant event has occurred, this means that he turns on such a protective mechanism as denial.
Denial of reality takes place there and then when people say or insist: “This just cannot happen to me”, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary (this happens when a doctor informs a patient that he has a fatal disease).
Considering the mechanisms of psychological protection of a person, it is necessary to remember the following:
1) defense mechanisms are manifested at the unconscious level, i. e. a person does not realize that he is using defense mechanisms;
2) defense mechanisms do not appear in isolation, i.e. a person usually uses 1-2 protection mechanisms;
3) defense mechanisms protect a person from overwhelming anxiety, tension, prevent disorganization of behavior and help maintain the integrity of the personality.
4) a person’s awareness of the existence of psychological defenses helps him to better understand and accept himself.
If you have any questions or are interested in studying your personality, the psychologists of the medical and psychological department will be happy to help you.
List of used literature:
- Melnik S.N., Psychology of Personality
- S. A. Zelinsky Protective mechanisms of the psyche.Basic protection characteristics
- Chumakova Elena Viktorovna “Psychological protection of the personality in the system of child-parent interaction”
- Belov V. G., Biryukova G.M., Fedorenko V.V. Psychological protection and its role in the formation of the human adaptive system.
- S.L. Bogomaz Psychological protection of personality: methodology, mechanisms, tools.
Material prepared by psychologist I.D.,
medical and psychological department.
What is projection and why does it interfere with communication?
When I just started studying psychotherapy, the most important discovery (and even shock) for me was how much we humans think about each other. And how much it creates misunderstandings, disagreements and premature conclusions. How did I come to this realization? Thanks to the educational process.
There is such a practice as group dynamics.It consists in the fact that a group of people sits in a circle and everyone begins to speak the truth about what they think. It was forbidden to include in the topic of conversation people who were not present in the circle, so our discussions most often concerned ourselves, namely our relationships. To simplify, it looked something like this. Pasha says to Masha: “You are some kind of silent, probably angry with me?” Lena retorts: “We quarreled in the morning, and now she’s probably offended at me …” Katya interjects: “Why are you sticking, Masha had a hard day yesterday, she’s just tired!” But during the discussions, it turned out that Masha is fine, she is not angry with anyone, she is not at all offended, but is silent because of her new love that completely captured her thoughts (“I feel so good that I am in the clouds”).And the feelings attributed to her (anger / resentment / fatigue) were experienced in one form or another by the people themselves, who endowed her with these qualities.
Telling only the truth was the rule of learning, there was no way to get around it. How else can we understand the mechanisms of thinking and building relationships? This practice was repeated from year to year and tested on a variety of people (from 18 to 70 years old), which completely turned my perception of the world upside down. I realized that no matter how I understand people, I cannot determine what is happening inside another person until I figure it out directly.
The inner world of each of us is unique. It is built under the influence of life experience and many other factors. What is understandable and natural to one is alien to another. Even those people who, it would seem, were very close to me (we graduated from the same university in the same year, we have similar hobbies and general psychotype), in terms of their “stuffing”, their perception turned out to be completely different. If only because we have different “input data”, we grew up in different families, we had different childhoods, we fell in love with different people and the same words or actions for us can have completely different meanings.
What can I say, even brothers and sisters often turn out to be diametrically opposed personalities. Because there are too many factors that make up our inner “I”. And no matter how sad it may sound, but each of us is really “so one”. Therefore, the only way to understand another is to ask directly, to clarify, to find out.
Why do we “think out” for others? There is a good explanation: we see in others what is in ourselves. This is true. We find ourselves in many ways and strengthen ourselves through reflection by other people.We endow them with those qualities that we repress or suppress in ourselves. A person who thinks that everyone is jealous of him, in fact, cannot accept envy in himself, denies it. It seems to the offended that everyone is offended at him, to the liar – that everyone is lying to him. We project onto others our personal experience, traits, relationships, motivation, in a word, our own internal phenomena that may not be characteristic of others at all. In psychology, this phenomenon is called “projection”.
How is the projection formed?
Projection refers to one of the mechanisms of psychological defense.This concept arose within the framework of psychoanalysis, and was introduced by its founder of this doctrine, Sigmund Freud in 1894. He believed that the personality resorts to psychological defenses in order to cope with various painful experiences. They help maintain mental health and personal integrity by distorting reality. One of these mechanisms is introjection – when a person appropriates something external as something internal. Projection is its opposite: in this case, something internal is attributed to the external environment.
According to Sigmund Freud, the principle of the formation of projections is approximately the following. If we have some quality (for example, aggressiveness) that from childhood we are forbidden to show, then we displace it, but we clearly see this trait in others. And for this, other people do not have to have this quality in reality. It is believed that about 80% of what we think of other people is our own projections, and nothing more.
So, for example, a woman shackled by sexual prohibitions thinks that everyone is pestering her, and a man who lusts for other women is furiously jealous of his wife, who has no thought of treason.
The psyche cannot recognize in other people and events that which is not contained in itself. The brighter, more often and more emotionally we react to this or that quality in others, the more the corresponding tendencies are contained in our mind. We just get an unmistakable indication of our own “specialization.”
Why do we need this?
Psychological defense mechanisms help us resolve internal conflicts and cope with anxiety, tension, shame and other emotions.So, thanks to projection, a person can transfer responsibility and guilt for some of his shameful (in his understanding) inclinations to another person, ascribe his qualities or feelings to him.
Why don’t we see these phenomena in ourselves? We can see them, but it can be painful to face them. And our whole being is programmed for a stable and calm existence, and all the events that excite us are forced out by the psyche into the subconscious.
The projection mechanism can be compared to the work of a movie projector – it helps us to see parts of our own personality, everything that we deny in it. Not only to see, but also to find. Any entity strives for integrity, and with the help of projection, we can enter into a dialogue with those parts of our own personality with which a dialogue inside is impossible. Whether this dialogue will become friendly is not important, the main thing is that it will take place. This means that our personality, perhaps, like a mosaic, will collect the unjustly rejected parts and finally become whole.
What to do?
One way to deal with projections is to take on the qualities that we bestow on others.If you think you are being envied, ask yourself: “Who do I envy? Why do I find envy in other people, what does it give me? ” Or, if you have a feeling that everyone is using you, tell yourself how you use others or what it means to you to use a person. Reflect on why this or that phenomenon worries you so much, what it says about you.
Do you hear someone’s opinion (that is, someone’s projection) about yourself? Do not rush to instantly react and take everything at face value. Do not immediately identify with someone else’s picture of the world. Take a break and try to separate where is “your” and where is “his”, characteristic of the interlocutor.
When making a judgment about another person, also take your time. Even if you put the prism of your experience on him and it seems to you that it almost fit him, it is worth checking your projection by asking a direct question. Because an unverified projection is the cause of many incidents. The less people talk about the inside, about what is happening between them, the more they fantasize about each other.And then the projection occupies the entire space of relations. Up to the point that there simply may not be room for another.
As the studies progressed, the dialogues in our psychotherapy group were structured something like this: “Am I silent? What do you want to tell me by that? Why does it catch you? ” And it turned out that for some, silence causes fear, rejection, for someone shame, anxiety, and for someone respect, depending on the projections, emotional state and experience.
Gradually, we learned an important skill – to take “responsibility for our perception” (as psychiatrist Frederick Perls used to say) and return projections to ourselves: they did not talk about the fact that the other was silent, but about what feelings this causes in us.For example: “I am very sorry that you do not say anything, because you are interesting to me and I miss you!” Or: “When you are silent, I feel anxious and feel less safe and confident.”
And a similar construction of a conversation, with clarifications and statements about ourselves and our feelings, helped us better understand ourselves and each other, find out the true motivations and see another person behind the veil of our own projections – so special, unique and so, in fact, another.
Here you can ask a question to the psychologist.
90,000 Projection. How to see your beam in someone else’s eye.
All people act on the basis of an assessment of the situation and their condition. That is, the action is half determined by the environment. By what a person sees in front of him.
If a person sees that they are shouting at him, he will act in accordance with this: shout in response, close himself, run away, beat, speak with emphasis calmly, try to calm down, be guilty and nod – it tastes.
However, it must be remembered that the perception of the world is subjective. We never know objectively what is happening in the world. We see through the prism of our experience. So a child sees a green unusual thing, an adult woman sees a cactus, her husband sees not just a cactus, but Ferocactus pilosus, and a camel sees food.
It is all the more difficult to determine what is “on the mind” of another person. His feelings, reactions. Sometimes he talks about it himself. Often – he does not hide. Sometimes we guess about all this from non-verbal manifestations.But all these are indirect signs. He can lie, he can depict, we can be mistaken in the interpretation of non-verbal signals.
Man does not tolerate uncertainty and uncertainty. If an information vacuum is formed in the field of his perception, he seeks to fill it. Someone climbs forward and investigates, someone invents what could be there, someone extrapolates their past experience, and someone projects.
What are projections?
Projection is a defense mechanism in which subjective content is assigned to an external object.
Example: Efrosinya is on the subway. Everyone looks askance at her and she just feels like everyone condemns her for cheap clothes. She hates them all because they are the most expensive clothes she can afford and she looks pretty neat. And in general, what is it !? That aunt over there looks even worse and is dressed even cheaper, and she also has the audacity to glance condemningly!
After a conversation with a psychologist, it may turn out that Efrosinya herself assesses her clothes as cheap. She would very much like to dress more expensively.This is important to her. She is unhappy with her clothes, but it is very unpleasant for her to worry about this shame. And just then, a defensive reaction turns on – it projects accusations and an assessment of its own appearance outward. So, first of all, she gets the opportunity to argue with them and give counterarguments: “What is it?” Secondly, she disclaims responsibility for her own assessment of herself, which allows her not to admit the facts. If everyone considers her “cheap”, and she is angry about it, then it turns out that it seems like she is not cheap at all.
Once again. Projection is when a person transfers his own feelings, thoughts, emotions, intentions, experience to other people.
Everyone is familiar with the projector. The content of the projector is inside, but we can see the image where the projector is directed.
This is how the projection mechanism works. Wherever a person looks, he sees his own content. Returning to the beginning of the article, you can understand why projections interfere with acting adequately to the situation. A person projecting his experiences onto others will react not to those around him, he will not see them, but to his own content.Which, of course, will not make it easier for him to interact and will not add charm.
More about projection types
Experiment to detect projections
Mind reading. “Oh, you dirty old man!”
You will need your partner Vasily. Everyone has Vasily, I think, so if you get bored at a meeting with him (in general, a rather boring type), you can try to conduct an experiment on projection.
In addition to Vasily, you will need two pieces of paper and two pens or pencils.Each one has a set.
Conditions : Sit opposite each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Place a paper and a pen in front of you. Agree who leads first. Remember the rule – you can’t talk about anything. In general, forget that you can speak. Throughout the experiment, both participants just silently look at each other. Let’s say the host is you.
As a presenter, you think hard about something for 2-3 minutes. It could be anything. You can try to instill something in Vasily or convey a feeling to him.You can try to blow his head off with your mind. At the same time, you are forbidden to somehow actively non-verbalize. Do not make a stone face, but do not try to make Vasily understand you by all means. Just broadcast.
Vasily’s task is to observe you and catch your sensations and feelings. They will be quite thin, so you have to try. He should also try to catch what you are thinking and what you are broadcasting to him. Vasily records all his guesses and feelings on paper. Maintain eye contact whenever possible.
After 2-3 minutes, the roles change. Now it’s your turn to read minds.
At the end of the time, share with each other what you felt and considered.
The differences will almost certainly be dramatic. And pay attention – what you “considered” from Vasily’s head is actually your own thoughts and feelings. Now you know how projection works.
How do I know the projection?
- She is irrational. You may know that a person is completely disgusting, although you have never communicated with him.You will not be able to give clear arguments.
- The projection is very fond of lack of information. Communication over the Internet facilitates projection, as does communication on the phone.
- Usually the projection is negative. That is, you tend to experience discomfort when communicating with the person you are projecting onto. But there is also a positive one, when you find it difficult to accept your own positive qualities. There is no need to explain why this case is less common.
Here is an illustrative example of a projection: “man, you are harassing me.”
9 types of psychological defense that are important to realize in time / AdMe
The defense mechanisms of the human psyche are aimed at reducing negative and traumatic experiences and are manifested at the unconscious level. This term was introduced by Sigmund Freud , and then developed more deeply by his students and followers, primarily by Anna Freud. Let’s try to figure out when these mechanisms are useful, and in what cases they inhibit our development and it is better to react and act consciously.
Bright Side will tell you about 9 main types of psychological defense that are important to realize in time. This is what the psychotherapist does most of the time in his office – he helps the client to comprehend the protective mechanisms that limit his freedom, spontaneity of response, and distort interaction with people around him.
Repression is the elimination of unpleasant experiences from the consciousness. It manifests itself in forgetting what causes psychological discomfort.Displacement can be compared to a dam that can break – there is always a risk that memories of unpleasant events will burst out. And the psyche spends a huge amount of energy to suppress them.
Projection is manifested in the fact that a person unconsciously ascribes his feelings, thoughts, desires and needs to the people around him. This mechanism of psychological defense makes it possible to relieve oneself of responsibility for one’s own character traits and desires, which seem unacceptable.
For example, unfounded jealousy may be the result of a projection mechanism. Defending against his own desire for infidelity, a person suspects his partner of treason.
This is the tendency to indiscriminately appropriate other people’s norms, attitudes, rules of behavior, opinions and values without trying to understand them and critically rethink them. Introjection is like swallowing huge chunks of food without trying to chew it.
All education and upbringing is built on the mechanism of introjection.Parents say: “Don’t put your fingers in the socket, don’t go out into the cold without a hat,” and these rules contribute to the survival of children. If a person in adulthood “swallows” other people’s rules and norms without trying to understand how they suit him personally, he becomes unable to distinguish between what he really feels and what he wants and what others want.
There is no border between “I and not-me.” There is only one total “we.” The merger mechanism is most clearly expressed in the first year of a child’s life.Mother and child are in fusion, which contributes to the survival of the little person, because the mother is very sensitive to the needs of her child and responds to them. In this case, we are talking about a healthy manifestation of this defense mechanism.
But in the relationship between a man and a woman, fusion inhibits the development of a couple and the development of partners. It is difficult to show your individuality in them. Partners dissolve in each other, and passion leaves the relationship sooner or later.
Rationalization is an attempt to find reasonable and acceptable reasons for an unpleasant situation, a situation of failure.The purpose of this defense mechanism is to maintain a high level of self-esteem and convince ourselves that we are not to blame, that the problem is not with us. It is clear that it will be more useful for personal growth and development to take responsibility for what happened and learn from life experience.
Rationalization can manifest itself as depreciation. Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Grapes” is a classic example of rationalization. The fox cannot get grapes in any way and retreats, explaining that the grapes are “green”.
This defense mechanism allows you to ignore (deny) the obvious, protecting the psyche from injury. This is a complete rejection of unpleasant information. Denial is often the first reaction to the pain of loss.
Regression allows you to adapt to a traumatic situation due to an unconscious return to habitual forms of behavior since childhood: crying, whims, emotional requests, etc. We unconsciously learned that such forms of behavior guarantee support and safety.
Regression makes it possible to throw off the burden of responsibility for what is happening: after all, in childhood, parents were responsible for a lot. Abuse of regression leads to a lack of a successful life strategy, difficulties in relationships with people around and the emergence of psychosomatic diseases.
Sublimation is manifested in the fact that, in an attempt to forget about a traumatic event, we switch to activities that are acceptable to us and those around us: we begin to engage in creativity or sports.Sublimation is a productive defense mechanism that has given the world a huge amount of art.
It is much more useful both for oneself and for society to write poetry, paint a picture or just chop wood than to get drunk or beat a more successful rival.
9. Reactive education
In the case of reactive education, our consciousness is protected from forbidden impulses, expressing opposite motives in behavior and thoughts. This protective process is carried out in two stages: first, the unacceptable impulse is suppressed, and then at the level of consciousness the completely opposite appears, while being quite hypertrophied and inflexible.
Illustrator Sergey Raskovalov specially for Bright Side
The world of projections – projection as a defense mechanism
Projection is a defense mechanism of the psyche
In life, quite often we are faced with misunderstandings in relationships, misinterpretation of the meaning of words or actions of partners, attribution of alien motives – our own and other people. Sometimes such errors of perception (our own and others’) take on the most fantastic shapes and sizes, leading to insoluble misunderstandings, destroying relationships and connections, interfering with mutual understanding.
All this happens because we live in a world of projections. In psychology, projection is the assignment of one’s own qualities, feelings, intentions to another person (or object). Those. it is a situation where we perceive the inner as coming from the outside. Ascribed to others, as a rule, that which is hidden from oneself, which is impossible to perceive in oneself, as well as socially unacceptable.
For example, a very egocentric person who suppresses his own feelings and experiences may say about others like this: “People are very selfish, they have nothing to do with others, everyone worries only about themselves!”
Freud, describing the projective mechanisms operating in the psyche of people, spoke of this as an unconscious process in which what we rejected in ourselves returns to us from the outside. Under the action of projective mechanisms, mental content always comes back, but it comes back in the form of something foreign, “not ours,” alien.
In the crudest forms of projection, this happens literally when a person hears voices, sees hallucinations, i.e. a person hears or sees something that is not in reality.In these situations, we are talking about psychotic experience – alienated and projected outward own mental experiences, thoughts, sensory perceptions return as extraneous voices or visions. A person gets rid of some contents of the psyche, but they return to him as someone else’s, alien, and therefore dangerous and unknown, acquiring fantastic images and outlines.
In most cases, the projection does not take on such a grandiose character, such strong distorted forms, but nevertheless, in its rough forms, it can greatly distort and refract our understanding, the meaning of the situation, the peculiarities of a particular person, the context of the conversation, etc. …etc.
It should be noted that Sigmund Freud spoke of projection in both normal and pathological functioning. Melanie Klein describes projection as a basic defense mechanism of the psyche that begins to function very early, in the era of infancy. The first projections of the baby are projections of his own aggression into the image of the mother.
Many people know this concept, the term “projection”, are familiar with it at least superficially, in general terms, but nevertheless they cannot stop projecting their own internal events onto other people.Why it happens? I will say right away that we do not need to strive to get rid of projections, we will not be able to do this. But to soften our projections. The question is not that we stop projecting, because it is impossible, but in the degree of projection, as well as in what to project.
Projections and illusions of perception
What influences our perception of reality? Of course, there are many factors, both external and internal. But, when dealing with projective mechanisms, we investigate precisely the internal aspects of our perception of the world.It is this layer that interests us now.
At the level of the body, the analogue of projection is spitting out, the very possibility of spitting out, i.e. simply get rid of something unpleasant that brings displeasure. And in a psychic sense, we can also say that projection is a way to get rid of, to say “no” to something scratching us from the inside, which feels unacceptable, unwanted, untimely at the moment.
Thus, projection raises for us the problem of boundaries – the boundaries between me and the other, between me and the world, what belongs here to me, and what is mine or not mine to the other.Those. the idea and the related problematics of one’s own and another’s, the detection of boundaries or their erasure. This is also associated with situations when a person is not able to accept something, to deal with something, hence the problem of avoidant behavior. The overwhelming majority of irrational fears of people are associated precisely with the mechanisms of projection.
For example, a person who is afraid to ride the subway. The real source of danger is inside him – it is some kind of unconscious threatening idea, which he gets rid of with the help of projection, placing this threat in an external source (in this case, the subway) and tying his fear to this object.
Aggressive feelings are often attributed to others. This is understandable, because the experience of aggression in oneself is extremely painful, besides, it is explosive. Or, on the contrary, weakness, incompetence, inability to understand, intellectual deficiency are sent outward. In such situations, a projection can be compared to a saying – I notice a speck in someone else’s eye, but I don’t notice a log in my own.
There are projections of a different order. For example, the projection of your ideal I – i.e. a person perceives the other as part of his ideal self.At the same time, a narcissistic expansion of one’s own self occurs. As a rule, such idealization is replaced by severe disappointment and the associated devaluation of the previously idealized other, then the “bad” parts of the self are projected into it. all products of human activity – culture, mythology, religion, art, politics, social formations.
So how does perception happen? We perfectly understand that internal experience cannot develop without external factors, but it is important to understand that internal experience is never equal to the influence of external factors, in this sense, internal experience has its own autonomy.
What happens when the external and the internal meet. Our perception is by no means objective, like a kind of mirror, but it depends on a huge number of internal factors – mood, expectations, state, well-being. But not only from such, one might say, local aspects, but basically from the generalized experience of our entire previous life and the representations and beliefs associated with this generalization, in the overwhelming basis of the unconscious.
Now it is no secret to anyone that each of us is conditioned in our behavior by some basic images, feelings, personal leitmotifs, desires that we build in our souls in the early stages of life experience.It is that power in us that stands behind the throne of the Ego. And the projection pulls out this experience, this power hidden behind the throne of the Ego. This, in fact, is the meaning of the projection. Not in seeing it in others, but through finding it in another, finding it in oneself, i.e. regain your own projection.
After all, our perception of reality is not a passive act, not a reflection of the external situation in the form in which it is, as it were, given. In the process of perception, internal factors are actively involved, by which we are conditioned – the features of our history, thinking, perception of the world as a whole.Rather, it is an active act in which our imagination participates, activated by our focus on something, the desire to discover something, or, conversely, the desire to avoid something, not notice, to avoid meeting the unpleasant. We can say that we do not just perceive reality, but we create it, create it, construct it.
While we do not know ourselves, we project the unconscious parts of ourselves, our personality onto others, in turn, becoming screens for their projections. We project including our long-standing expectations, fears, prejudices, hopes and dreams.Such projections, in their most dramatic manifestations, can become a prison for ourselves and our partners, contributing to rigidity, monotony, stagnation in life and relationships, disappointments and breakups.
So, we understand that the environment, the world, other people are not the way we perceive them, see them. But at the same time, it is extremely important for us exactly how we see all this. And the problem is how to interpret your own perception.
Our world is the way we create it – from illusions to understanding ourselves and others
So, we understand that our beliefs underlie the context of life that we live, and deep-rooted beliefs are behind any human choice which are basically unconscious.
And here we turn to the sphere of correlation and interaction of the real and the imaginary. The problem is learning to see reality, recognize it, recognize oneself, separate one from the other. But then again, what does it mean to see reality? After all, we cannot see the whole reality, in its entirety. In this sense, objectivity is an unattainable ideal, we can only approach a more accurate understanding of what is happening.
We are not dealing with statements, but with assumptions.In psychology, there is such a thing as a sacred wound. A sacred wound (Gene Houston) is a powerful, wounding experience that a person cannot deal with on their own. Often this traumatic state is projected by the human psyche onto external reality (or onto one’s own body). Then the external reality is constantly being modified by this negative, difficult human experience. But a person may not be aware of this, neither by sleep, nor by the spirit, as they say.
In this regard, it is very important to remember your past, your whole life, to explore and discover the key drama of your life, how it is refracted in the peculiarities of our perception of the world, the perception of people.We discover this image of a sacred wound and try to connect it with the projections, how this image is manifested in our real relationships with people, what we project into them.
Trying to observe our own perceptions, as well as the projections associated with them, we can raise these veils, gradually approaching awareness of deeper things in ourselves. Then change can happen to us. In general, any change begins with the fact that you begin to perceive something differently. M. Proust once said: “The magic of discovery lies not in discovering new landscapes, but in acquiring new eyes.”
Without projections and further identification with these projections, the development of our I, our personality does not occur. When our ability to go beyond our own projections and expectations is strengthened, we can see the world in a completely different way, and also see the other person in a much greater authenticity, in his nature.
And the problem in connection with the action of projective mechanisms is not at all that we overcome the projection, having learned everything “correctly”, to perceive objectively. In this sense, there is no objectivity, objectivity is an abstract construct, an unattainable ideal.Our life is permeated with dialectics. What we can do is try to connect the conflicting parts of our experience, trying to reconcile these contradictions, exploring the mutual cross-projections that arise in this process – our own and others.
Then we will be able to see our own beauty, as well as the beauty of other people, the beauty of the world around us.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
There is such a well-known expression “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Based on this understanding, the beauty that we see in another person, in the world, is a reflection of our own beauty.
The world does not change, life does not change, the world is what it is. We are changing. Our outlook on life, on ourselves, on other people is changing. When we see and feel our own beauty, that’s when we begin to notice the beauty around us. In this context, the beauty that we see in the world is our own beauty, which we reflect through other people, through other objects (created by us or someone else).
90,000 PROJECTION is… What is PROJECTION?
projection – The classic form of defense, consisting in attributing to another or others their own feelings, emotions, thoughts, problems (See also: proflexion, deflection and retroflection). Brief interpretation … Big psychological encyclopedia
PROJECTION – (lat., From projicere to exhibit). An image of an object on a plan, on a flat surface, according to well-known geometric laws; sketching on paper the position and shape of the object.Dictionary of foreign words included in the Russian language. Chudinov … … Dictionary of foreign words of the Russian language
PROJECTION – (from Lat. Projectio throwing forward, throwing out) in psychology, the perception of one’s own. mental. processes as external properties. the object is unconscious as a result. transferring their internal ones to it. impulses and feelings. P. plays an important role in the process … Philosophical Encyclopedia
PROJECTION – (from lat.projectio letters. throwing forward), the image of spatial figures on a plane (or on any other surface). Central projection: from a certain point O (the center of the projection), rays are drawn through all points of this figure to … … Great Encyclopedic Dictionary
projection – view, display Dictionary of Russian synonyms. projection noun, number of synonyms: 6 • sound projection (1) •… Dictionary of synonyms
Projection – (from lat.projectio throwing forward) is a psychological mechanism first considered by Z. Freud, whose work provides emotional resolution due to the subject’s unconscious attribution of his own thoughts, experiences, … … Psychological Dictionary
PROJECTION – PROJECTION, projections, women. (Latin projectio throwing forward, into the distance). 1. Geometric image on a plane, obtained by drawing perpendiculars from all points of a given body to this plane (mat.). Parallel projections. Rectangular … … Ushakov’s Explanatory Dictionary
PROJECTION – PROJECTION, and, women. (specialist.). 1. The image of spatial figures on a plane. 2. Transferring images to the screen. | adj. projective, ah, oe (to 1 value) and projective, ah, oe (to 2 values). Projective geometry (geometry section). Projection … … Explanatory Dictionary of Ozhegov
PROJECTION – eng. projection; German Projektion. 1. The mechanism of psychol.protection of the individual, which consists in the unconscious endowment of another individual with his own traits and properties. 2. Perception of one’s own psycho, processes as properties of an external object as a result of … … Encyclopedia of Sociology
projection – PROJECTION. 1. The psychological mechanism, which consists in the unconscious attribution by the subject of his unconscious thoughts, experiences, features and motives to other people. For the first time the concept of P. was introduced by 3. Freud, who considered in … … Encyclopedia of Epistemology and Philosophy of Science
projection – projection.Pronounced [projection] .