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It’s not me, it’s your projection!

Are we looking at the same world? (photo by Moriah Diamond)

Are we looking at the same world? (photo by Moriah Diamond)

Let’s talk about projection.  It is a concept from Freudian psychology that I didn’t quite grok back in college – until I gained extensive personal experience in the past few years.  One day I finally realized that I see the world through my eyes, my chemical reactions, and my own internal interpretations of the objects surrounding me.  On top of that, I can judge an object as “good” or “bad” based on how my own psyche painted the world.  What was more interesting is that I found myself labeling people as “judgmental”, “controlling”, or “cold-hearted” because that’s how I often behaved.

Hmmm… Interesting…

So what is projection exactly?  After her father’s death, Anna Freud refined the theory of projection by the addition of Melanie Klein’s new school thought of the nature of defense.  Both Anna Freud and Melaine Klein focused on child developmental psychoanalysis similar to Erik Erikson.  They have found that during the phase of moral development in children, projection is a normal process within a healthy psychological defense system.  However, as we mature into adulthood, this defense mechanism worked to cover up unpleasant self-criticism that can later become an overly rigid coping mechanism that keeps us away from sensing the truth of reality.

In Anna Freud’s The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (1966), she pointed out that the ego’s desire is to save itself from unpleasant experiences, therefore it uses the outside world as a source of interest to avoid introspection.  The ego denies reality and lives in its own virtual reality.  To cope, the ego finds an external source to blame instead of taking responsibilities.  For example, instead of admitting that I am judgmental, I project my judgment onto someone else and label that person as judgmental.  This way, I don’t have to face my own weakness. On the contrary, I can hide and blame someone else for being the thing I dislike the most in myself.  It is safer to see the faults of another than our own faults.  By projecting outward what might be painful for us to face, we can momentarily save ourselves the heartache of seeing the truth – in the short run.

In order to truly heal our pain, we must take note of our projections and see that this form of denial no longer serves us in the long run.  Nowadays, whenever I blame someone else for being critical or judgmental and become bend out of shape about it, I often look within myself to see if my ego is actually projecting my judgment outward so I don’t have to deal with the uncomfortableness of my own healing.  When this happens, the internal chatters of my ego block the truth of reality and create its own fantasy world of what is “right” and what is “wrong”.  This takes me away from my current experience and drags me into the fantasy “reality” created by my ego.  The ego is not bad, it is just scared.  It is too scared to be made wrong or being not good enough.  It is really a child who needs the most love and attention.  So don’t be mad at the “ego tricks” but recognize it and transform the fear with love.  I often have a heart to heart conversation with my ego and address all the insecurities within.  By honestly facing my own darkness, I can then allow the light to glow brightly.

So the next time when you find yourself blaming someone else for being the thing you dislike, check within yourself to see if you are using projection to deny healing.  Recongize it, pay attention to it, and embrace it.  Have a heart to heart loving conversation with the scared ego.  You have the power to heal your life by transforming the ego’s fear with your unconditional love.

Live, laugh, and prosper!

October 23, 2009 - Posted by | Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Great post, Flo! This is SO inline with the Course in Miracles! And the good news is that when you see someone wonderful, who inspires and delights you, they’re reflecting back a projection, too! Just a much more pleasant version. 🙂

    Comment by Deanna | October 24, 2009 | Reply

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