What is projection in psychology?
Projection is a psychological defense mechanism in which individuals attribute characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves to another person. For example, a husband of an aggressive nature might attribute this hostility to his wife and say she has an anger management problem. False accusations, for example, a man who is cheating on his wife suspects his wife’s infidelity and accuses her of infidelity.
Types of projection in psychology
Like other defense mechanisms, projection is usually unconscious and can distort, alter or affect reality in some way. The classic example of a defense mechanism is when an individual says “She hates me” rather than expressing what he actually feels, which is “I hate her.” There are three generally accepted types of projection:
- neural projection
It is the most common type of projection and clearly meets the definition of a defense mechanism. In this type of projection, people may attribute feelings, motives, or situations that they find unacceptable in themselves to another person.
Complementary projection occurs when individuals assume that others feel the same way, for example, a person with certain political leanings may take for granted that friends and family members share these beliefs.
It is an assumption that others can do the same things as themselves, for example, an accomplished pianist might take for granted that other piano students can also play the piano.
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Examples of psychological projection
- A woman who steals things from the supermarket is afraid to steal her wallet.
- A guy talks constantly throughout dinner, but blames the other person for wanting attention and being a bad listener when interrupted.
- A woman gives all her hope to her therapist, hoping she can fix it.
- Feelings of anger threaten the man, accusing the other of having hostile thoughts towards him and having problems managing anger.
- A mother pressures her children to succeed when she does not achieve her goals in life.
- A man complains about an “evil” politician, but he doesn’t know how cruel he is to the people in his life.
- A highly critical woman blatantly points out when others criticize.
What is the purpose of the projection?
Sigmund Freud believed that projection is a defense mechanism and is often used as a way to avoid pent-up uncomfortable emotions. Expected feelings may be of a controlling, jealous, angry or sexual nature. These are not the only types of expected feelings and emotions, but projection often occurs when individuals cannot accept their impulses or feelings, and this is one of the most important causes of psychological projection. Protection against feelings that the person does not want to deal with, and can allow people to participate in complementary projection. Feel more about others or connect with them more easily. It is fairly common for people to engage in projection from time to time. Many people who show their feelings sometimes don’t as a result of any underlying problem. In some cases, projection can contribute to relationship challenges. Dropping may also be a symptom of other mental health problems. We have chosen for you the clothes and colors that attract men
What are the effects of projection
Projection involves some form of dissociation and, in extreme cases, may drain the individual of his or her personality. This is attributed to moral anxiety and paranoia, in which the parts that a person does not like are presented in such a way that they believe that others also hate them. Furthermore, because projection justifies acceptable undue behavior, it negatively affects relationships and contributes to personal conflicts and challenges, and projection has been a frequent symptom of mental health problems such as borderline personality disorder (BPD). By wrongly accusing friends and family of wanting to leave them, moreover, it has been widely proven that projection is present in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and a narcissist may say to someone, “You never listen to me and respect me,” but they don’t. Respects them in return, or may blame his partner by saying he was bad at a job offer because she made him go to the movies with her the night before.
Ways to get rid of projection in your relationships
- Most people don’t realize they are expecting, and because the process involves keeping unwanted parts of themselves out of conscious awareness, they can be difficult to identify.
- The first and most important thing you can do is learn when to engage in projection. Awareness is the greatest tool for change. As soon as you start noticing the moments when you criticize or blame someone else, your defense mechanism automatically begins to weaken.
- Then, you can start investigating your weaknesses by writing them down. Self-reflection is vital when it comes to breaking the habit of falling, and this does not mean judging or humiliating yourself, but looking at yourself with an unrelated curiosity.
- Examine relationships in your life where there is a great deal of resentment or negativity. You may find that speaking with a licensed therapist will help you more authentically explore those relationships and your inner landscape. Therapy is one of the best tools for overcoming a projection. A psychiatrist can help you identify patterns of decline and help you rebuild relationships that may have been damaged.
- Remember that having a range of feelings is a sign of a healthy mind. Feelings always serve a purpose, even if they are uncomfortable to experience, and they can lead to increased self-awareness and positive change. For example, anger can help you set boundaries, and sadness can reveal what is important to you in life.
Projection and mental health concerns
Projection is one of the main mechanisms of paranoia, and it also contains many of the symptoms of narcissism and borderline personalities. Someone who has narcissistic traits and doesn’t respect their partner might say, “You don’t respect me.” Some individuals may fear losing the people they love and display this fear by repeatedly accusing friends or partners of planning to leave. However, individuals who display their feelings in this way do not necessarily have any of these conditions. A person undergoing treatment may be able to meet these expectations with the help of a qualified mental health professional. By exploring the reasons behind any anticipated feelings, it may be possible to prevent or reduce the occurrence of this behavior in the future.
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