I am learning more and more about what projection is and why I struggle with it; how projection relates to me and my work in therapy.
I read a wonderful article written by Morgan Sontag called “Things are not as they appear“. She explains how Projection is a defense strategy in which you unconsciously defend yourself against unpleasant impulses or feelings by denying their existence in yourself, while attributing it to someone else.
Basically in a nut-shell, projection is “blame shifting” .. not something done purposely, but it’s done when we feel so badly about ourselves that we turn how we feel thinking others feel this way about us.
A great example: I walked into therapy last Monday morning and the energy in the room didn’t feel right, and immediately I began thinking my therapist was acting like his normal self, that he didn’t want to be in connection with me, that he was mad about something, and I felt his mood was off – something wasn’t right! Well . . . . in “REAL” this is how I felt about myself. It had nothing to do with my therapist, his energy was fine, he was big and open and actually he was really happy to see me – it was my projection trying to blame shift it on him.
When I looked back at where these feelings began for me, I realized that I woke up that morning not feeling good about myself, I didn’t feel good about the connection, the energy I felt inside was really blah, I felt emotions at the surface, not loving myself at all, so when I got to therapy, instead of owning those feelings as my own, I projected them “blaming the bad energy on my therapist”.
This is what projection is!
When I realized this is what I was doing, I was able to connect to my therapist and talk about it.
We have worked a lot around projection in therapy and he knows when I am struggling with it.
But it’s also important to know that not all times we feel this way is projection, there are also times when others do own their own bad energy or disconnection. There are times I go into session and my therapist falls short of being there fully connected, or the energy is off due to him, not me. It’s the humanness of the therapist/client relationship.. we are all human..
Learning about when projection happens is important and something I have to work with.
I do the same thing here at home with my husband. When I am feeling down or I am struggling with myself and how I feel about myself, or I am feeling in a down angry mood, I will project that onto my husband thinking “whats wrong with him? why is he not in a good mood?” .. it’s not him at all, it’s me! I am the one struggling with these self feelings, and that is when I need to take a step back and figure out where the feelings are coming from.
Projection is tricky, especially if you’re in the middle of the projection, because you can’t tell if this is “whats really going on”, or “is this how I feel about myself!?”
The past week or so I have really struggled with connection to myself and others and some of that is projection. I am working on it, but at the same time, it’s not a really good feeling to feel disconnected.
Half the battle is trying to figure out, “is it projection”, or “is there disconnect?” My therapist is REALLY good at helping me with reminders of what is real, what is truth, what the connection is that he see’s, and then that helps me to tell the difference between “am I projecting” or “do I really feel there is something wrong with the other person”
….. more times than not, its me projecting. There have been a few times it really wasn’t me, it was the other person, but most of the time its a projection coming from something and that is where I need to really work on where this is coming from and why.
Projection is a real tricky thing, and it can really get in the way of connection. A great quote on projection is
“We do not see things the way they are, we see things the way we are”
I am a bit frustrated! I have had a hard couple of weeks with self connection, and connection with others, and I am really hoping that this week I can fine tune what is going on inside of me, and really get re-connected to self and others.
I think I know what is going on, and I have hope that I will work with it this week with my therapist, and I know he is open to really help and support me thru this hard disconnect I have been struggling with. He is amazing when it comes to working thru things like this, I have no doubt I will figure this out.
I see projection as a self “TUG OF WAR” .. a battle you have with yourself.
The frustrating part in this is, I haven’t felt this way in a long long long time.. so I am curious as to what is going on, and I am ready to work with it and figure it out!