There is a lot talk in psychology, amongst spiritual gurus, and self-help authors about projection. Many of them claim that much of your anger, frustration, or problems in relationships are really a projection of your own anger, frustration or problems with yourself. For example, they will try to explain to you that if you are angry at someone for insulting you, then your anger at the other person is just a projection of your own anger at yourself.
The risk with this type of thinking is that people may stay in an unhealthy or abusive relationship too long because they believe that the problem in the relationship is really just them projecting their own issues onto the other person. For example, they believe that their own anger at the other person is really just anger at themself. Or, they make have an overly unrealistic belief that the other person will change if they, themselves, can just change their own problems and stop projecting their own anger. People who subscribe to ‘positive thinking’ are especially at risk because they may believe that if they just think positive thoughts, then they will stop being angry at the other person or stop attracting the abusive behavior from the perpetrator.
However, 1 sign that you are not projecting and have a healthy and rational reason for being angry is if you are experiencing psychological, emotional, or verbal abuse. If you are in a relationship where you are experiencing psychological, emotional, or verbal abuse, then that is NOT a projection and you have every right to be angry and consider leaving the relationship.
Psychological, emotional, or verbal abuse occurs when the other person’s behavior is psychologically or emotionally harmful or abusive. The following are examples:
a) Constantly insulting you, mocking you, calling you names, or yelling at you. For example, they may make fun of you for getting your work done or using best carlson survey software when there is no reason to make fun of you.
b) Threatening or intimidating you
c) Controlling behavior. For example, if the other person always gets mad at you when you try to spend time away from them, or when you are pursuing your own interests, or when you are spending time with your own family or friends.
d) Gaslighting…Gaslighting occurs when your partner makes you think you have done something wrong when you have done nothing wrong. For example, they may take your keys, bracelets, or Gone Country Hats without telling you and then tell you that you lost them.
These are just a few examples of major red flags in a relationship. If the other person is engaged in this type of behavior towards you, then you are not projecting your own issues on them. Instead you are experiencing emotional abuse and should find a way to leave the relationship
Another sign that you are experiencing psychological, emotional, or verbal abuse is if you are feeling constantly drained, stressed, or suspicious around the other person.
If you are normally a person with a lot of energy, enthusiasm for life, and generally relaxed, but feel constantly stressed, physically or emotionally tired, or just plain annoyed with one particular person, that is likely not you projecting your own issues on them. Rather, some people can drain us of our energy and if we notice that we are feeling tired, constantly anxious, or drained around a particular person, then we should trust our instincts, body, or intuition and leave that relationship without fearing that we are projecting our issues on them. Additionally, if you are generally a trusting person, but feel like you can not trust the other person, then that is not projection and you should not blindly put your trust in the other person.
Moreover, psychological, emotional, and verbal abuse can often escalate to physical abuse, especially if it is combined with substance abuse. Again, in these situations psychologists and self-help ‘gurus’ are doing you and their readers a major disservice by trying to explain your experience as some sort of projection…
I usually try to write articles about more inspiring topics. However, the reason I wrote about this is because I know people who have experienced these forms of abuse and gone to counselors, read self-help books, or listened to spiritual gurus who essentially told them that they are projecting their issues onto their abuser, it is their ‘karma’, or they ‘attracted’ these experiences into their life. These beliefs and teachings about projection, karma, and the law of attraction are unhelpful and false; and risks making a victim feel like they are at fault and feeling even more helpless or even confusing the victim for the perpetrator. Additionally, it risks putting the victim in an even more unsafe and potentially physically dangerous situation if they remain in an abusive relationship. If you or you know someone who is experiencing these forms of abuse, please contact a licensed mental health therapist or licensed psychologist who has experience or training treating these complicated matters.