Words….

At school, English was always one of my favourite subjects. I think it was because of the creative freedom it granted, especially in essay writing. It was pure escapism for me which I thoroughly enjoyed. I let my imagination run free and I went on wonderful adventures in the process.  I have always loved writing especially when it came to things I was passionate about or held an interest in.

Then there is thesaurus, I just love thesaurus. The way it allows you to expand on a single word to add depth of meaning to a point you may be trying to express, how it allows you to play with a word in many different ways. I think I prefer it personally to the dictionary.

There is one word, however, in the English language which has begun to haunt me. It floats around in my head like no other, toying with me, challenging me, tormenting me, alluding me on occasions whilst being as obvious as day on others. This word?

Projection!

According to the dictionary it is a:

Noun

  1. An estimate of forecast of a future situation based on a study of present trends.
  2. The presentation of an image on a surface, especially a cinema screen.

Synonyms: estimate, forecast, prediction, calculation, prognosis, prognostication, reckoning, expectation and there is more…

But perhaps Thesaurus is better to find closer to what I am referring to here today….

  • Extension
  • Hook
  • Jut
  • Protrusion

But my favorite has to be:

Outthrust

I am trying to figure out what Psychological Projection is.  You know that stuff you pass over onto someone else when it really has nothing to do with the other person but rather all your own crap, but you firmly believe it is the other persons.

“Projection is difficult to grasp and begin to understand and begin to feel because it is your unconscious stuff.  Which means it is the stuff you do not know you carry. Plus the Ego does not want you to know you carry it” a friend of mine explained to me.

He was spot on about something…. It is difficult to grasp and I have been grappling with it for some time now.

As an adult I know I am responsible for my actions and my feelings. How often have I rattled that one off without truly appreciating the capacity and power in the words I was speaking? I, ME, mir, yo, moi, am totally 100% responsible for how I am feeling and NOT anybody else.

That was an eye opener for me. How many times have I said over the years to someone or other “you are infuriating me, or making me anxious, or you are making me feel x,y or z”.  What a slap across the arse it was for me to realise it was actually my reaction to a situation that was making me infuriated, anxious, or x,y or z and NOT the other person.

If I have a reaction to something it normally means there is something deep within me that needs healing.

There have been occasions in my life when someone said to me “you are x,y, or z and I accepted it as truth.  I believed what they said as fact and I wore their thoughts like a t-shirt of shame as I accepted what was said to me as being true facts.  This was especially true when these declarations were made by people I cared about, family or friends.

What is psychological projection?

It was psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud that first coined the term projection, describing it as a way in which an individual projects their own undesirable thoughts and beliefs onto someone else.  It is a defence mechanism in which the individuals place characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves onto another person.

I have begun to think of this as each of us having a film (our life) and in some areas of our life, areas we may find undesirable or are not quite ready to deal with, we project out these thoughts and beliefs to someone else.  Much like a film projector will display an image on a blank wall, we project our film (life) onto another human being.  Except that we then see these images as being the film of the other person.  When in reality it is not, it is still our film and our story.

Examples of psychological projection:

  • Parents who have not achieved their goals in life demanding that their own children succeed.
  • Someone with adulterous feelings might accuse their partner of infidelity
  • Believing someone hates you could be signs of your hidden intense dislike for that person.  (Extract from good therapy.org)

I didn’t know or understand enough about this intricate word to realise that basically what someone was putting over on me was in fact their own unresolved stuff.  I have been trying to understand projection and doing some research on the issue.  Interestingly, It has happened to me recently and thankfully I managed to realise that what was said is not a true reflection of my situation but rather the other persons unhappiness within their own situation, their lack of contentment with their own life, their fears etc. They were using me as a wall so to speak to display or project the film of their life out onto.

It is actually quiet liberating to realise that it is in fact their shit and not mine.

Have you had experience of this?

How do you deal with same?

Do you use practices to help you become more aware of your own personal projections?

Over the years as I have been trying to become more aware of this behaviour in both myself and others.  I’ve learnt that it is very intricate.  Learning about “projection” also requires learning about ones “shadow” or dark side.  We all have one, some embrace it, I personally fear mine.  Sometimes it is easy to recognize others times not so much, however, it is a work in progress and at least recognising the fact that I have an element of fear around it at least a starting point for me.

PROJECTION …..

It has been the cause of much deliberation in my head but I think this is where I have been going wrong as my friend says I need to “feel” it in my body.

You are probably wondering why am I pondering this? It’s because we often put “stuff” over on other people which simply isn’t true, but which is a deep rooted issue within ourselves which needs healing if we are willing to take the task on.  Or, other people put “stuff” over on us when it simply has nothing to do with us.  As I said it happened to me recently and it brought the issue very much to the surface again for me.  It reminded me how important it is to stop, take a moment and see if this really is my “stuff” or not.

My quest continues with projection.

A friend sent me this parable once to try to help me under where I was projecting my “stuff” onto him in the hope that I would “get it”, I found it beneficial so maybe it may help you too.

It is a Zen parable

EMPTY BOAT.

Lin-chi said:

When I was young, I liked to swim in a lake. I had a small boat and I used to sail and swim on the lake and I could spend hours there.

One day I was sitting with my eyes closed and meditating. It was a beautiful night. An empty boat floated down the river and hit mine. Anger arose in me over being disturbed! I opened my eyes and was about to scold the person who bothered me, but I saw that the boat was empty. My anger had nowhere to go.

On whom could I vent it? I had no choice but to close my eyes and start looking at my anger, in me. The moment I saw it, I took the first step on my Path.

On this quiet night, I approached deep inside myself. The empty boat became my teacher. Since then, if someone offends me or anger arises in me, I smiled to myself and say:

“This boat is empty, too.”

I close my eyes and travel deep within myself ….

* * * * * * * * * *

Projection….. the great mystery of my personal healing journey.

Om shanti