Projection: Psychological defence mechanism that people use to deny behaviours they perpetuate, by accusing others of doing the same things.
For example, the cheating husband accusing the loyal wife of having an affair (or the other way round!) when it is in fact him who is doing it.
Projection is essentially blame shifting, and exonerates the perpetrator by openly or subtly accusing another of their own behaviour.
We naturally project all the time. If we have a bad experience with a dog for example, the chances are we will attach that experience to all dogs.
However, projection is used by abusers and manipulators to control, gaslight and dominate the victim. The abuser accuses their victim to the point the victim may even start believing it about themselves. The abuser uses projection to deflect responsibility and undermine confidence.
So how do we protect ourselves against projection?
First off, we have to build our self awareness so we don’t get into a projection war. If you were once bitten b a dog, you know that the reason you are afraid of dogs is because of that. Now you know that it is not the fault of the dog in front of you, and the feelings might be better managed.
Then we look for the evidence. You know what is true. You have to trust your knowledge. You counter the accusations with ‘where’s the evidence?’.
That is REALLY hard to do when you are being subjected to it all the time. You may not even realise it’s happening.
So if you’re reading this and you think it might be happening to you, just stop and breathe. Try and recollect a time you were accused of something totally untrue, but you believed they must be right. What is true in their claims? Anything? Because the really clever ones will put a tiny little kernel of truth in to really confuse you.
Identify the truths and lies. Own your truth, by doing so you will be more resilient against the lies. Don’t allow them to bully you by their shouting louder. Be the grey rock.
Know your truth.